I really haven't written anything since the Flyers were trying to sign Zach Parise/Ryan Suter so I thought I'd give my thoughts on the off-season and see where that leads the team into this uncertain season.
1. Zach Parise/Ryan Suter Sweepstakes
This is not of fault for the Flyers brass at all, they simply did not have the most enticing offer on the table for either player. Zach Parise would have been a nice addition on the wing for Giroux's line, however you would have seen either Hartnell bumped off that line and thus have lower point production, or have Voracek stuck on the 2nd/3rd line.
The Flyers could have used Ryan Suter on their defense, but he had his mind set on Minnesota, unfortunately. I'll talk more about the defense later though.
2. Shea Weber Albatross Offer Sheet
Paul Holmgren showed his boldness by having Shea Weber agree to a 14-year offer sheet, forcing the Nashville Predators into the war room for several days before matching the offer.
Shea Weber's arrival would have put the defense over the top, and the Flyers would have had no reason not to win the Stanley Cup.
3. Jagr & Carle's Departure
Both of these players left for more money or in Jagr's case playing time as well. Both players' new contracts were inflated by the talent gap in the free agency market.
While their talents were important to the team's success, the money was simply not worth it for the Flyers, who always work close to the cap as it is.
4. Injury Report
Andrej Meszaros and Andreas Lilja will miss considerable amount of playing time this season with Achilles and Hip injuries. Optimistically for Andreas Lilja, his hip surgery may be able to make him more mobile on the ice when he returns. However right now this is a hampering on the defensive depth, as both are seasoned veterans who know how to play the game. However, their absence along with Pronger's ended career and Timonen's health uncertainty will allow the younger players like Marc-Andre Bourdon and Erik Gustafsson playing time, as well as new Flyer Bruno Gervais. Solid playing time for those players will give them the confidence to boost their performance.
5. Rusty Returns to Broad St.
Ruslan Fedotenko was signed to a one year deal this offseason. The ex-Flyer, who won a Stanley Cup with both the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins, came back for a second stint. Instead of getting a quality scorer, the Flyer's sole addition up front this is a role-player who was essential to the Rangers' success last year. The Flyers seem to be more defensively oriented. While he is not a real scorer, generally posting 25-35 points a season for most of his career, similar to Max Talbot.
I am not going into detail about the Simmonds/Hartnell extensions as that does not pertain to this season.
What does all of this mean?
Given all these events, the Flyers appear to have compromised offense for more defensive play. Who can blame them? Their defense was horrid in the playoffs, practically nonexistent. If you're afraid the Flyers will be offensively hindered, remember the Flyers were one of the highest-scoring teams last year. Even with the losses of Jagr, Carle, and JVR, the Flyers still have a potent offense led by superstar Claude Giroux. Expect it to drop, but not to an alarmingly low amount. Even if their scoring does drop, the Los Angeles Kings won a Stanley Cup after having the second lowest amount of goals for in the entire NHL (194). The injuries on defense are not good, but they will not ruin the season. The anticipated shortened season due to a lockout will give Meszaros and Lilja time to bide before returning. Kimmo Timonen will have more time to rest his legs, as his age is catching up to him, and the extra time off will be less punishment on his body going into the playoffs.
Aside from that, Ilya Bryzgalov will be expected to play better to make this team more complete.