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Downingtown, PA • United States • 48 Years Old • Male

Flyers Forecast

Posted 6:46 PM ET | Comments 9
I tend to be pessimistic but hopeful. I can see the Flyers getting off to another bad start but not being non competitive like they were last year. The team made a lot of moves after February, some I like, some I like less, some seem to come with question marks.

The Forwards:
I wanted them to sign Drury but they ended up with Briere so I was a little disappointed there. I hope he doesn't regress to what he was in Phoenix. Buffalo fans claim he's not much of a self motivator. I liked the trade for Lupul and Smith but wonder whether Lupul will be Calder (who knows). If he is then we've given up Pitkanen for Smith and that's not making me feel all that good. While I really see potential in Upshall I'm a little gunshy about his injury history. He can't seem to make it through the season. Hartnell seems a gritty pick up but can he score his share. A lot is riding on Carter, Umberger and Richards and their performance this season. Downie will be waiting in the wings should they stumble but they're third year players who all crashed to some extent last year. When the team started to go bad they weren't picking it up. Richards and Carter lost a quarter of the season for the second consecutive year. Gagne's a star and Knuble has two cup rings. Sami can only see his prime in the rear view mirror. Is Holmgren thinking Jim Dowd is our defensive stopper? If he's not, who does he think it is because Richards tried it last year and was over matched. Other than a couple forwards there's a question mark stapled to the back of most of the offense.

The Defense:
Coburn may turn out to be my favourite player and Parent certainly sounds like a keeper but they're both raw right now. Picard can be up and down because he's young and probably needs more seasoning. Smith and Timmonen, you simply can't find any fault in these two pickups. They're solid veteran defensemen who will stop the jail breaks our goalies experienced last year. Hatcher and Gauthier have something to prove. Lasse Kukkonen is an intelligent shot blocker and moves the puck well.

In Goal:
Biron is an upgrade from both of our goalies from last year. If he's healthy he's got a foot up on them. Can he carry a team when things don't go our way? Who knows. Nittymaki is watching and waiting. Boucher is across the parking lot trying to win his way back to the NHL.

Certainly they've upgraded the team tremendously but has it been enough to get into the playoffs. You have to figure the top three are set: Ottowa, NYR, and Pittsburgh. Buffalo (they haven't lost Miller) and Tampa, should both make the playoffs. That leaves three spots for Toronto (one point out last year), Carolina (finalist two years ago), Atlanta (Won the Southeast last year), Washington (People, you can roll your eyes but this team is the Penguins from last year with a better goalie and a worse defense), New Jersey (Brodeur) and the Flyers. It's going to be a dogfight.

I think there are situations lurking around this team that I don't like. Rathje is front and centre right now. How will this affect the team in training camp and to start the season? If they get off to a slow start how long of a leash does Stevens have and who do we have waiting in the wings? Terry Murray? Joey Mullen? Is that something to look forward too? Will the slow start cause the team to panic and dump salary to sign Forsberg? Is that really a Circus we want to revisit and how do you seperate him from Gagne if Gagne and Briere are clicking. Does he see himself as a second line centre behind Briere?

I'll go into the season cautiously optimistic but I can see a real struggle to make the playoffs. There's a lot riding on a group of unproven players. Can Gagne, Knuble, Briere, Timmonen,Smith and Biron carry them to a playoff spot? Maybe Tavares will be in the draft next year and this year we'll win the lottery and it'll all be fate. Just stacking my deck.
Filed Under:   Flyers   Forecast   Forsberg   Gagne   Briere   Playoffs  
September 11, 2007 10:29 PM ET | Delete
Dude..You are so off base its incredible..But to each his own..
September 11, 2007 10:34 PM ET | Delete
Your thoughtful insights, questions, and observations help broaden my knowledge of the Flyers. Some of us concentrate so much on our own teams (which isn't necessarily bad) that we don't see what's going on around us. Thanks. Meanwhile, Scotty Upshall's enthusiasm and potential is real, and while I agree that his injury history is somewhat troubling, I think he's young enough and healthy enough overall to put that behind him. I guess time will tell.
September 12, 2007 1:52 AM ET | Delete
YO-EL, don't leave it at that. Tell me where I'm wrong. My enthusiasm needs a boost. Let me know what you see that don't. I want to be more positive, give me a reason. What do you see in my assessment of the team that's so off base? I'm trying to look around the eastern conference and make an intelligent comparison to the flyers rivals for a playoff spot. I'm apprehensive, not negative.
September 12, 2007 1:59 AM ET | Delete
Message PostedBlueline - Good luck in the west. You have your work cut out for you. I watch a lot of western conference games and I think you have to trade defensive prospects for forwards. You seem deep in back but weak up front. Too many thirty somethings trying to run your "O". There are enough so-so teams for you to harbour thoughts of sneaking in this year. Your front office and coaching is solid.
September 12, 2007 3:21 AM ET | Delete
Pretty much agree with that brief on us. We have yet more potentially outstanding talents coming up the ranks in D (it is a bit crowded) and I hate to lose any of them. It's going to happen however and based on our lineup, it should. It's going to be a entertaining season for a lot of teams, including the Flyers. You'll do fine, I think. I guess I am less apprehensive and more optimistic because I started as a STH with the Preds the first year in '98 when we had very little. If the team skated well and played with heart, I enjoyed the game and was mostly satisfied because my expectations were low. Also, I realize that with 30 teams, the odds of winning the cup have changed dramatically.
September 12, 2007 8:58 AM ET | Delete
I think you are being a bit too pessimistic. Lets start with the offense: Briere's improved play is due as much to the new rules and rule enforcement as it was to his teammates in Buffalo, also I doubt the Sabres would have made him a co-captain if motivation had been a problem. I also feel that you will see a bounce back season from a very motivated Lupul, he did score 28 goals a year ago. I too worry about Upshall being injury prone, but we'll just have to hope. Many players suffer slumps in their second year, then bounce back in their third. I see no reason why this shouldn't happen for Carter, Richards and Umberger too. I do agree that the Flyers need a shut down center, hopefully they can trade someone like Gauthier for one at some point during camp or the season, while Goat has his faults he is still an experienced dman and some team who loses a dman or two to injury will give you something for him. I think the defense will be greatly improved. I don't think Coburn is nearly as raw as a true rookie like Parent and I think he will be a solid top four guy. The additions of Timmonen and Smith will allow Hatcher to better used to his strengths of pentalty killing and matching up against power forwards and I think the sleeper will be Kukkonen, who is a great shot blocker and never seems to be out of position. Finally, Biron may not be Marty Brodeur, but he is a significant upgrade at the Flyers weakest position and should give them the consistency they have sorely lacked in goal. To sum up, I see the Flyers as a team who should finish in the 97-102 pt range and end up as a 5, 6, or 7 seed in the playoffs.
September 12, 2007 11:46 AM ET | Delete
ginogold - I think we agree more then we disagree. They have , what, 7 third year players? Most of them had off years last year. While that's not all together uncommon, it's a little disconcerting to me. That so much of our offense is reliant on them makes me wonder if we're ready to compete with Carolina, Atlanta and New Jersey. I can see them finishing as high as six but I can also realistically see them finishing nine or ten. The good news is that we won't have to watch what we saw last year, where they were just not in games at all.
September 12, 2007 1:39 PM ET | Delete
I agree w/ginogold that you're being slightly too pessimistic. IMO Carter is the lynchpin for this team. We all know he has great potential, but injuries and possibly a lack of leadership have hindered him to date. Adding a strong veteran leadership base and the fact that he's in his RFA year, I'm expecting big #'s from him as our 2 center.
September 12, 2007 4:05 PM ET | Delete
the answer to this all comes down to team chemistry. if they have it, expect them to be contrnding for a midrange spot in the playoffs - if not, you may not even see them anywhere close.
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