Five Flyers Questions for the 2013-14 Season
The start of a new season brings with it countless questions for all 30 teams.
Some questions will be answered right away while others may take all season or even longer. In Philadelphia, the Flyers are no different.
Without further ado, here are five questions facing the Flyers this 2013-14 season.
How will the Flyers fair in their new division?
One could easily say that the new Metropolitan division will be the toughest and most competitive division in the NHL.
Making the playoffs will be a much tougher task for the orange and black. On top of competing with old division foes, the Flyers will be in a battle with the rejuvenated Columbus Blue Jackets, always competitive Washington Capitals, and the unpredictable Carolina Hurricanes.
A wild card spot may be the most realistic expectation at this time.
Emery or Mason?
This may actually be more like a thousand questions in one.
Everyone knows the story by now. The Flyers just can’t land or draft that number one goaltender.
There were hopes for guys like Roberto Luongo and Ryan Miller this offseason (even Tim Thomas, who signed with Florida, was rumored to land in Philadelphia). But nothing came of those rumors or ideas.
Instead, the Flyers have a goaltender with outstanding numbers as a backup on a Cup winning team in Ray Emery and a one season wonder in Steve Mason. There is no true starter, and this could be the question that goes on into April.
Are these guys good enough? And who is THE guy?
Can Voracek follow up with a repeat performance?
It’s time to find out if the 2013 season was Jakub Voracek’s coming-out party or if it was simply a hot streak that is bound to fizzle out.
Voracek’s 22 goals last season put him on pace for 38 in 82 games had there not been a lockout. Those 22 goals are more than he has scored in any of his previous full (78-80 games played) seasons.
All signs point to this not just being a hot streak. Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell seem to be the perfect line mates for number 93.
Which defenseman will manage to stay healthy?
Injuries were the story of the Flyers blueline last season.
There is much concern again this year for that very same reason. Andrej Meszaros is risky, and Kimmo Timonen’s age is a big worry as is the addition of veterans Hal Gill and Mark Streit.
When healthy, the Flyers have a fantastic core of defensemen, and are deep well into Adirondack. But health and age could be an issue with 82 games and the Olympics.
Will this be Laviolette’s last chance?
Some may argue that Peter Laviolette should not have made it this long as head coach in Philadelphia.
After failing to make the playoffs this past spring, the excitement for all things Laviolette has faded away. The cliché things fans once loved about him have seemed ineffective as of late, and his coaching system has not looked too impressive against teams other than the Penguins.
Things will not be pretty if he is unable to prepare his team for matchups against defensive teams like Boston, New Jersey and the New York Rangers again this season.