With the final tweaking of the regular season days away, the Flyers get ready to roll, on the road against last years top Eastern conference team, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Less than 1 week later, the Flyers will face the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, who bested the Lightning in 6 games in last years finals.
The Flyers are going foward this year with ba
sically the same team, with some minor tweaks. They signed Michal Neuvirth to back-up Steve Mason. Neuvirth spent most of his career in the Capitals organization, before playing for Buffalo, and at the end of the season the Islanders last year. This is an upgrade over Ray Emery. All the forwards are the same, save Sam Gagner who came over in a trade with the Coyotes that sent Niklas Grossman there. This was seen as a salary cap move, but Gagner has hung in there. He once had 8 points in a single game with the Oilers. Gagner has never lived up to his 1st round draft pick (6th overall) status, and has never scored more than 18 goals or been in a playoff game. Scott Laughton figures to play more as a Flyer than Phantom this year. On defense, the Flyers have a log-jam and one figures to be on the way out. No one claimed Andy MacDonald, who was put on waivers. Brandon Manning seems to have made the team. And the Flyers have two new defensemen, Radko Gudas, a hard hitting stay at home type, and Evengy Medvedev, a former KHL player who is 33 years old.
Can we expect a playoff appearance with the same players? Can the new coach make the difference? Will Hextall make a move before the season starts? Stay Tuned!