By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Flyers will have a compressed training camp, followed by a compressed preseason, after the new NHL labor agreement is ratified this week.
After missing out on a few big free-agent targets, the Flyers still head into this season with Stanley Cup dreams. Here are what some outlets are already saying about the 2013 Flyers.
Matt Leon talks to Dave Isaac of the Courier Post about the end of the lockout and the Flyers:
Flyer Season Preview by Adam Gretz and Brian Stubits of CBS Sports.
Why they will succeed: They’re going to score a ton of goals. Last summer’s trades brought them a nice collection of young talent in Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, and Brayden Schenn, and when you add them in with guys like Giroux and Read you’ve got a really deep group of forwards. that can match up against almost any other team in the league.
The only problem is…
Why they won’t succeed: They’re also going to give up a ton of goals. Nobody knows for sure what to expect from Bryzgalov at this point and the less said about the defense the better. Chris Pronger may never play again in the NHL, Kimmo Timonen is closer to the end of his career than he is to the prime of his career, Matt Carle is gone, and a lot is going to be asked of Schenn.
Realistic Expectations: They’re a playoff team, probably a top-five seed in the Eastern Conference, but until they solidify their blue line and get the Bryzgalov we saw in Phoenix, and not the Bryzgalov we saw in Philadelphia, it’s hard to see them going past the second round series they made it to last season.
The Orange and Black attack is rugged, relentless and guaranteed to get goals in bunches. Claude Giroux is a bona fide superstar and there are a plethora of 20-goal men around him. But defense and goaltending are far from sure things. Blueliners are falling fast, with Chris Pronger still a no-go and Andrej Meszaros remains a question mark while rehabbing a torn Achilles. And Ilya Bryzgalov inspires about as much stability in net as the Greek economy. Sit back and enjoy the ride, anyway, because it’ll be fun to watch Philly play firewagon hockey all season long.
Let’s Refresh Ourselves On The Philadelphia Flyers by Travis Hughes on Broad St Hockey
That’s basically where the Flyers stand heading into the 2012-13 season. Perhaps the abbreviated year will help, especially when it comes to the potential wearing down of guys like Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen, who will have to play huge minutes for this team to be successful.
There’s still a hole on defense, though, and it’s the biggest concern the Flyers have heading into the new season. Will Paul Holmgren try to answer it before the season begins?
The Flyers are 12-1 to win the Stanley Cup, which ranks them fifth. The Penguins are the favorite at 8-1. The Flyers are third most likely to win the Eastern Conference at 7-1.