Season Preview; Philadelphia Flyers
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This past off-season was a bit quieter as the Flyers made only one significant move in acquiring Luke Schenn for James van Riemsdyk and re-signed core players Wayne Simmonds, Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek. They did, however, come close to nabbing Shea Weber from the Nashville Predators with an offer sheet that was ultimately matched.
Even though Giroux’s sweater is not officially marked with the letter of a leader, for all intents and purposes, he’s been the captain of the team since concussion symptoms took Pronger out of the lineup on Nov. 19, 2011. With Chris Pronger's career likely over because of concussion-like symptoms, the Flyers will likely try to fill the captaincy with the face of the franchise, Claude Giroux. The 24-year-old had a banner year for Philly with 93 points (28 goals-65 assists) and is a likely choice to wear the "C."
The 25-year-old Giroux has improved significantly in each of his four seasons, culminating with last year’s 93-point performance that earned him third place in the overall scoring race and it’s his face on the cover of Electronic Arts’ NHL 13.
Ilya Bryzgalov was supposed to finally be the goalie to take the Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals but it's one year into his nine-year $51 million deal and the questions still persist, can he return to his old Phoenix Coyotes days and not ended up like every other Flyers’ goaltender over the last 25 years -- not leading the team to win a Cup.
On the blue line there are several questions on whether they have enough depth for a Stanley Cup run, Flyers will lean on veteran 37-year-old Kimmo Timonen beyond concerns for his health during a shortened season, several of the team's blueliners are coming back from offseason injuries. Holmgren's tried signing Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber to a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet but the Predators matched the offer.
Holmgren expressed disappointment with how his offseason had gone, but also said, "We believe we have a good, young team that is only going to continue to get better." The Flyers have to hope Luke Schenn and Braydon Coburn can help bolster the blue line as the Flyers compete in one of the toughest divisions in the NHL. Luke
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