The Philadelphia Flyers dropped their first round series against the New York Rangers Wednesday, and now have a long offseason to figure out what went wrong, and how to fix it.
Season’s Top Five Performers:
Claude Giroux – This one is a no-brainer. Despite his rocky start, the Flyers captain dominated his competition for the majority of the season, and cemented his place in the NHL’s elite. He finished the year ranked third in the NHL for total points, tying his career high in goals with 28, and his first ever Hart Trophy nomination.
- Steve Mason – Have the Flyers finally found that franchise goalie they’ve so desperately sought after? It’s still a bit early to tell, but signs are looking positive. “Stonewall” Steve Mason rebounded from his poor play in Columbus to show why he was once the NHL’s Calder Memorial Trophy winner. He finished the regular season with 33-18-7 record, four shutouts, a 2.50 GAA and .917 save percentage. He also posted stellar numbers in the postseason with a .939 save percentage and 1.97 GAA in five games played.
- Wayne Simmonds – Simmonds finally had the breakout year he was waiting for. Not only was he one of the Flyers top forwards, he may have earned a spot as one of the NHL’s elite power forwards. He broke the 50-point mark for the first time in his young career by tallying 60, and also finished third in the NHL in powerplay goals with 15.
- Jakub Voracek – Voracek set career highs in points (62) and goals (23), and proved to be a force offensively for the Flyers. He has continued to gain chemistry with line-mates Scott Hartnell and Giroux and helped make them one of the NHL’s most dangerous forward lines.
- Micheal Raffl – This one might come as a surprise to people, but Raffl was likely Philadelphia’s most underappreciated player this season. At one point or another he played on every forward line and was able to improve the play of those around him. The 25-year-old Austrian finished the year with 22 points in 63 games played.
- Vincent Lecavalier was a prized free agent pickup for Philadelphia. A potential second line center never really found his comfort zone, and struggles all season as a result of that.
- Brayden Schenn had a strong start to the year, but gradually saw a decline in his production as the season went on. The 22-year-old was once the NHL’s top prospect, but he’s now a restricted free agent, and the Flyers have to decide if he’s worth keeping around.
- Team discipline was the biggest issue the Flyers faced this year. Philadelphia was first in the NHL in total penalty minutes with 1180, and first in average penalty minutes per game with 14.4. Had they not seen incredibly strong play from Sean Couturier, Matt Read and Adam Hall on the penalty kill, the Flyers would have had a rough go this year.
Philadelphia should hold their heads high after what had the potential to be a nightmare of a season. The Flyers at one point were 5-9-1, had a goalless captain in Claude Giroux through the first 15 games and were operating under a new head coach in Craig Berube after Peter Laviolette was fired after starting the season 0-3-0.
Things could have been much worse.
Giroux promised fans things would turn around and they would make the playoffs, and they did. They were one goal away from round two of the postseason as well.
GM Paul Holmgren made some promising moves for the future of the franchise, and has some tough decisions ahead of him.
HartnellDown Tracker: Scott finished the playoffs with 32 HartnellDowns, and $1,600 donated, through seven games.
Part two: Offseason Preview
Part three: Previewing the 2014-15 season