Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

It’s tough to pick and choose what hurt the Flyers most in what ended up being one of their worst seasons of the last 15 years in 2012-13. They were plagued by injuries perhaps fueled about by condensed schedule, and some key players greatly underperformed.
Over the offseason, the players sought to get healthy, and the organization sought depth in some of the areas in which they were lacking. They signed former Tampa Bay captain Vincent Lecavelier, a powerful forward and leader. They signed Mark Streit, another former captain and veteran defenseman who can help take pressure off of a slower Kimmo Timmonen. Andrej Mezsaros, Niklas Grossmann, Braydon Coburn and Max Talbot all overcame their season ending injuries and are ready to go.
Health and leadership are crucial to any team’s success. Without it, their is no hope for a winning season against viable opponents that are just as good, if not better, than your team. One of the biggest keys for the Flyers’ this season, however, is overlooked.
Last year, three promising forwards coming off stellar rookie campaigns had years of little to no growth. Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn and Matt Read combined for just 23 goals and 46 assists in 2012 (albeit in a short season). In 2011, Read alone put up better numbers (24 goals, 47 assists) as a rookie. Couturier and Schenn combined for another 25 goals that season.
None of them really played bad enough that it stood out, but none of them continued on the trajectory they had made for themselves with monster rookie seasons.
The play of these three forwards in 2013-14 is imperative. If all three can rebound from mediocre seasons the Flyers offense will be through-the-roof scary.
The Flyers are very offense-minded, but there were some times last year that certain players seemed to be pressing a little bit, mainly captain Claude Giroux and at times Scott Hartnell.
When three extra guys are scoring double-digit goals, that takes the pressure off the top scorers. When those three guys are also making plays and recording 20-25 assists in a season, their line mates are going to have monster years. A combination of less pressure to score, and heightened play from line-mates makes for super-star quality seasons. It’s a team wide cause and effect. If the support players are not scoring or setting up scorers, the line loses a lot of potential points.
Take Scehnn for example A physical Schenn with a scoring touch next to Lecavelier and Simmonds adds a new level to the second line. That’s one more person the defense has to worry about.
The projected third line is the same way. Heightened play from Couturier and Read winging Max Talbot essentially makes a third line into a top scoring threat. Three straight lines with potential to score at any time will wear down a defense. Since there are only three pairs of defenseman on the ice in a game, at any given time the third pair will be out against a line with offensive prowess.
Depth is impossible to defend against.
Of course, those three players don’t have the entire success of the Flyers riding on their shoulders. Not even remotely. But if they can put last year in the past and continue to grow, it will certainly have a profound effect on the Flyers’ offensive game.
Kenny Ayres is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a journalism minor. He can be reached at 

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