Can The Flyers Win the Cup?

According to the Hockey News, they can. The moves they made to shore up their D, deepen their farm system with strong drafts and trades, and getting perhaps the best player in the world are good reasons why the team has a strong chance to win.

Peter Forsberg was the biggest coup this summer. no doubt the cream of the crop available among the free agents, Forsberg a guy guaranteed to provide offence whenever he steps on the ice. The new rules to open up the game like the no redline, zero tolerance on obstruction and the bigger offensive zones will certainly give Forsberg the time and space to be even more dangerous.

The additions of Derian Hatcher, Mike Rathje and Chris Therien provide a healthy balance of size and toughness to go with their smaller, skilled players on D.

And the additions of youngsters Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Antero Nittimaki, Jani Pitkanen, Patrick Sharp and perhaps RJ Umberger and Denis Seidenberg will allow them to not only get use to the cap world without the aid of buying top players but instead developing their own. And it is always good to implement some youthful enthusiasm.

However several questions need to be answered before we can annoint them champions after just 1 pre-season game so far.

1. The Flyers need to stay healthy. No doubt the biggest key to the team’s success. Already 3 top players are hurt. Forsberg’s injury is minor and he should be back to start the year, but he will miss valuable time getting use to his new teammates and new system under coach Hitch*****. Rarely mentioned is the country club atmosphere Forsberg played with in Colorado and the kind of adjustment he will need to make under the strict Hitch*****.

Hatcher is out until possibly late October with his bum knee. By only playing 27 competitive NHL games in a 2 year span, he needs to simply put in the work and get in game shape. The knee will likely give him trouble year round. Though he knows the Hitch***** system well, it will be a huge adjustment for him to get use to the new rules and the increased speed of the game. He is not too fast to begin with.

Kapanen will be lost for 10 weeks and that is a bigger loss than some make out to be. The Flyers are not that deep on the wings and Kapanen’s speed and skill are a big asset in the opened up NHL. He is one who should put up big numbers in that type of game but it will take some time for him to adjust and be able to not shy away from the physicality of the game.

The team must also worry about Desjardins and Primeau who missed some time the last few years with injuries and are not getting any younger. I think the added youth and depth should help them as they will not have to do much too much and can be saved for the playoffs.

2. The Flyers need top goaltending. They should get it from Robert Esche but they have seen a goalie who had one great year with their team go south after that. Brian Boucher had one terrific year a few years back and looked like the guy who would anchor the team in goal for years. He faded after 1 good year. The hope is Esche wont do the same but I think they have an even better goalie in Nittymaki who could pull a Kiprusoff year for them. I think the best route for Philly is to make it an open challenge for the number 1 role and let Esche earn it as he seems to be a better player when challenged and doubted.

3. The rookies have to produce. There are some good young players in Philly. Carter and Richards are Calder candidates, as is Nittymaki. But keep in mind they are replacing several veteran players who were proven talents.

The team did lose 5 of their top 9 forwards. Many claim the losses were minimal but Recchi was their leading scorer in the regular season, Roenick was a huge playoff performer, Zhamnov was roughly a point per game player, Leclair was a good powerplay guy and Amonte was a player who could give you at least 20 goals.

Carter and Richards have not played an NHL game yet, Sharp has only been a bit player so far and needs to show more and Umberger may not be ready to contribute offensively right now. To assume these youngsters with minimal experience can put up the numbers that those proven vets have year after year right away may be too much to ask. hopefully the big hype and high expectations wont get to them.

4. Some of their veterans need to step it up offensively. Gagne needs to be the player he is capable of being. He has the potential to score 35-40 goals with his speed and skill but seems to hover around 25 for the most part. He cannot simply blame the Hitch***** system for holding him back. He has to finish off plays.

Primeau cannot go another year of scoring 7 goals in 54 games. He needs to pick it up offensively to compensate for the team’s loss of proven scorers. He has scored in the past and must get back to that again.

Knuble must prove he can score without the help of Joe Thornton. He did nothing when he was not playing with Thornton and he will be counted upon in Philly to put up the kind of numbers he did in Boston and not be the player who struggled as a Ranger. Can he do that remains to be seen.

And if Brian Savage can light it up for October and November at least like he always does, that will offset the loss of Kapanen and perhaps give some time for the rookies to get their feet wet.

The Flyers have 82 games to get healthy, work out the kinks in terms of adjusting to new rules and new teammates and to get use to their opponents as with so many changes, styles will change from team to team. I think the Hockey News is not far off in their prediction, but with such a long layoff, and so many changes league wide, simply playing the games will allow us to get a better read on who are the contenders and who are the pretenders. With parity more prevelant than ever, it is foolhardy to hand Philadelphia the cup now. They certainly have to earn it and on paper, they have the tools to take it all. But games are won on the ice, not paper so it remains to be seen if the Hockey News is correct (and they have never seemed to be right in their predictions but they have chosen Ottawa pretty much every year). We will all have to wait and see.

134 Responses to Can The Flyers Win the Cup?

  1. FlyersruleLeafsdrool says:

    I’ve been saying basically the same stuff about the Flyers.

    I know it is only preseason, but the “rest of the team” looked pretty decent against Atlanta.

    Gagne with the HAT TRICK!

    many more to come.

    Health is an issue with just about any team.

    Hitchpenileimplant knows what he is doing.

  2. Hockey_Fan_99 says:

    “I know it is only preseason, but the “rest of the team” looked pretty decent against Atlanta.

    Gagne with the HAT TRICK!”

    dude its atlanta……………………..not to mention they had NONE of their stars playing (k-chuck, Hossa, bondra, holik, savard) and they had who in net? garnett! any idiot can score against him its not a big feat to do that

  3. FlyersruleLeafsdrool says:

    No shit moron

    I did say it was only preseason.

    You read w-a-a-a-y too much into that.

    For us Flyers fans, that was still nice to see.

    It’s the morons like yourself that make this site less enjoyable.

  4. edmontonrules says:

    Oh come on. Are you saying that the Flyers are going to be a better defensive team than Calgary? Where is the weakness? The speed of the Flames will eat the flyers alive. The Oilers are a very strange team. They don’t have that one offensive star player. They spread their goals around. For this reason they might be beaten by the flyers if the Oilers have an off night (and we all know they will). I’m not saying that the flyers will absolutely suck. Just that they won’t win the cup (like everyone thinks).

  5. Mario_n_Sidney says:

    you’re an idiot

  6. Mario_n_Sidney says:

    philly has as ggod of a chance as atlanta, ottawa, pittsburgh and the other 29 teams in the league

  7. Mario_n_Sidney says:


  8. Mario_n_Sidney says:

    Gaborik?!? You should be ashamed to repeat something a freaking idiot told you. get a brain.

  9. Mario_n_Sidney says:

    Am i the only one that thinks Philly got worse and not better this offseason?

  10. cgolding says:

    if anyone is injured significantly their replacement doesn’t count against the cap… so that is moot.

    lots of youngsters who may be able to fill in cheaply. Umberger, Sim, Savage, and possibly Ruzicka are all potential stop-gaps.

    Esche/Nitty will be a very solid tandem if not a great tandem. This team will score enough and play good enough team defense to protect any “lacking” that we have in goaltending. however, i would point out that Esche played great all of the last NHL season and then was an absolute rock for a vastly overmatched team USA in the world cup. everyone seems to forget that…

    Ottawa (if Hasek can hang around), Boston (soph. slump for Raycroft could be a killer with a somewhat questionable defensive corp), and Philly should be at least one of the teams, if not both of the teams playing for the east crown this year on paper.

    that’s on paper.

    what’s interesting is that we won’t see nearly as many roster moves via trading with the new salary cap, so it will be a LOT easier to make preseason predictions with some validity once rosters are finalized.

  11. cgolding says:

    well, whether or not we are worse is entirely dependent on how good Carter and Richards are… and whether or not Pitkanen/Seidenberg really come into their own this year.

    if those things happen then i think we are a much stronger team.

    disregarding that, almost all the “elite” teams are worse than they were the last time around. and almost all of the bottomdwellers are better than they were… that is what the salary cap does. that’s the entire idea…

  12. nonhl2005 says:

    They signed 2 big d-men and a 3rd emergency backup. That is to go along with the speedy Pitkanen, Johnnson, Seidenberg and let’s not forget about Desjardins. Much less pressure will be put on him which should make him more fresh come playoff time, which has been a problem the last couple season. If they finish anywhere under 4th in the conference it would be a shock. 2 guys they signed have injury history, then again so do 3 of the guys the let go in LeClair, JR and Zhamnov. I don’t see Rathje, Stevenson and Knuble as injury prone. This is a team that will continue to battle and be a cup contender for many years to come. One of these times they have to get the bounces and get a couple.

  13. nonhl2005 says:

    I agree with the Branko comment, he just has that look on the ice like he is gonna break out soon and be a good, consistent 30 goal man. Maybe the influx of younger talent to this team will help him adjust, he went from the new kid on the block to having more expereince with the team then most of the forwards he’s playing with. I can see him on the left with RJ and Turner on the right to start out.

  14. nonhl2005 says:

    Any more insightful comments in that vast vocabulary fo yours then NO? Why not? Because the d is too slow? Becuase the forwards, for the most part, are unproven? Because the goalie just became a starter last season? This is a discussion board not a grade school, you want to have one word conversations I can put you in touch with a local day care. Granted they are not the only team that CAN win the cup but to blantanly say no is just as stupid as saying the Leafs WILL win the cup.

    The Flyers have a better shot at winning the cup then most teams. That point can not be deflated, every team out there has a bunch of IF’s especially the upper teams.

    Toronto: If ‘The Big Baby” doesn’t get another bump on his head, If Jason doesn’t fall to hard on those hips, If Matts can still playing his style under the new rules.

    Pittsburgh: If Crosby doesn’t cave under the pressure, If Mario plays 60 games, If LeClair can regain his form, If Odelein can bring his rocker onto the ice.

    Ottawa: If Hasek can last a season, If Heatley can escape his nightmares.

    NJ: If they can get by without their 2 best d-men for the past so many years, If the 04 Playoffs were a fluke for Martin and not the sign of what’s to come.

    Who do you see representing the East in the finals?

  15. nonhl2005 says:

    Take a look at his stats when you can, He has improved each year and his starts have increased most season.

    00-01 Pho 26 3.02

    01-02 Pho 22 2.73

    02-03 Phi 30 2.20

    03-04 Phi 40 2.04

    Granted this will be his first season entering as the starter, even Roy had to start out as a backup until he became Patrick Roy, same with Brodeur ( I am only using them as people that needed to earn their start, maybe in 10 years we can compare them with Esche ). As has already been mentioned, his expereince in the last 2 playoffs and the World Cup showed if it was a hot streak he’s riding it for a very long time, no reason to think he can’t continue on and not have a Boucher or Weekes meltdown.

  16. nonhl2005 says:

    Explain, I’m not trying to be smart, I would like to hear why you think they got worse? They gave up 4 veterans from the last team that are on the decline, no one can question that JR’s, Reechi’s, LeClair’s and Amonte’s better days are behind them ( not to mention the rent a player Zhamnov ). They picked up Forsberg and Hatcher, who’s better days are behind them which leaves 3 spots being filled by younger guys. Granted no one knows how these kids are going to work out but all indications are they are the real deal.

    Esche is now the full fledge starter who has gotten better each season and many beleive that this is Gagne’s breakout season, finally. All in all, they may not have gotten better, they may have only gotten younger, but currently talent wise I don’t think they got any worse. All of this by taking the 60+mil salary and bringing it in line with the new NHL. Not a bad job by the GM Mr. Clarke.

  17. nonhl2005 says:

    What has Theodore proven? He’s stats have gotten worse the last couple seasons since that great 02 season, his save % is worse and his d has taken a hit. The injury prone Kovalev and Koivu are not something to hang the hat on. Mike needs more talent around him. I think Bonk is overrated and can not carry a team. Are you seriously saying that Coaching is a question mark for Philly? As opposed to the other teams you mentioned Philly’s coaching is far and above the others. First of all which of them have won a cup? Quinn the Dinosaur should be gone by week 5, Sullivan is being thrown to the dogs before his time. Murray, he’s only coached 2 seasons in the last 10, that tells you something right there. I do think coahing is going to be the most important thing this season, especially early on with the new rules but if any of the top East teams has an advantage I think it’s the Flyers.

  18. Hockey_Fan_99 says:

    you “believe” they were on the decline, the rookies are awesome, esche is a totally proven great goalie, and gagne will have a breakout season the one big problem with that is its only what YOU believe

  19. Hockey_Fan_99 says:

    his stats arent impressive to be honest hes good but thats it he isnt excellent or awesome or phenomenal hes just plain good he has no middle ground either does good or bad never in between he cant go long periods without letting in a goal either

    when in pheonix he was bad thats why he was dumped only in phily where he became good meaning he cant provide without a strong defense

  20. Hockey_Fan_99 says:

    anyway you could try to not give a biased opinion?

  21. nonhl2005 says:

    I agree, they aren’t lights out but he has steadily gotten better and he stands his ground against some of the other elite goalies of recent history. To say he has no experince and is just on a hot streak is just not accurate. Compare his stats with the first 6 seasons of the others.

    Brodeur GP w l t gaa sv so

    91-92 4 2 1 0 3.36 .882 0

    93-94 47 27 11 8 2.40 .915 3

    94-95 40 19 11 6 2.45 .902 3

    95-96 77 34 30 12 2.34 .911 6

    96-97 67 37 14 13 1.88 .927 10

    97-98 70 43 17 8 1.89 .917 10


    85-86 47 23 18 3 3.35 .875 1

    86-87 46 22 16 6 2.93 .892 1

    87-88 45 23 12 9 2.90 .900 3

    88-89 48 33 5 6 2.47 .908 4

    89-90 54 31 16 5 2.53 .912 3

    90-91 48 25 15 6 2.71 .906 1


    98-99 3 0 1 0 3.23 .860 0

    99-00 8 2 5 0 3.38 .893 0

    00-01 26 10 8 4 3.02 .896 2

    01-02 22 6 10 2 2.73 .902 1

    02-03 30 12 9 3 2.20 .907 2

    03-04 40 21 11 7 2.04 .915 3


    95-96 1 0 0 0 6.67 .500 0

    96-97 16 5 6 2 3.87 .896 0

    98-99 18 4 12 0 3.29 .877 1

    99-00 30 12 13 2 2.10 .919 5

    00-01 59 20 29 5 2.57 .909 2


    90-91 5 3 0 1 2.46 .914 0

    91-92 20 10 4 1 2.60 .893 1

    92-93 28 11 10 4 3.15 .896 0

    93-94 58 30 20 6 1.95 .930 7

    94-95 41 19 14 7 2.11 .930 5

    95-96 59 22 30 6 2.83 .920 2

  22. cgolding says:

    don’t bother man… people like to just rag. Esche was the last goalie in the NHL to give up 4 goals in a start the last time around. he’s not a SO guy, but he’s EXTREMELY consistent and always keeps us in games.

    whatever… when we’re winning games with him it will make all the bashing seem silly, which will be much more fun than trying to argue against it.

    Esche is young, he’s 27 now i think… not as if he was a vet in Phx.

  23. cgolding says:

    ain’t too many mid 30’s players that are on the rise man.

    leclair has been on the decline for a few years now.

  24. nonhl2005 says:

    Stats back up the decline aspect, go look it up. I don’t think anyone ever said the rookies were awesome, anyone with common sense knows they are an unproven commodity, just as Crosby is. Esche has not proven himself a great goalie but is proving it, he continues to get better. If your going to come back at my replies at least read what I am saying. I never said the Rookies are ‘AWESOME’ or that Esche is a ‘proven great goalie’ and Gagne WILL have a breakout season. It is my opinion and from what I have read in many other publications, seeing them at camp and from what I have eseen the last few seasons. I am not the only one to believe this hype and know it CAN happen, hope it DOES happen and think it WILL happen.

  25. oilfans_suck says:

    Tampa Bay

  26. Hockey_Fan_99 says:

    “Granted no one knows how these kids are going to work out but all indications are they are the real deal.”

    “Esche is now the full fledge starter who has gotten better each season”

    “this is Gagne’s breakout season”

  27. Maximus says:

    I doubt it….Too slow on Defence…Hatcher is done like my tv dinner. Forsberg can’t play an entire season. Questionable Goaltending. Their coach is reluctant to play rookies in leading roles. I think they might be the biggest disappointment this year.

  28. nonhl2005 says:

    With no Goalie, and I thought the Flyers had the question mark in goal.

    Here’s a guy that couldn’t win the job when ‘bulin wasn’t on the team now he’s gonna be able to play better then him? They will have to have much better goalie then Grahame to repeat.

  29. nonhl2005 says:

    Let me guess, you work for the Government or the media, taking what I said and mis-quoting me.

    “Granted no one knows how these kids are going to work out but all indications are they are the real deal.” Is not the same thing as saying they will be Awesome.

    “Esche is now the full fledge starter who has gotten better each season” is not the same thing as “esche is a totally proven great goalie”

    and the line I said about Gags was, and I quote “many beleive that this is Gagne’s breakout season, finally.” If your going to plagiarize me at least do it properly.

  30. nonhl2005 says:

    I agree come Dec. and Jan. most of the minions on here will be cowering in a corner somewhere. It will go back to the Leafs vs. Flyers, the way God intended it to be.

  31. nonhl2005 says:

    What’s not like about the Black jersey’s, they are much better then those 70’s throw back new Orange third jersey. Yeah, like the logo is really coming out of the jersey, that was a bad design, only done to get more money out of the fanatics. What do we have 3 more years before they can change the alternate jersey again.

  32. cgolding says:

    you mean like naming one of the rooks to the top-line to start the season?

  33. nonhl2005 says:

    Too slow on defense? I would put Johnsson, Pitkanen and Seidenberg up against any other 3 on a team for speed. What makes for reliable goaltending? Only Brodeur is reliable according to your comment. Reluctant to play what rookies in leading roles? See my friends comment prior (rookie on a first line and most likely 2nd line) and take a look at Pitkanen and what Hitch did with him. The only reason there weren’t more rookies playing before is because JR, Reechi, Amonte and LeClair were taking up the spots, now there is room for them, so sit back and watch them.

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