Philadelphia Flyers 2005-2006

TEAM NAME: Philadelphia Flyers

TEAM PAYROLL: $36,072,360.00 (Including: Eric Chouinard, Brian Savage. Excluding: Antero Nittymaki, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards)

GENERAL MANAGER: Bob Clarke, GM since 1992

HEAD COACH: Ken Hitch*****, coach since the 2002 Season.

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FORGOTTEN MOVES: Acquired Mike Knuble at the end of the 2004 Season, a key addition in an attempt to make up for the loss of Recchi to the Penguins. Also Acquired Turner Stevenson at the end of the 2004 Season.

TEAM MODE: The Flyers have prepared themselves to make a great run at the cup this upcoming season. With the new rule changes, the offense shouldn’t be effected as much, nor the goaltending. The defense could have some minor problems, but the preseason shows they are adjusting to not hooking and grabbing, although the same goes with every other team in the NHL.

TO TAKE CHARGE!: There are several key figures in the Flyers organization that need to lead the team this year. I’ll start with the captain, Keith Primeau. Primeau had an amazing playoff performance last year, finishing 6th in points (16) and 5th in goals (9). He showed his true leadership capabilities, and the team responded quite well, rallying around the big guy and his key plays. Another player that needs to take charge is none other then Peter Forsberg. Forsberg will be looked up to by a lot of the younger players on the team, and he needs to have a solid season both on and off the ice. Hitch***** also needs to play a big role behind the bench, as he has done time and time again in the past, bringing great players together and making them an even greater team.

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ON THE RUSH (OFFENSE): The Flyers Offense has the Potential to be outstanding this year, especially in the new NHL. The losses of Recchi and Roenick are key, but the Acquisition of Forsberg, and young players like Richards, Carter, and Sim joining the line-up should make the offense even more dangerous then before. Last year, Sim lead the Phantoms in goals (37), points (65), and +/- (21), and he shows no signs of slowing down. In the preseason, He is tied for first in the league with 8 points (as of 9/25). Carter and Richards joined the Phantoms for there Calder Cup winning playoff run, with 23 and 15 points respectively. Carter also led the team in goals in the playoffs with 12. Those 3, Combined with the new Flyers star Forsberg, should compensate for the losses of Roenick (Trade), Recchi (FA), Leclair (bought out), Amonte (bought out) and Zhamnov. The only knock on Forsberg is the fact that he is ‘injury prone’. As long as he stays healthy, he will work wonders for the Flyers. With his recent surgery, people wondered weather he would make the season opener. The answer is yes, as he will begin to skate with the team on Sept. 26th, picking up where he left off. Also, Sami Kapanen will not be back until about 3-5 weeks into the season, but I think he will have no problem adjusting to the new flow of the game. I’ve seen the team practice recently, and I can see the chemistry already. The returning players look extremely pleased to be back on the ice together, and the new players are fitting in quite nicely, Which is the formula to a successful offense.

The new NHL restores a new sense in Special teams, and the Flyers are extremely prepared. They currently are one of the top teams in the league in power play and penalty kill. They had a 30% PP percentage, and the penalty kill, still provides offense, as Simon Gagne is tied for first in the preseason with 1 SH goal thus far. With an offensive line like Forsberg, Gagne and Handzus on the PP up front, they should generate a lot of scoring opportunities. And the PK can be a constant scoring threat, with speedy players like Gagne keeping the pressure on.

COVERING THE D-ZONE: The flyers gave there defense a major facelift this year, with the signings of Darian Hatcher, Mike Rathje, and Chris Therien, three HUGE players to stand there ground in front of the net and on the blue line. At first glance, this might be suicide in the new NHL. But the Flyers defense is actually quite a potent offensive threat. By bringing up Dennis Seidenberg, who was 6th on the Phantoms in points last year with 41, the Flyers have added yet another offensive defenseman to the mix. He has a great shot and is a constant scoring threat. Seidenberg joins up with Joni Pitkanen, who also had 41 points last year with the Phantoms. Pitkanen has adjusted to the North American Style of hockey with the last season of play, which was a big reason why he wasn’t more effective his rookie year. He too is a constant offensive threat. Those players join Kim Johnsson, who is yet another offensive defenseman with a great shot at the point. Those 3 mentioned, paired up with Rathje, Hatcher, and Desjardins, make for a lethal defense. The science behind it is this: When paired up with a stay at home defenseman, the offensive defenseman will be able to join the rush more, thus creating a more potent scoring threat, but not sacrificing much on the defensive end. Also, the defenseman are quick enough to get back, making the Flyers defense a force to be reckoned with. Hatcher had sustained a knee injury in team USA practice, but was skating with the team on Sept. 25th and looked fine. I don’t think that mobility will be a problem for him or any other player on the defense. And though Desjardins is aging, Therien will be there to split time if needed, as he will be the odd man out.

The defense also works out quite well for the special teams unit. Johnsson, Pitkanen, and Seidenberg all have great shots, and can be very dangerous on the point in a PP, as well as another player like Hatcher to anchor the line. And Rathje has proven in his SJ days that he is a consistent PK’er, and should work very well this year in doing just that. Overall, the Flyers defense should be fun to watch. With there scoring threats, but overall good defensive players, I think they possess one of the most lethal blue lines in the game.

GUARDING THE NET: For the first time since the ‘Hextall Era’, I can confidently say I like the Flyers goaltending position this year. Starting with the starter: Robert Esche. Esche is coming off a great season with the Flyers, including 2.04 GAA which was 5th in league and a .915 save percentage in the regular season. He also had a stellar performance in the playoffs, where he had 11 wins, a 2.32 GAA, a .918 save percentage and a shutout, and helped the Flyers reach game 7 of the Eastern Conf. Finals. Esche also had another solid performance in the World Cup, Helping team USA get to the semifinals. Esche should have no problem adjusting to the new goalie pad restrictions, as he is a very flexible goalie. But even if Esche falters, though I highly doubt he will, the Flyers are fully prepared. Antero Nittymaki will backup Esche this year, but I think they will end up splitting time. Nittymaki is coming off a Calder Cup winning Season with the Phantoms, in which he was named the MVP. In his 3 NHL games last year, Nittymaki was 3-0 with a 1.00 GAA. He is very flexible, just like Esche, and should have no problem with the new pads. Nittymaki can and will be a great goalie in the NHL, and gives the Flyers yet another key to success. With a solid 1-2 goalie punch, the Flyers can let both goalies rest, keeping both fresh for the playoffs, much like Minnesota in the 02-03 playoffs, which many people think played a big role in there playoff success.

TALKING ABOUT MY GENERATION!: The flyers have several great prospects to choose from this year. Along with Carter and Richards (mentioned earlier), they have R.J. Umberger. Tied for first in points last year with the Phantoms, Umberger should crack the Flyers roster this year. He has an effortless stride and a solid shot, and naturally finds the back of the net. The Flyers also have Stephan Ruzicka. Regarded as one of the fastest rising younger talents in Slovakia, he has extremely soft hands and is very tough to knock off the puck. He was a very under scouted player, but has a very good work ethic and thus even greater potential. He has a very good chance of making the team in the future seasons, and is adapting to the North American Style of hockey in the OHL right now. Of these 4 players, Carter is the most likely choice to become a franchise player. And the opportunity this year to play on the first line with the likes of Forsberg and Gagne, he may very well do just that.

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PROJECTED LINES:

The Flyers offensive lines should look something like this:

Line 1: Gagne – Forsberg – Carter

Line 2: Kapanen – Primeau – Knuble

Line 3: Radivojovic – Handzus – Sharp

Line 4: Brashear – Carter – Stevenson

With Forsberg out, in practice Sharp Played with line one. Also, this preseason the line of Knuble/Richards/Sim has played extremely well together. It will be interesting to see where Sim ends up, because I don’t think the Flyers expected him to play this well thus far. I think he may end up somewhere on the third line, with Radivojovic or Sharp the odd man out, depending on how they play. Another option would be to move Handzus to the wing, which he played in St. Louis, once again, making Sharp or Radivojovic the odd man out.

The defense should look something like this (in no particular order):

Hatcher – Johnsson

Rathje – Seidenberg

Desjardins – Pitkanen

(Therien being the odd man out)

Rathje and Seidenberg have worked well together this off-season, and would make a sensible pair. Same with Hatcher and Johnsson. Desjardins is getting no younger and will likely split some time with Therien.

EXPECTATIONS: The Flyers have extremely high expectations this year. They should end up winning there division, and most likely end up 2nd after Ottawa but before Tampa or Atlanta. In the Playoffs, they should go to at least the Conference Semi’s, if not the Conf. finals, where depending on the opposition, they have a shot at the Cup finals.

PROJECTED: I agree with the expectations set on the Flyers for the most part. I think they can win the East if they have an injury free season, but should not have problems with the division. In the Playoffs, I don’t think they will do worse then Eastern Conference finals, again, barring injuries. If they win what I predict to be a tough series with Boston, they will win the Stanley Cup, due to the fact that the West has lost a lot of its firepower, and just can no longer compare to the East. Anything less then a Stanley Cup appearance will be a major failure this year in the eyes of the Philadelphia People, and the Flyers organization in general. This team has all the weapons needed to go all the way this year.


40 Responses to Philadelphia Flyers 2005-2006

  1. flyersfan21 says:

    I think this article was very well written but I disagree on the line combinations. I believe the lines will be.

    Gagne – Forsberg – Carter

    Sims – Richards – Knuble

    Kapanen/Savage – Primeau – Stevenson

    Brashear – Handzus – Sharp

    Defense

    Hatcher – Johnsson

    Rathje – Pitkanen

    Desjardins – Seidenberg

  2. marcs797 says:

    i like the defens no matter what they pair, just as long as it stays with the defensive formula. the only thing is, wheres radivojivic? hes had a decent preseason, better then others…

  3. Viller02 says:

    Branko will be in the lineup for sure, I see him taking Brashear’s spot on the team this season. Sharp is gonna be the odd man out when Kapanen comes back I think. I was getting scared that we might not have enough depth on foward positions this year, but im beginning to ask myself questions about where some of our young guys will be playing this year, so many are ready to make the NHL jump. Jon Sim is definately the surprise thus far in camp, hopefully him and Richards can keep it up with Knuble.

    As far as I can see on the D, that will be the starting 6, unless Hatcher gets hurt again.

    Our goaltending is gonna be rock solid this year, no question about it.

  4. NemiNA says:

    I’ve been checking out their practices and I’m going to all the pre-season games and the first 6 home games. They have a strong chemistry between Sim Richards and Knuble, and would be foolish to break it up.

    Carter hasn’t impressed me yet, but I have no doubt that he will shine paired up when Forsberg team up with him and Gagne.

    I think they can win the east. No question. I doubt a Stanley cup this year. They may have a shot next year or in 07. If they win this year It will be the happiest I’ve ever been with my foot in my mouth.

    Great Article.

  5. marcs797 says:

    I dunno, like i said in the article, theres not gonna be much opposition in the west in my opinion, and if ottawa has a bad playoffs, and they stay healthy, theres no reason why they cant do it this year. i agree, richards has been much more impressive then carter, and sim more then both. The lines are just a guess, but knuble/sim/richards seems to be a lock as the 2nd line, maybe throwing handzus on the wing of primeau and kapanen or sharp or even radivojivic. the possibilities are endless, and im so happy!! lol

  6. marcs797 says:

    id take sharp over savage, sharp had a great year with the phantoms, and worked his way into the roster.

  7. CechmanekForVezina says:

    That’s what’s so great, there’s so much depth. It’s a shame to leave guys like Radivojevic, Sharp or UImberger out but you almost have to.

    And the chemistry is still there since so many of them won with the Phantoms.

  8. Weidner says:

    Good article. Not sure how you see Umberger cracking this line up. Once Kapanen is available they will have a problem getting ice time for everyone.

    You have Carter listed on the 1st & 4th lines above. I am assuming that you meant Richards on the 4th line. I actually see something more like:

    Gagne // Forsberg // Carter

    Sharp // Primeau // Stevenson

    Sim // Richards // Knuble

    Brashear // Handzus // Radivojevic

    Reserve: Savage,

    Pitkanen // Hatcher

    Desjardins // Johnsson

    Seidenberg // Rathje

    Reserve: Therien

    “Hitch” is not going to break up the 3rd line because it has already put together 18 points in a few pre-season games. Sim’s play has not only earned himself a spot on the roster, but real playing time.

    The interesting thing will be to see how Carter does when he is moved to right wing with Forsberg at center. They wish they would have had more time to play together in pre-season to see how this is going to work.

    Since Sharp is being moved off of that line the question is where do they move him now? He has not played the leftwing before, but with Kapanen’s injury that appears to be the spot that is open.

    The Savage signing now looks like a insurance policy.

    As far as the defense – Therien was told when he came back that he was going to be the teams 7th defenseman. He will play if one of the younger guys has a few bad games or when injuries and suspensions occur. (Hatcher for the first 3 games). “Hitch” also was quoted as saying he would like to pair the younger defenseman with Rathje & Hatcher.

    Of course with all of the penalties that have been called in the pre-season the lines that may see the ice most are the power-play & penalty-kill units.

  9. flyersfan_92 says:

    i look at the depth at center and i dont like handzus on the fourth line, but neither do i like richards on the fourth line so i think the flyers still have too many centers and are still too weak at wing.

    I dont think Sim is the long term answer, and Kapanen has not been productive for the flyers since he has been here

    i really like Hanzues as a player but i think we could free up a center spot and pick up a real quality winger if we could find the right trade

    Given the history of sim i wouldn’t start him before savage.

    so I guess here are my lines though i am not real happy with them

    1. Gagne – Forsberg – Carter possible bets line in hockey if Carter lives up to hype

    2. Savage – Primeau – Knuble

    3. Radivojovic – Handzus – Richards

    4. Brashear – Sharp – Stevenson

    i like your defensive pairings and i think Esche and Nittymaki are solid in goal.

    For me anything less that a trip to the finals will be a big dissapointment

  10. cgolding says:

    interestingly Zeus is going to be tried at wing for one of the preseason games…

    Gagne-Forsberg-Carter

    Sim-Richards-Knuble

    Stevenson-Primeau-Handzus

    Brashear-Sharp-Radio

    ??

    if they do that… no one will score on the Primeau line.

  11. Viller02 says:

    I probably would also, but then the Savage signing would be useless. I still think he can score 20-30goals though this year if he has good linemates.

    If Carter-Forsberg-Gagne doesn’t pan out, I wouldn’t be impressed seeing Savage taking carter’s spot.

  12. marcs797 says:

    with the defense, i made the mistake in puttin rathje with siedenberg, when on philadelphiaflyers.com, hitch has pitkanen with rathje, and says there rooming together and also playing well together. for the offense, its a whole other story. i think that first line will be great, with carter/gagne/forsberg. 2nd line will be sim/richards/knuble until they stop getting 9 PPG. this is where it gets interesting…

    i dont like zues on the 4th line, but no way primeau is playing 4th line. also, if i remember correctly kapanen and primeau where on a line together in carolina(correct me if im wrong), and i think they would play very well together, a great mix of size and speed, and it worked in the playoffs. maybe throw sharp on that line to for a more finesse touch, leaving the 4th line at zues/brashear/savage or stevenson…

    as for umberger cracking the line up, he had a great season with the phantoms, but i meant if the flyers got injured, which like any twam can adn will happen

  13. Viller02 says:

    Wow after Tonight’s game (sept 27) I seriously have no idea how Hitch***** is gonna manage the lines.

    Brashear-Umberger-Sharp seemed to have worked great (haven’t seen the game but the results are certainly there)

    Great Game by Niittymaki also! Shaky at first but held through the second half of the game wich is what matters.

  14. NemiNA says:

    Dude, have you paid attention to the pre-season? Richards Sim and Knuble have been everything so far.

  15. flyersfan_92 says:

    yes, but presaeason doesnt translate to the regular season, Sim is a journeyman, he is too small and not proven, they arent hitting hard in these games, unless you are roenick, and they arent playing the first line players all game yet.

  16. Viller02 says:

    “presaeason doesnt translate to the regular season”

    Thats basically what pre-season is for. Knuble-Richards-Sim line will be given every oppurtunity in the regular season, I’m sure they will play in the season opener for sure. How long its gonna stay like that? Until it stops working simply.

  17. NemiNA says:

    Hahahaha! That was funny. I doubt they will have any trouble scoring. But keep in mind they will be a defensive line. Handzus can still put up 25 goals. Who knows.

  18. cgolding says:

    i meant that no one would score on the the line from the opposing team. that line wouldn’t put up prolific scoring numbers, but decent. they would be an absolute nightmare for opposing top-lines to play against though.

  19. intelligentscorpio says:

    Toronto fans hate him but Bobby Clarke time and again has shown that he does live and breathe Flyers.
    Although has his best intentions for his team, it somehow does not work out for him and his team loses out in the post season. Losing LeClair, Recchi, JR and Amonte for Forsberg is not a good equation to have. Let’s see what happens.

  20. Viller02 says:

    Maybe its not, but he didn’t replace those 4 with Forsberg only.

    Forsberg, Knuble, Richards and Carter would be more appropriate. And to tell ya the truth I think Id rather have those 4 since the previous 4 aren’t getting any younger and 3 of them were declining massively on offence. People dont seem to understand that it didn’t work out with all those stars and its time to move on and he did just that.

    Best example would be the Leafs, it never works out but they still keep everyone year in, year out and always fail miserably.

  21. bostich79 says:

    its showed in the preseason so far, even without the starting players, the team is working, even better then before. knuble/sim/richards are playing outstaning, and even zues/brashear/stevenson generated some offense tonight. richards looked outstanding… again, carter and forsberg are showing chemistry in practice, i already mentioned knuble/sim. the flyers look outstanding, and thats without forsberg, and against the devils, an undefeated team(i think so) in the preseason.

  22. Hockey_Fan_99 says:

    Flyers suck

  23. Veggetto19 says:

    Doesent this qualify for an ip ban lol

  24. Hockey_Fan_99 says:

    im stating the facts

  25. Hockey_Fan_99 says:

    but true

  26. Marky2Fresh says:

    Looking at those lines, can’t say I’m really all that impressed.

  27. Viller02 says:

    Looking at Tampa Bay’s lineup the year before I almost pissed myself and they won the cup, so shut up. Young guys will be the stars in the new NHL and Philly has some of the best of em.

  28. Hockey_Fan_99 says:

    Young guys will be the stars in the new NHL and Philly has some of the best of em.

    good one who do they have? richards is good, Carter for the whole post season is invisible has he even gotten a point yet? sim is a penguins reject ENOUGH SAID, Nittymaki sucks 25 and hes only played 3 games If i missed any tell me

  29. CechmanekForVezina says:

    Sim has two hat tricks, ENOUGH SAID

  30. Hockey_Fan_99 says:

    O wow and what team/goalie was he playing against? and he has one smarty you dont even know your own players………..

  31. CechmanekForVezina says:

    He had one last night against the Caps, jackass. His other one was also against the Caps.

  32. Hockey_Fan_99 says:

    He only had 2 goals last night……………

  33. CechmanekForVezina says:

    Down 5-1 heading into the third period, the Flyers scored five goals, including three from Jon Sim, with the last one coming with just 18 seconds left in the game, to force an overtime. Joni Pitkanen and Peter Forsberg also scored for the Flyers in the third.

    http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com/pressbox/trainingCamp/archive/2205.asp

  34. bostich79 says:

    just stop hockey_fan, your wrong. lol

  35. Hockey_Fan_99 says:

    Just like your birth

  36. bostich79 says:

    lol, your wrong about hockey, so you go to the ‘birth jokes’. lol good game, go play curling, hockey just isn’t your sport, sorry 🙁

  37. SensfanVone says:

    why cant you type out hitches name on here?

  38. Mullet says:

    Those lines aren’t that good! I mean people are ragging on Toronto for their lack of depth this year but in my opinion Philly seems to be in the same boat. So why are they automatic favourites to win the cup? Cause they got Forsberg. He won’t make that much of a difference, same as Hatcher, Knuble and Rathje. The only players on this team who I see as stand outs are Richards, Carter.

  39. bostich79 says:

    sim? sharp? umberger (even he had a good preseason) and for Forsberg not making a difference, HAHA your kidding right? i mean hes only peter forsberg, hes a decent 3rd liner to put in for the grind…. *sigh*

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