With the NHL regular season right around the corner, TSN.ca profiles each team leading up to puck drop. Next up are the Philadelphia Flyers, hoping they have enough to at least maintain last years playoff position. Catch up on their summer moves and the issues they face this season, as well as Craig Buttons analysis of their top prospect and an analytical breakdown by TSNs Scott Cullen. Division: Metropolitan GM: Ron Hextall Head Coach: Craig Berube 2013-14: 42-30-10 (3rd in Metropolitan) Playoffs: Lost in conference quarter-finals Goals For: 233 (8th) Goals Against: 227 (20th) Powerplay: 19.7% (8th) Penalty Kill: 84.8% (7th) That Was Then: Losing seven of your first eight games is never a desirable way to begin a season, but thata€?s the reality the Flyers made for themselves in 2013-14. The losing streak, which extended to nine of the teama€?s first 12 games, set off a trend that unfolded for the entirety of the campaign. The start cost Peter Laviolette his coaching job (after just three games!), with Philly handing Craig Berube the reins on an interim basis on Oct. 7. The former grinder was eventually able to turn the team around, but the shift was not instantaneous. It took until after Christmas for the Flyers to get their first handle on playoff position and that turnaround was largely thanks to two factors. The first was that the Metropolitan Division was not very competitive in the early-going, with the third spot in the division taking fewer points to get hold of than the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The second was Claude Giroux playing out of his mind in December and continuing his hot play throughout the second half. The Flyers captaina€?s nine-game point streak began in Chicago and wasna€?t snapped until New Yeara€?s Eve, including six multi-point games over the span. The Olympic break provided an opportunity for a lot of the Flyersa€? top talent to get a breather with its Canadian core a€“ including Giroux a€“ left out of the nationa€?s Sochi plans. Philly finished strong, securing points in 16 of its final 22 that amazingly includes a stretch that saw them lose six of seven. Finishing third in the Metropolitan, the Flyers earned a first-round date with the team theya€?d battled in the standings for much of the spring: the New York Rangers. The team suffered an untimely injury, though, in their final meeting of the season with their intrastate rivals from Pittsburgh as netminder Steve Mason sustained an upper body injury on Apr. 12. The injury a€“ which Mason later revealed was a concussion a€“ kept him off the ice for the first three games of the first round. He came back with the team in a 1-2 hole but despite holding the Rangers to two goals or less in three of the four games he played, the Flyers were sent packing in seven. Scott Cullens Analytics Predators 2013-14 Stats by Quarter Games GPG GAA SH% SV% SAF% PTS% 1-20 2.00 2.45 6.1% .940 49.3% .450 21-41 3.00 2.90 8.3% .915 50.0% .619 42-62 3.24 3.10 9.3% .909 47.0% .619 63-82 3.10 2.60 8.2% .927 51.6% .600 NHL AVG 2.67 2.67 7.8 .922 50.0% .562 Key: GPG= goals per game, GAA= goals-against per game, SH%= even-strength shooting percentage, SV%= even-strength save percentage, SAF%= score-adjusted Fenwick percentage (differential of shot attempts faced vs. shot attempts, excluding blocked shots, adjusted for game score), PTS%= percentage of available points. Analysis: Games 1-20: Couldnt score early, with Giroux starting slow, and great goaltending wasnt enough. Games 21-41: Goaltending regressed, but shooting was on the mark, improving record. Games 42-62: Poor possession and goaltending were both offset by high-percentage shooting, . Games 63-82: Best goaltending and possession stretch of the year. Key 2014 Additions: D Michael del Zotto, F Andrew Gordon, C Blair Jones, D Nick Schultz, F Zack Stortini, F R.J. Umberger, F Ryan White Key 2014 Subtractions: F Scott Hartnell, F Steve Downie, F Tyle McGinn This Is Now: The Flyers brought in a familiar face to take charge of the roster, bringing in their last great netminder and one of the gamea€?s most sought-after executives in Ron Hextall as general manager. Luckily for Hextall, there was not a lot of heavy lifting to be done in terms of shaping the roster. The forwards were a balanced group, with seven scoring 20 or more in 2013-14, including first-timer Brayden Schenn and nearly-old-timer Vincent Lecavalier. Hextall moved one of those seven out in his biggest off-season move, trading popular vet and one of the gamea€?s best combinations of grit and skill in Scott Hartnell to Columbus to reacquire R.J. Umberger, who broke into the NHL with Philly in 2005. The Flyers now have a couple years to work with the existing roster, since the majority of the current club has at least two years contract remaining, highlighted by the eight-year extension Giroux signed in the middle of last season. Six years may have been a long term to give Andrew MacDonald, but the team got an up-close look at him down the stretch and seems to have liked what it saw. With Kimmo Timonen out indefinitely, there will be some pressure on MacDonald, along with veterans Braydon Coburn and Mark Streit, to handle big minutes on the Flyers blue line. Hextall also rolled the dice on a low-risk addition, signing Michael del Zotto to a $1.3 million free agent deal in hopes that the 24-year-old can regain the form that had many projecting him as an elite offensive blue liner earlier in his career. DEPTH CHART Forwards Left Wing Centre Right Wing Brayden Schenn Claude Giroux Jakub Voracek Matt Read Sean Couturier Wayne Simmonds Michael Raffl Vincent Lecavalier R.J. Umberger Jason Akeson Pierre-Edouard Bellemare Zac Rinaldo Jay Rosehill Blair Jones Petr Straka Taylor Leier Scott Laughton Ryan White Defence Left Right Andrew MacDonald Braydon Coburn Mark Streit Nicklas Grossman Michael Del Zotto Luke Schenn Nick Schultz Samuel Morin Kimmo Timonen Shayne Gostisbehere Goaltenders Steve Mason Ray Emery Anthony Stolarz Craigs List TSN Director of Scouting Craig Buttons Top Prospect: Scott Laughton If there is a prototypical Flyer center, surely Scott would meet all the criteria. Flyer great Bob Clarke to current star Claude Giroux, embody requisite qualities of skill, fire and an indomitable will to win. Scott has no less of these qualities. Hes an excellent playmaker and his vision and anticipation allows him to be dangerous with the puck. He plays in the guts of the action, is not deterred in any way and he will do whatever is necessary to help the team win regardless if it may stretch the boundaries of the rules. A player Flyers fans will come to love. Fantasy - Cullens Player to Watch - Vincent Lecavalier This may qualify as wishful thinking, considering that Lecavalier is a 34-year-old coming off a season that was his least productive, on a points-per-game basis, since he was an 18-year-old rookie. Its not typical to get bounce-back years in a players mid-thirties, and Lecavaliers underlying numbers have been headed in the wrong direction for a while, but there is room in the Philadelphia lineup for Lecavalier to play a supporting offensive role. Given his contract, that may not be the ideal, but better to find a way to get 20-plus goals out of Lecavalier while using him in favourable matchups, in the hopes of trying to recapture some value. Alex Cappa Jersey
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. Ghoulam has put pen to paper on a four and a half year deal, tying him to Napoli until 2018. The 22-year-old Algeria international, who played for France at Under 21 level, has made 87 league appearances in four seasons at Saint-Etienne.FIVE QUICK NBA THOUGHTS: 1. Steve Nash (Lakers): I watched the game Sunday against Minnesota and to see him have to leave the game due to back issues is concerning. He doesnt look like he has the same explosiveness in his game as in the past. Obviously everyone loses that step/pop as we get older but to watch him this season its clear that hes far from 100%. Hes had an amazing career and as I watch right now I wonder whether hell be able to play at a high level and finish his contract with the Lakers through next season. Fingers crossed he gets well; its never easy to watch an older star player deal with injuries at the end of their career. 2. UTAH JAZZ (0-7): Man, I feel bad for Coach Tyrone Corbin. The team he has to coach is far from capable of competing at a high level on most nights. This is going to be a long season for the Jazz faithful in Salt Lake City who have been used to a good or very good level of play for over the past 25 years. Everyone was on board with the Suns (5-2) and 76ers (4-3) as the Tank Nation leaders yet theyve been a pleasant surprise. After watching the Jazz in person and a few Suns and 76ers games on TV there is no doubt that Utah is the worst team in the NBA by far. I understand teams trying to clean up their salary cap and add future picks but this is tough to watch. I feel bad for the season ticket holders and sponsors paying full price for a totally inferior product. 3. STEVEN ADAMS (Thunder): Its not as bad as the grief I get from Raptors fans for their trading of the draft rights to Roy Hibbert (17th overall) for Jermaine ONeal but Im starting to have a few fans already ask me about this guy drafted 12th by OKC with the Raptors pick that was used to acquire Kyle Lowry from Houston. Its so hard to evaluate how a trade works out until you let the whole process work itself out over a period of years in relation to both Lowry and Adams. I will say that so far Adams has impressed me with his great energy, instincts and grit. His numbers are far from Earth shattering (6ppg, 6rpg , 1.3 blocks, 52% shooting) yet if you watch him he has really nice potential and will grow at a nice steady pace in OKC not having the weight of the world on his shoulders as a young player. He was a good get for Sam Presti with the 12th pick. 4. STEVE CLIFFORD (Bobcats): Must be a day for Steves! I hope and pray that hes ok and ready to go again. Hes a longtime friend from my coaching days and weve texted back and forth since his health scare. Hes an outstanding coach and terrific person and will do a nice job for the young Charlotte squad. As I well know, the coaching profession is a meat grinder and incredibly stressful, particularly coaching a young team with limited talent. Every one of these coaches, despite the opinnions on the W-L record and strategies, works their tails off and yes, are well compensated but its still a job that can break you.dddddddddddd Ill never forget what former Utah Jazz President, GM and head coach Frank Layden said to me when I was coaching, Remember, the job doesnt love you back. Very true words and when I see Clifford, John Fox (Denver Broncos) and Gary Kubiak (Houston Texans) all experience health episodes I worry what the job/profession has become and whether the price truly is worth it. Its not an easy gig. 5. RUDY GAY & DEMAR DEROZAN (Raptors): Let me get this right out there in the open: they are NOT selfish players. Does the offence slow down and/or come to a stop when they get the ball? At times, yes. With Gay shooting 37 percent and averaging 17.6 field goal attempts, and DeRozan shooting 39 percent and averaging 16.6 field goal attempts, there are a lot of concerns about the fluidity and flow of the Raptors offence. They are legitimate concerns that Im sure Dwane Casey and his staff is spending a significant time on to address. Offensive continuity is a huge challenge on every team and is a tough habit to crack. You watch San Antonio destroy the Knicks Sunday and you see a team where the ball moves and there is incredible flow. You watch the Miami Heat on most nights and the ball and player movement is picturesque. The Raptors have a ways to go to get there but they can. Both Gay and DeRozan are guys that love to probe and attack the defence with the dribble which Im cool with. The area that both need to improve upon is identifying when to dribble it, pass it or shoot it, and they need to decide a whole lot quicker before the defence gangs up on them and their four teammates become spectators. Be decisive. The idea of using four, five, six, evenseven dribbles to create a shot when the other four guys on your team stand and watch and your opponent loads up on you forcing lower percentage shots has to be a no-no. Both are very talented offensive players that can get big numbers on their own and yet more importantly can, and know how to, do it within the confines of a more structured offence. I talk every night to coaches and scouts from opposing teams and the major theme with the Raptors is that at times these two guys make their team too easy to guard with the ball-stopping habits; habits that can and have to be broken. Its easier said than done yet this is a fixable issue. Both are good guys and team guys and want to win yet their style of play sometimes causes indecision by teammates. The improvement of the player and ball movement by the Raptors will lead to a much improved team. I have no doubt that if they improve this area theyll be a tough team for any opponent to defend and thats a benefit to everyone. White NFL Jerseys Cheap Youth NFL Jerseys China Wholesale Jerseys 2020 Stitched NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Autographed Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Discount Jerseys
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