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was fourth best in the league in the regular season from miaowang123's blog

The Philadelphia Flyers returned to the playoffs, for the 17th time in the past 19 seasons, where they were eliminated in seven games by the New York Rangers. Off-Season Game Plan looks at a Flyers team that has challenges going forward, as they try to fit under the salary cap and try to maintain their hold on a playoff spot. New GM Ron Hextall has lots of talent on hand, but has issues to face too. For one thing, they ranked 23rd in puck possession last season and its not easy to sustain success when the other team has the puck so frequently. Perhaps the biggest issue to handle this summer will be what to do with Vincent Lecavalier, last summers big free agent acquisition who fell flat after joining the Flyers. A buyout would be awfully expensive, so maybe the Flyers could find team willing to take on Lecavaliers contract while Philadelphia pays some of the salary. The Flyers have enough skilled players, and young, developing forwards, that they should still be decent on the attack. Then, there is the defence, where they are faced with the prospect of losing their best defenceman, Kimmo Timonen, to retirement, and are paying a lot of money to guys who arent pusing the puck in the right direction when they are on the ice. It might be easier to convince Timonen to play another season, to buy some time, rather than overhauling a defence corps that needs improvement. Even once the lineup is sorted, Hextall looks at a goaltending situation which remains a question mark. Steve Mason is coming off a good year, his best since his rookie year of 2008-2009, but what happens if Mason regresses towards his previous norm? Hextall appears to be taking the long view to his new job. "I like young players and I like draft picks," Hextall told CSN Philly. "My vision is to build this team and to continue to make this team better through the draft. That doesnt mean we wont make trades. At some point if its a good enough player, and weve got to trade a young player, we may look at that. But its not a vision of mine to trade young players for older players." With all of the decisions that Hextall gets to make as a first-time GM, he has a team that will expect to make the postseason again next year, yett hes walking a fine line, fine enough that a few wrong decisions or even a couple of bad breaks could be enough to cost them. Of course, the flip side is that the Flyers are close enough that a few sharp decisions and a few good breaks could put them right back in the playoff mix again next season. The TSN.ca Rating is an efficiency rating based on per-game statistics including goals and assists -- weighted for strength (ie. power play, even, shorthanded) -- Corsi, adjusted for zone starts, quality of competition and quality of teammates, hits, blocked shots, penalty differential and faceoffs. Generally, a replacement-level player is around a 60, a top six forward and top four defenceman will be around 70, stars will be over 80 and MVP candidates could go over 90. Sidney Crosby finished at the top of the 2013-2014 regular season ratings at 87.12. Salary cap information all comes from the indispensable www.capgeek.com. CF% = Corsi percentage (ie. percentage of 5-on-5 shot attempts), via www.extraskater.com. GM/COACHRon Hextrall/Craig Berube Returning Forwards Player Rating GP G A PTS CF% Cap Hit Claude Giroux 79.42 82 28 58 86 53.2% $8.275M Jakub Voracek 72.97 82 23 39 62 55.2% $4.25M Wayne Simmonds 72.45 82 29 31 60 48.5% $3.975M Scott Hartnell 71.05 78 20 32 52 54.3% $4.75M Matt Read 70.55 75 22 18 40 49.9% $3.625M Sean Couturier 66.80 82 13 26 39 49.1% $1.75M Vincent Lecavalier 65.68 69 20 17 37 45.3% $4.5M Michael Raffl 62.99 68 9 13 22 52.6% $1.1M Zac Rinaldo 55.14 67 2 2 4 46.4% $750K Jay Rosehill 54.71 34 2 0 2 44.1% $675K Free Agent Forwards Player Rating GP G A PTS CF% Class 13-14 Cap Hit Brayden Schenn 66.46 82 20 21 41 47.9% RFA $3.11M Steve Downie 62.47 62 4 20 24 49.6% UFA $2.65M Adam Hall 57.58 80 4 5 9 44.0% UFA $600K After having finger surgery last August, it turned out that Claude Giroux wasnt in peak form to open the season, and he started out with no goals and seven assists in the first 15 games, but Giroux was a force after that, scoring 79 points in 67 games the rest of the way. Hes one of the premier power play point producers in the league and no one has scored more total points in the past four seasons. Jakub Voracek has emerged as a real offensive threat, a solid complement to Giroux on Philadelphias top line. Over the past two seasons, Voracek ranks 23rd with 108 points and hes a skilled, big winger that can be difficult to remove from the puck. Voracek, 24, also happens to be hitting his prime. Coming off a career year, Wayne Simmonds had career-highs in goals (29), assists (31) and points (60), while playing a career-high 16:46 per game. Hes missed nine games, total, in six NHL seasons and only two players (Alex Ovechkin, James Neal) have more than Simmonds 32 power play goals over the past three seasons. Hes not an ideal possession player, but contributes plenty otherwise. A solid two-way player who plays tough minutes, against quality opposition with more defensive zone starts, Matt Read has also scored 57 goals in three seasons and played a career-high 18:48 last season. Hes valuable because he can play a variety of different roles and ranked third among Philadelphia forwards in ice time per game. Read frequently rides shotgun with Sean Couturier, the 21-year-old who plays a shutdown role. He scored a career-high 39 points last season, but only three of those points came on the power play, so there is potential for more offensive production if he is given the opportunity. He had 96 points in each of his last two junior seasons and scored 28 points in 31 AHL games as a 20-year-old, so the pedigree is there for Couturier to take on a bigger role offensively, if he gets the chance. Vincent Lecavaliers game went off a cliff last season. He had poor possession numbers, despite offensive zone starts and relatively easy quality of opposition; 37 points in 69 games was his lowest points per game since 2001-2002 and he ended up playing 15:11 per game, his lowest time on ice since his rookie year, 1998-1999. Hes still under contract for four more seasons which is more than a little problematic for a 34-year-old coming off a bad year. Austrian winger Michael Raffl made a surprising jump to the NHL, almost directly from Leksands in Swedens second tier, and while his production was modest, he had respectable possession stats, which makes him a reasonable option as a depth forward. Hes 25 and may not have enough offensive upside to fit higher on the depth chart. Hes a physical presence on the fourth line, but Zac Rinaldo gets buried in possession terms, and has seven goals and 470 penalty minutes in 165 career games. Among those lucky few who play enough to register at least 400 penalty minutes over the past three seasons, Rinaldos production is on the low end. Jay Rosehill has fought 14 times in 45 games over the past two seasons, so hes a heavyweight face-puncher, if thats required. Hes also put up eight points in 117 career games and has been overmatched when it comes to puck possession, which is why he ends up as a part-time player. Progress has been gradual for Brayden Schenn, who did set career-highs with 20 goals and 41 points last season, but he also had poor possession stats despite facing relatively easy competition. It may be fair to wonder whether Schenn and Couturier are blossoming as effectively as possible, as they both compete for playing time down the middle behind Giroux. As the Flyers look to improve long-term, yet also under some financial constraints, they could look to free agent wingers like Mason Raymond, Benoit Pouliot or Radim Vrbata as possibilities to fit in a scoring role without necessarily breaking the bank. Returning Defence Player Rating GP G A PTS CF% Cap Hit Mark Streit 70.79 82 10 34 44 50.4% $5.25M Andrew MacDonald 64.68 82 4 24 28 44.5% $5.0M Braydon Coburn 63.48 82 5 12 17 51.1% $4.5M Nicklas Grossman 61.23 78 1 13 14 47.2% $3.5M Luke Schenn 59.95 79 4 8 12 47.7% $3.6M Chris Pronger             $4.941M Free Agent Defence Player Rating GP G A PTS CF% Class 13-14 Cap Hit Kimmo Timonen 69.12 77 6 29 35 55.0% UFA $6.0M Erik Gustafsson 65.67 31 2 8 10 48.3% RFA $1.0M Hal Gill 53.39 6 0 0 0 47.6% UFA $700K In the past seven seasons, there have been four defencemen to produce at least five 40-point seasons and one of them is Mark Streit, who missed one full season (2010-2011) in that span as he recovered from shoulder surgery. Streit may not be driving play, but the Flyers can do worse than getting respectable possession numbers to go along with his offensive production. Its difficult to imagine what the Flyers saw from Andrew MacDonald in 19 games to warrant a six-year, $30-million contract extension, because MacDonald has been a puck possession nightmare, whose with-or-without-you stats show that nearly everyone fares better without him. There has been some evidence that his neutral zone defence is an issue, and that would have to improve in order to give MacDonalds new contract some value. Braydon Coburn hasnt materialized offensively the way that might have been expected after a 36-point season in 2007-2008 but, as a big guy who can skate and move the puck, hes been able to hold his own in a shutdown role. The question going forward may be just how effective Coburn could be if Kimmo Timonen doesnt return. Its pretty clear that, over time, Coburn has been better with Timonen. Stay-at-home defender Nicklas Grossman scored a career-high 14 points last season and that indicates certain limitations to his game, the same that are inherent to many stay-at-home defensive defencemen. Grossman gets eaten alive in relative possession terms, yet he played more last season (1491 minutes) than he had in any previous season. This is the disconnect that comes between old-school coaching and analytics that emphasize positive shot differentials. After a decent showing in his first (lockout-shortened) season in Philly, Luke Schenns game regressed dramatically. In six NHL seasons, Schenn has alternated between having seasons with at least 21 minutes of ice time per game seasons in which hes played fewer than 17 minutes per game. Last season saw him play 16:32 per game and his per-game scoring rate (0.15 points per game) was the lowest of his career. Even with that reduced ice time, Schenn ranked third among defencemen with 260 hits last season, which means he didnt have the puck that much, but the Flyers may need Schenn to handle a bigger role again in the future. There are some holes on the Philadelphia defence. Maybe it was part of the reason that they were so quick to sign MacDonald to an extension. A mobile, undersized defenceman, Erik Gustafsson couldnt earn a regular spot on the Flyers blueline and made the decision to sign in the KHL for next season. Chris Pronger, while on the payroll, hasnt played since November 19, 2012 and isnt going to play again. 39-year-old Kimmo Timonen could be on his way to retirement, but it wouldnt be a surprise to see the Flyers or another team try to convince him to keep playing. Timonen has been a stalwart on the Flyers blueline, putting up strong possession numbers while facing top-tier opposition. If he really is going to leave, that would create a significant hole. Philadelphia could use a quality addition on defence even if Timonen returns, so if Timonen leaves, might as well make it two. Free agents Sami Salo, Anton Stralman or Raphael Diaz might help and taking a shot at top AHL defenceman T.J. Brennan (from nearby Willingboro, NJ) might improve the Flyers ability to move the puck from the back end. Returning Goaltender Player Rating GP W L OTL GAA SV% Cap Hit Steve Mason 73.37 61 33 18 7 2.50 .917 $4.1M Free Agent Goaltender Player Rating GP W L OTL GAA SV% Class 13-14 Cap Hit Ray Emery 64.77 28 9 12 2 2.96 .903 UFA $1.65M Has 26-year-old Steve Mason found what hes been looking for in Philadelphia? In four-plus seasons with Columbus, Mason had a .903 save percentage, and was one of the worst starting goaltenders in the league over that time. But, in 68 games with the Flyers, Mason has a .920 save percentage. His real value may be some point in between, but having a point in between counts as progress. Should the Flyers lose Ray Emery to free agency, they will need to find a suitable backup for Mason. How much the Flyers will be willing to spend will likely depend on cap space, but a veteran with some measure of reliability would be ideal. If not, why not take a chance on Alex Stalock, a 26-year-old who was very good in 24 games for San Jose last season? Top Prospects Player Pos. Team/League Stats Scott Laughton C Oshawa (OHL) 40-47-87, +12, 54 GP Samuel Morin D Rimouski (QMJHL) 7-24-31, +12, 54 GP Shayne Gostisbehere D Union (ECAC) 9-25-34, +33, 42 GP Nick Cousins C Adirondack (AHL) 11-18-29, -9, 74 GP Mark Alt D Adirondack (AHL) 4-22-26, -16, 75 GP Anthony Stolarz G London (OHL) 2.52 GAA, .926 SV%, 35 GP Robert Hagg D Modo Ornskoldsvik (SHL) 1-5-6, even, 50 GP Jason Akeson RW Adirondack (AHL) 24-40-64, -17, 70 GP Tye McGinn LW Adirondack (AHL) 20-15-35, -20, 54 GP Taylor Leier LW Portland (WHL) 37-42-79, +48, 62 GP Petr Straka RW Adirondack (AHL) 9-18-27, -4, 60 GP Brandon Manning D Adirondack (AHL) 8-23-31, -24, 73 GP Picked 20th overall in 2012, Scott Laughton has already played a handful of games for the Flyers, and the gritty forward had a strong season in the Ontario Hockey League. He should be able to challenge for a job next season. The 11th pick last summer, Samuel Morin is a towering blueliner who could become an intimidating presence, but he skates well for his size and has improving puck skills. A third-round pick of the Flyers in 2012, Shayne Gostisbehere finished an impressive junior campaign with national-champion Union College. Hes not big, but Gostisbehere can skate, move the puck and work the point on the power play. Taken in the third round in 2011, Nick Cousins is a two-way centre who went through a learning process in his first pro season. Hell need to get stronger and continue to improve if hes going to take the next step, but the 20-year-old can play a feisty game that should endear him to the Flyers. Acquired from Carolina in January, 2013, Mark Alt is defenceman with good size and physical game who had a solid first pro season, during which he saw power play time and played a big role in the AHL. A second-round pick in 2012, Anthony Stolarz has posted a .924 save percentage in 55 OHL games since leaving Nebraska-Omaha. At 6-foot-6, Stolarz has prototypical size, yet hes a 20-year-old goaltender so its likely to take some time before hes ready to mount a challenge for an NHL job. Drafted in the second round last summer, Robert Hagg is a steady defensive defenceman who joined Adirondack late last season after a solid season in the Swedish Hockey League. He could use time to develop, but Hagg holds promise as a well-rounded blueliner. Undrafted winger Jason Akeson has forced his way into consideration for a spot with the Flyers, after scoring 172 points in 208 AHL games over the past three seasons. He took a regular spot in the Flyers top nine in the first round of the playoffs, and had respectable possession stats to show for it. Power forward Tye McGinn was a fourth-round pick in 2010. Hes scored seven goals and 10 points in 36 NHL games since, and had 34 goals and 61 points in 100 AHL games over the past couple seasons. A fourth-round pick in 2012, Taylor Leier is a skilled two-way forward who plays on a powerhouse Portland team and has improved steadily over three WHL seasons. Signed as a free agent after he failed to come to terms with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Petr Straka has some offensive upside and was okay in his first pro season. Hell need to produce more to warrant further promotion. Undrafted out of the Western Hockey League, Brandon Manning is making it hard to ignore his contributions, racking up penalty minutes to go with improving point totals. Flyers advanced stats and player usage chart from Extra Skater DRAFT17th - Dylan Larkin, Alex Tuch, Josh Ho-Sang. FREE AGENCYAccording to www.capgeek.com, the Flyers have approximately $59.6M committed to the 2014-2015 salary cap for 16 players. Check out my possible Flyers lineup for next season on Cap Geek here. Needs: One top nine forward, depth forwards, one top pair defenceman, depth defencemen, backup goaltender.What I said the Flyers needed last year: One top six forward, one top four defenceman, goaltender.They added: Vincent Lecavalier, Michael Raffl, Mark Streit, Ray Emery. TRADE MARKETVincent Lecavalier, Brayden Schenn, Luke Schenn, Nicklas Grossman. Scott Cullen can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. MONTREAL -- When Lars Eller and Rene Bourque are outscoring anyone on the top line, you know that something is going right for the Montreal Canadiens. But it took until the playoffs for the Canadiens to find the balanced attack they have sought all season. Getting offensive production from all four forward lines has helped them win the opening three games of their first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. They can sweep the best-of-seven series with a win on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. "Thats a big strength," Eller said Monday. "I cant stress how important it is to have everybody involved, everybody contributing." Players who underachieved on attack all season, notably Eller and Bourque, have found new life in the post-season. It has helped the normally low-scoring Canadiens average four goals per game against the Bolts, who are missing top goaltender Ben Bishop to an arm injury. Bourque, a two-time 27-goal scorer who had a dreadful campaign of only nine goals, has three in as many games in the playoffs while playing left wing with centre Eller and right-winger Brian Gionta. Eller, who had 12 goals in 77 games including stretch of 24 games with only one assist, has two goals and shares the team scoring lead with four points with Brendan Gallagher and defenceman P.K. Subban. The Eller line has produced five goals, one more than Gallaghers unit with Tomas Plekanec and Brandon Prust. The top line of David Desharnais, Max Pacioretty and Thomas Vanek has scored only twice, but has combined for 29 shots in three games. The fourth line of Daniel Briere with Michael Bournival and Dale Weise has only one goal, but it was a big one as Weise scored in overtime in Game 1. "Right now we have momentum and were riding that wave," said Eller. "We knew depth was going to be important and I think a big part of why were having success is we have all four lines contributing in one way or another. "I guess the playoffs are just bringing out the best in all of us." The Lightning are aware they have dug themselves a deep hole. Only three teams have ever come back from a three-game deficit to win an NHL playoff series, most recently the Philadelphia Flyers against Boston in the second round in 2010. The Canadiens are 31-0 when holding a 3-0 lead. Tampa Bay had its best outing in Game 3 on Sunday night, but dropped a 3-2 decision. They thought they had a 2-1 lead in the second period, but Ryan Callahans goal was waived off due to Alex Killorns incidental contact on goalie Carey Price. "That was obviously a tough one to swallow," said Lightning star Steven Stamkos. "A couple of calls didnt go our way. "We cant dwell on it now. We realize the situation were in. We just have to win one game. Our backs are against the wall. Im pretty sure youre going to see a good effort from us. Thats our motto right now: Just win one, then lets go back home and see what happens." Some wondered if Stamkos would be fit to play after taking an accidental knee to the head from Caanadiens defenceman Alexei Emelin late in the second period.dddddddddddd. He returned for the third, but admitted later he took a major whack to the head. "I feel pretty good so, yeah, Im expecting to play," he said. "I got tangled up with Prust there and slid in. "I dont think Emelin saw me and I got a pretty good knee to the head. Now that I saw it, I dont think there was any intention or anything. It was just kind of a play that happens in a game." Emelin and his defence partner Andrei Markov were given a day off as the Canadiens held a short practice at their suburban training centre at the same time the Lightning skated at the Bell Centre. The talk was mostly about how all four Montreal lines have played well in the series, which is a surprise on a team whose first unit carried the attack for much of the season. After Vanek was acquired at the NHL trade deadline, he, Pacioretty and Desharnais produced 20 goals in the last 18 games of the regular season. "Im not surprised," said coach Michel Therrien. "We have to play well as a team defensively and that includes our forwards and our defence. "We have to stick to our structure, stick to the game plan. This is when were at our best offensively. When we start running around, thats when we get in trouble. But a lot of credit goes to the players. They stick to the game plan and they believe in it. And they have a lot of fun to play in that structure because they get results." Montreals only area of concern is special teams. The power play that went 0-for-23 over the final eight regular season games has only one goal in 11 chances in the playoffs. They spent the time leading up to the series working on the power play, but it continues to struggle. "The only thing we need to improve on is the power play," said Vanek. "We got some good chances again, but weve got to start burying our chances. Its something Im sure well address and get better at." The Lightning have two goals on six chances against Montreals penalty killing, which was fourth best in the league in the regular season. So far, the Canadiens have done enough at even strength to beat coach Jon Coopers young Lightning. Now they hope to end it in four games. As teams have always done in that situation, the Canadiens told each other the fourth win in the hardest to get. "The first three were pretty tough, too," said Vanek. "Cliches are cliches. We enjoyed the win. Everyone felt good about it. Todays a new day. Well get back to work and hopefully we can close it out." Coopers message was much the same -- just win the next one. "Im not going to throw out all the cliches and lets win one for the Gipper and all those little kinds of things," he said. "The reality is you cant win a series in one game. "I truly believe theres not much more wrong that can go against us. At some point karmas going to come around and we just need it for one night. All of a sudden you just gotta win one and you win that one and everybodys back on a plane. Who knows what happens after that?" Cheap Jerseys 2020 Discount Jerseys NFL Jerseys Cheap Discount NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Throwback Jerseys Discount NFL Jerseys ' ' '

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By miaowang123
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