More than likely, they’re actually a team built not for the regular season, but for the playoffs. In the playoffs, you can hit a team until they wear down. And when they start wearing down, you can take advantage, grab momentum and the series. In the regular season, because you play a different team every other night, you can’t wear them down.
Plus, it always helps when your goalies get hot at the right time.
And that’s what the Flyers did last year, but this season will be different. There will be no struggle to make the playoffs this year.
Best offseason move: Signing Nikolai Zherdev. Needing to fill an offensive void left by the trading of Simon Gagne, the Flyers signed Zherdev to a one-year, $2 million deal. Although he spent last year in the KHL, Zherdev had seasons of 58 and 61 points the two NHL seasons before that. If he can come close to those numbers, then this was a smart deal. If he doesn’t, then it was a one-season thing, and the Flyers don’t need to worry about investing more money into him.
Worst offseason move: Trading for Andrej Meszaros. The Flyers may be hoping that Meszaros can recreate his time in Ottawa, when he was a consistent 35-plus points guy. But Meszaros benefitted from good time, playing with a Sens team where a lot of players reached their peak at the same time (and helped by the Alfredsson-Spezza-Heatley line). He won’t come close to those numbers again.
Dark horse trophy candidate: Jeff Carter for the Lady Byng
Pool pick: Nikolai Zherdev. As stated above, when he plays in the NHL, he gets points. Expect him to finish with about 60 points. Who to stay away from: Ville Leino. Yes, he had a great playoffs. But that doesn’t help you this season. Leino had 11 points in 55 games with the Red Wings and Flyers last year. Don’t count on him in your pool.
Sporcle quiz: Team quiz
Best hall of fame choice: Chris Pronger. Pronger has pretty much done it all in the defencemen world of hockey. He’s won a Norris trophy, a Stanley Cup, a Hart trophy, two Olympic gold medals, one world juniors gold, one world championships gold and six all-star games. Sure, he’s not as offensively flashy as many hall of famers, such as Ray Bourque or Al MacInnis, but Pronger is a leader on the ice and in the dressing room. And if he doesn’t make it in, expect an elbow to the head of the selection committee members.
Blog to follow: Broad Street Hockey
My Prediction: Third in the Atlantic, sixth in the East.
Famous celebrity from that city: Kelly Monaco