Flyers Faithful asked Dave Isaac from Philly Sports Daily, Ryan from Flyers Goal Scored By…, Anthony Mingioni from The Hockey Guys, Center Ice Philly, and Sportsology, and our very own Frick five questions about the first half of the season. We are very grateful that they took the time to share their opinions and predictions with us. Each day of this week, we will run the answers to one of those questions. Today’s question is:
What can we expect from the new-look Flyers in the first half of the season?
Dave Isaac: In the first half of the season, we’re going to see a lot of changes. Considering how many new players the Flyers have, chances are Peter Laviolette isn’t going to guess right the first time when he puts his lines together. He’s largely thrown combinations out the window in preseason games and has been assessing the chemistry in drills at practice. The only mainstay will be Ilya Bryzgalov between the pipes.
Ryan: Fully functional big butt domination in the form of Jaromir Jagr and Jake Voracek. I think these two guys in particular are going to be putting the biscuit in the basket, and when they’re not doing it themselves they’ll be dishing tap-ins to their line mates. Jagr obviously has a lot to prove and Voracek is going to want to get PAID this summer so it’s time for him to make the transition from a 50 point guy to a 70 point guy, and he’ll do that with a quick start this Fall.
Anthony Mingioni: My initial read before camp started would have been that they would be slow out of the gate and that they would start to “gel” by mid-season. I wouldn’t be surprised if that occurs, but from what I’ve observed so far in camp, they seem to be coming together faster than anticipated so they might surprise and start off well. Therefore, based on what I’m seeing versus what I anticipated, they play well initially before facing some adversity by late November and then the true test for this team’s structure and make up begins.
Frick: I think there will be some growing pains, especially with this many new-to-the-team forwards (there are no forward lines intact from last year). I think it will take some time to find chemistry with each other, and time to find the right line combinations. On defense, they may struggle if Pronger misses any length of time while recovering from injury (or if one of the other big four go down). It will also be interesting to see how Bryzgalov deals with the pressure here, as it will be a major culture change from Phoenix.