The Flyers season is over. We fans went on a long ride through a short amount of time. 48 games in fewer than 100 days. Blood, sweat, tears, injuries and fatigue plagued this 2013 Flyers team from the start of the season. But, let’s not forget, the Flyers gave us plenty of memories from this year.
Here is my three-part season in review looking back at the Good, the bad, and the Ugly.
Jakub Voracek Steps Out: In similar fashion to Scott Hartnell the year before, Voracek started slowly, but finished the season strong. Voracek coming off a four-year contract extension, set a career high in goals, while he was just shy of a point-per-game pace. Voracek has no reason not to continue to grow and continue to be a top-line player. I don’t see a ceiling on young “Animal.”
Wayne Simmonds and Matt Read: Both young men playing in their second year in Philadelphia continue to develop into strong role players with a solid presence all over the ice. Simmonds personifies what it means to be a Flyer with his “grind it out” mentality and his belief in sticking up for his teammates. Read, sans injury, continues to play in each phase of the game and provides a scoring touch.
Luke Schenn: Yup, I said it. One of his harshest critics from the beginning of the season, Schenn has started to make me a believer. Playing with Kimmo Timonen allowed Schenn to learn the game from a true professional. Schenn started the season convinced that the big hit was the only way to play. Often, Schenn would be out of position for going for such a hit. By the end of the season, Schenn would become the defenses most consistent performer and missed only one game due to the flu.
Steve Mason: I don’t hide it, I’m a Mason fan, just as I was a Michael Leighton fan. And no, this is not because of the “Philadelphia backup goalie syndrome.” I was a Mason fan in Columbus, and although it was obvious he lost his confidence, he still had talent. He is the typical story of a player needing a change of scenery. Mason looked great in starting six of the final ten games for the Flyers. Mason comes in to the picture next year ready to challenge incumbent Ilya Bryzgalov (more on him later…) for starts next year (and yes, I believe Bryz will be back).
The Phantoms: The kids came up and played. And they played well. Eric Gustafsson, Oliver Lauridsen, Tye McGinn, Brandon Manning, and Jason Akeson (for one game). The kids showed that they could play at the NHL level. Sure, none of them are “elite” prospects, but the future does not look nearly as bleak.
The Captain: I love Claude Giroux. Always have, always will, but I did not believe he was ready to wear the “C.” I believed, and still do to this day, that although Giroux led the team, giving him the C too early would be detrimental. And it was. Giroux struggled to open the season, and showed his frustration at his lack of offense and inability to get calls. As the season wore on, Giroux learned how to become a captain and ended the season on a point-per game pace. Although Giroux may not be happy with how the season finished, he still continues to make a positive jump.
Next week, we look at the Bad of the Flyers season.