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Previewing the East: Philadelphia

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – Ready for some hockey?

Sure you are.

The Red Wings don’t open training camp until Sept. 19 in Traverse City, but over the next eight weeks's Bill Roose will preview the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference, including the Red Wings’ Atlantic Division rivals in Boston, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Florida and Buffalo. This week it's the Philadelphia Flyers:

Coach: Craig Berube

Last Year: 42-30-10, 94 points (sixth in Eastern Conference)
Detroit vs. Flyers:
5-on-5 Goals:
151 (seventh in Eastern Conference)
Power Play Efficiency:
58-for-294, 19.7 percent (fifth in Eastern Conference)

2013-14 Stats Vs. Red Wings
Player POS AGE rank GM G A PT. GM G A PT.
Claude Giroux C 26 3 82 28 58 86 3 2 4 6
Jakub Voracek RW 25 38 82 23 39 62 3 0 2 2
Wayne Simmonds RW 26 47 82 29 31 60 3 0 1 1
Scott Hartnell LW 33 78 78 20 32 52 2 3 3 6
Mark Streit D 36 120 82 10 34 44 3 0 3 3
2013-14 Stats
Goalie AGE Rank GM W L OTL GAA SV%
Steve Mason 26 9 61 33 18 7 2.50 .917
vs. Red Wings
2 2 0 0 1.50 .956

2014-15 OUTLOOK

Regular-Season Games vs. Red Wings: Oct. 25 (at PHI); Nov. 26 (at DET); Mar. 14 (at PHI).

ARRIVALS:  Forwards R.J. Umberger, Zack Stortini, Andrew Gordon; and defenseman Nick Schultz.

DEPARTURES:  Forwards Scott Hartnell, Steve Downie, Adam Hall, Kris Newbury, Ben Holmstrom; and defenseman Bruno Gervais and Hal Gill.

PLAYER TO WATCH: While Vincent Lecavalier’s statistics have steadily diminished  over the past four seasons, he says he’s confident that he can bounce back from an abysmal first year in Philadelphia after he had his enormous contact bought out by Tampa Bay last summer. The 34-year-old had some challenges, including injuries and adjusting to playing left wing, but he was more productive when he went back to center, a position he has played exclusively in 15-NHL seasons. Still, he reached the 20-goal plateau, something he has done in each of the past 13 full seasons.

SEASON SCOPE: The Flyers were near the bottom third in goals-against last season. However, up against the salary cap, the Flyers didn’t have the means to pursue a top-four defenseman in free agency to join Mark Streit and Andrew MacDonald. Their only hope was to make a trade, which they tried to make with the Florida Panthers. However, the Flyers were unable to wrangle the No. 1 overall pick when they were unwilling to surrender forward Wayne Simmonds as part of the deal that would have landed defensive prospect Aaron Ekblad in Philly. The Flyers were unable to move Lecavalier – Ottawa and Nashville were reportedly interested at one time – whose burdensome contract is worth $18 million over the next four seasons.

The Flyers will have a tough first half of the regular season with 23 of their first 39 games being played away from the Wells Fargo Center. In the past two seasons, the Flyers have won just 26 road games in regulation.

Atlantic Division Metropolitan Division
Buffalo (July 24) Carolina (Aug. 7)
Boston (sep. 11) Columbus (Aug. 21)
Florida (July 29) New Jersey (Aug. 14)
Montreal (Sep. 2) NY Islanders (July 31)
Ottawa (Aug. 12) NY Rangers (Aug. 28)
Tampa Bay (Sep. 4) Philadelphia (Aug. 26)
Toronto (Aug. 5) Pittsburgh (sep. 9)
Washington (Aug. 19)

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