Back when Flyers centers Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were dealt to Los Angeles, it was to clear an overabundance at the center position to bring in true, talented wingers.
Those trades hauled in two very important wingers in Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds, setting the stage towards finding legitimate, true wingers.
While there may not be a significant amount of transition from last year to this year in terms of wingers, losing veteran returners Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble to free agency opened two spots for the Flyers' youth to earn.
Many of the incumbent wingers will be wearing orange and black for the next several seasons.
(Photo: Flyers RW Jakub Voracek has a lot to smile about heading into this season, including being a top-line winger on a high-scoring team. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
The Philadelphia Flyers may have one of the deepest center combinations in the entire National Hockey League.
Captain Claude Giroux had a “subpar” lockout shortened year, but still registered 48 points in just as many games. Giroux is just a year removed from a career-high of 28 goals, 93 points and it would not be out of the realm of possibility that he eclipses both this season.
With more players able to play the penalty kill, it seems likely that Giroux will get less time on the PK, opening him up to doing what he does best: playmaking.
(Photo: Flyers captain Claude Giroux will man the top line again this season. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
Just one day after buying out Ilya Bryzgalov, the Philadelphia Flyers are already being linked to a netminder that could replace Bryzgalov.
According to Josh Rimer of Sportsnet, the Flyers are discussing a potential deal involving Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller. It is unclear what stage the talks are currently in but it appears that there is significant interest from both sides.
Miller posted a 17-17-5 record with a 2.81 goals-against-average and a .915 save percentage during the 2012-2013 season. Over his career, the American goalie has a 269-164 record with a 2.59 goals-against-average and a .915 save percentage. The American netminder made $6.25 million this past season and carries a similar price tag to Bryzgalov.
Miller was the 138th overall pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft out of Michigan State and has played with the Sabres for all 11 seasons of his professional career. The former Spartan was a member of the silver medal United States team in the 2010 Winter Olympics and was the MVP of the tournament.
The Flyers came to a crossroads two offseasons ago.
They could have gone in one or two directions. One side of the path had them rebuilding the team, pushing a youth movement that would make them a dangerous contender in a couple years. The other path was the same win-now mentality the Flyers have had for the last two decades, resulting in a couple Stanley Cup berths and a handful of Conference Finals appearances.
Unfortunately, general manager Paul Holmgren tried to travel down both paths at once and wound up falling flat on his face this season.
(Photo: Wayne Simmonds (front) and Sean Couturier (back) were both a part of the youth movement. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
Flyers fans will always remember where they were on June 23, 2011 when two of the biggest trades in team history took place.
In some ways it feels like an eternity ago, while in other ways it feels like just yesterday. But forget who and what left Philadelphia that Thursday afternoon two years ago.
The only thing that still matters most today is the acquisition of the 1st round draft pick that became Sean Couturier and the acquisition of 21 year old Brayden Schenn.
The trades changed the face of the franchise, and suddenly the Flyers became a team of youth with not only two but three of the best rookies in the NHL during the 2011-12 season thanks to those trades and the slick signing of college free agent Matt Read almost exactly three months prior.
That trio of rookie forwards shined in Philadelphia throughout the 2011-12 season, and the future was looking bright. But unfortunately what happens to even the best players in the NHL after a stellar rookie season is the dreaded sophomore slump.
(Sean Couturier. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
For most of the 2013 season it seemed the bounces just weren't go the Flyers' way.
Bad bounces led to opponents' goals while they stayed out of the nets when the Flyers were on the offensive. Along with a complicated mixture of other factors, it kept the Flyers out of the post season for just the second time in the last 18 years.
That luck would finally change for the Flyers when it didn't really matter, but it felt good anyway.
In a 60-minute game for the Flyers, a minuscule seven-second window produced two goals which lead to the Flyers' eventual 5-2 win over the Bruins.
(Pictured: Matt Read during warm-ups before his game against the Bruins. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
With a horrible season coming to a close, it's time to count the positives
The easiest way to feel positive about things in the present for the Flyers is to relate them to the future. And the best way to do that is to take a look at the youth.
We are seeing Oliver Lauridsen and Erik Gustafsson get playing time, the Schenn's (Older brother Luke and younger brother Brayden) are both standing out in a good way, and Sean Couturier is taking advantage of increased ice time.
Couturier, specifically, is fantastic news. He went from a dazzling rookie to a player in a serious sophomore slump.