The start of a new season brings with it countless questions for all 30 teams.
Some questions will be answered right away while others may take all season or even longer. In Philadelphia, the Flyers are no different.
Without further ado, here are five questions facing the Flyers this 2013-14 season.
(There will be pressure on the Flyers forwards to score this season, including a repeat performance from Jakub Voracek [front] and a break out season from Matt Read [back]. 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)
In a freak golfing accident, Flyers captain Claude Giroux underwent successful surgery on his right index finger. His golf club shattered, tearing his extensor tendon, according to a statement by GM Paul Holmgren. No bones were broken.
With the NHL announcing that its players will officially compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Finland, invites to orientation camps have been announced the past couple days.
Today, the first Flyer has been announced to earning an invite. Flyers captain Claude Giroux is one of 25 forwards invited to the Canadian Orientation Camp.
This is the first of said honors to Giroux, who is a heavy favorite to make the team. Giroux, 25, is coming off a 48-point season in which he scored 13 goals and added 35 assists in 48 games for the Flyers in 2013.
Giroux has established himself as one of the top players in the NHL, recently earning a brand new 8-year, $66.2 million extension from the Flyers.
The man who once wore a #4 on his sweater will have to add a zero, as the retired Barry Ashbee holds permanent claim to that number.
Though Vincent Lecavalier will have to add a zero to his jersey, leading him to don a #40 jersey with the Flyers, Philadelphia did not get a zero as they landed the top free agent of the offseason. After inking a five-year, $22.5 million contract to play for the Flyers, the 33-year-old Lecavalier will bring the perfect combination of scoring and a veteran presence to a young Flyers team seeking a direction.
“I’m really excited," Lecavalier said. "Obviously everything came pretty quickly. I was part of an organization for 14 years so it was a tough few days. But after I talked to [head coach Peter Laviolette] and [general manager Paul Holmgren], I really liked what they have to say and where the organization is going. So that made my decision a lot easier.”
Lecavalier was bought-out by the Tampa Bay Lightning, a shock to the NHL. His buyout of $30 million over 14 years broke an NHL record that Ilya Bryzgalov held for only a few hours.
The Flyers have officially extended the contract of their captain, Claude Giroux.
Reported by ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, Giroux has been extended to an 8-year, $66.2 million deal. The deal carries an AAV of $8.275 million until 2022-23 (starts during the 2014-15 season).
“I’m very excited," Giroux said in a conference call. "I’ve been able to play with the organization for five years… it’s been unbelievable, the fans are always expecting great things. So just to be a part of that, it’s a really great feeling.”
Giroux also added that there is some pressure with an 8-year deal, the largest for a Flyers captain. But he is excited for the new challenge of being the face of the organization.
On Tuesday, the rumor mill concerning the Philadelphia Flyers blew up.
Not only was it confirmed by ESPN's Pierre LeBrun that forward Danny Briere would be bought out, but conflicting reports about goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov's security with the team surfaced, as well as trade rumors involving Anaheim's Bobby Ryan and Los Angeles' Jonathan Bernier also came to the forefront.
Talk about a crazy day.
All of this coming on the heels of a reported deal struck with the New York Islanders to acquire their former captain Mark Streit. Streit signed a bloated four year pact worth a grand total of $22 million. Following that deal, it signaled change. There is writing on the wall...but for whom?
If, for example, both Briere and Bryzgalov are bought out, that unlocks about $12 million in cap space. The Flyers are currently above the new cap ceiling of $64 million by $7 million. These moves would not afford a ton of room, but it would at least be something.
The storyline couldn't have been drawn up any more perfect for Flyers prospect Jason Akeson.
Playing in his home town, Akeson made his NHL debut in the final game of the 2013 season, a 2-1 win for the Flyers against the Ottawa Senators. What made the moment even more sweet for Akeson was the fact he scored his first NHL goal in that game as well.
“Just playing in an NHL game was something special; something I’ll always remember,” Akeson said. “And to score a goal, it makes it that much more special.”
Just three minutes and 46 seconds into the game, Akeson found the back of the net, scoring the game's first goal. It was just the second shift of his NHL career.
(Photo: Jake Akeson holds up his 1st NHL goal puck. Photo courtesy of the Flyers Facebook/Twitter page)