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)
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)
Jakub Voracek needed to give the team one last reminder why they chose him as their MVP of the 2013 season.
At the halfway point of the third period, Voracek beat Senators goalie Craig Anderson to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead and eventual win in Ottawa. It was the final game of the season in which they ended on a four-game winning streak.
The goal, combined with one last impressive effort from goalie Steve Mason, set up the victory, giving the Flyers some joy heading into a playoff-less off season.
The Flyers found themselves in a tough position this past offseason, and that was whether to re-sign Jaromir Jagr or not.
The cons of bringing back the 41-year-old right winger out-weighed the pros for the Flyers front office at the time and the decided to part ways with the future Hall of Famer. They were concerned about his age and health during another long season, two factors the Flyers saw first-hand during the 2011-12 season.
Unfortunately for them, they made their decision before it was known there would be a 48-game season as opposed to the normal 82-game schedule due to a lockout and it may have cost the Flyers big time.
Jagr made his decision where to go in the off season, signing with the Dallas Stars for a one-year, $4.55 million back in July, well before it was even known what fate the 2012-2013 season would have.
(Pictured: Jaromir Jagr during warm-ups before a game against the Devils on April 10. Photo by Mike Ashmore)
Teams destined to miss the playoffs put on 60 minutes of hockey devoid of defense and chock full of a dominant performance by winger Wayne Simmonds in a 5-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.
18 shots in the first period for the Flyers proved the insignificant defensive pressure by the Hurricanes. In fact, Jakub Voracek almost scored within the first 10 seconds of the game forcing starter Justin Peters had to make a desperate save to keep the puck from crossing the goal line.