The Philadelphia Flyers will have quite the balance of experience and youth on their blue line this season.
With players ranging from 23 years-old all the way to 38, the mix of veteran prowess and future promise hopes to be the perfect combination for a turnaround season.
One of the more controversial contracts this year is that of 38-year-old Kimmo Timonen.
Timonen’s one-year, $6 million deal can easily be considered a mistake when given to someone his age, but what Timonen brings to the table every season is irreplaceable. While his game may not be the same as it was three years ago, he can still be argued as the best defenseman in Philadelphia.
(Photo: Kimmo Timonen (front) is the unquestioned leader of the unit whereas Luke Schenn (back) is the future. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
In sports, the phrase "injuries are part of the game" is used quite often. However, the popular phrase took on a whole new meaning for the Philadelphia Flyers during the shortened 2012-2013 regular season.
To put things into perspective, the Flyers lost 264 man games to injury or illness.
Some things were known heading into the season such the fact that defenseman Chris Pronger wouldn't see any action as he recovers from a concussion. The Flyers didn't have quite as much depth at the forward position as they did the season prior.
(Scott Hartnell. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
History has a tendency to repeat itself, especially in the sports world.
Three years removed from making history, one Maple Leafs winger finds himself in a similar position, one he was in when he was a member of the Philadelphia Flyers during the 2010 post season.
Ironically enough, James van Riemsdyk is looking to fuel another comeback against the Boston Bruins. Though the Leafs have started their comeback being down 3-1 in the series as opposed to the steep hole the Flyers faced in the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals when down 3-0 to the Bruins, the same mantra goes for Toronto: one game at ...
Since dealing two of the franchise's most prominent stars of the 2000's, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, it seems the Philadelphia fan base has surgically dissected every single move made by the Flyers front office.
The two most scrutinized moves in the past two years though are the dealings of young stars James van Riemsdyk and Sergei Bobrovsky. To be fair, the former was an even trade that benefited both the Flyers, who got Luke Schenn, and the Maple Leafs, who landed the scorer in van Riemsdyk.
As for the latter, Bobrovsky was traded this past offseason to the Columbus Blue Jackets where he won the starting job over now-current Flyers back-up goaltender Steve Mason. After turning the Blue Jackets around and nearly making the post season, Bobrovsky is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league's best goaltender.
(Pictured: Serge Bobrovsky against the Stars on April 25, 2013. Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
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.
Playing the latter of a grueling back-to-back, the Flyers overcame a late surge by a good Toronto Maple Leafs team, holding on to win 5-3 Thursday night. It was their fourth straight win and earned them two huge points in the standings.
Sean Couturier had a fantastic game. He was all over the ice, notching a pair of assists and seemingly looked like he was always out there despite playing just over 13 minutes.
(Pictured: Kimmo Timonen and Sean Couturier take out Mikhail Grabovski in the 2nd period. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)