If the Philadelphia Flyers are going to at least match last year's regular season out put (103 points, third most goals in NHL), they will have to count on their young players to take the "next step" in their progression from potential to production.
After losing Jaromir Jagr (third on team with 54 points) and Matt Carle (34 assists, plus-4) to free agency, Andrej Meszaros to an Achilles injury, James van Riemsdyk in a trade to Toronto and failing to sign Zach Parise, Ryan Suter or Shea Weber despite approximately $310 million in contract offers, the progression of the Flyguys' prospects will be paramount to the team's success.
But some of the veterans will need to step up as well. The Rangers got better. The Penguins are still the Penguins. The Devils may have lost their heart and soul in Parise, but that does not negate the fact New Jersey represented the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals just a few short months ago.
Danny Briere will need to improve on a disappointing 2011-12 regular season.
Scott Hartnell will have to continue to his production level as one of the league's premiere power forwards.
Kimmo Timonen will absolutely need to stay healthy to provide stability to a blue line with more questions than answers.
But those are givens.
Now, let's run through the five players who need to have the best seasons of their careers to give the Flyers a shot at competing for division and conference titles.