Philadelphia Flyers: Why the Flyers Are Well-Suited to Handle NHL Lockout
The NHL seems poised to enter its second lockout of the last ten years, as the owners and players seem very far away in negotiations.
There's no question that a lockout would hurt the NHL very badly, you only need to look back to the first seasons after the 2004-2005 lockout to see that, but some teams are in a better position to handle a work stoppage.
But other teams, such as the Philadelphia Flyers, are in a strong position in regards to finances and roster composition to endure a lockout.
The obvious advantage the Flyers have over other NHL teams is the fan base. They'll lose some of the fans they've picked up since their magical 2010 playoff run to the Stanley Cup Finals, but the majority of their fans will come back.
The Flyers are also pretty well off financially, having been able to spend as much as the salary cap would allow on free agents every year and never struggling to sell merchandise or tickets. A lockout will not push this team to the edge of bankruptcy, which is a legitimate concern to some smaller market teams.
But those advantages are obvious and are shared by pretty much every big market team.
The advantage the Flyers' roster allows is not. The Flyers are young, they don't need to worry about star players losing a year of their prime as much as teams whose major pieces are in their 30's, and another season to mature is probably necessary before this team is ready to be an elite contender.
An NHL lockout will hurt the development of almost every team, but the Flyers can mitigate that a bit. Their two most important developing players, Brayden Schenn and Sean Courtier, can play in the AHL without issue thanks to their two-way contracts.
That will help both of them gain confidence and continue their conditioning, which will serve them well when the NHL returns.
Most of the other players on the team just need some time to get healthy. Kimmo Timonen, Danny Briere, and Nick Grossman will all appreciate time to rest given the abuse their bodies have taken over the course of their career.
Last, but certainly not least, a lockout will give goalie Ilya Bryzgalov a chance to play in the KHL a little bit. That could be good for him, as it keeps him away from Flyers fans a little longer and should build his confidence back up.
If he can forget his issues with the fan base that could go a long way towards helping him recover his mental game, which is the key to his success.
An NHL lockout will hurt the league and all 30 teams, but Flyers fans shouldn't be as worried about the effects on their club.
They can focus on waiting for hockey to return without wondering about the lasting injuries it could inflict on the team.
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