Philadelphia Flyers' Young Players Are Key to a Strike-Shortened Season

Michael PizzutilloCorrespondent IIIJanuary 6, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 22:  Sean Couturie #14 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 22, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers won the game 5-1 to eliminate the Penguins from the playoffs.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

If the NHL does have a season, the Philadelphia Flyers will need to lean on their younger players more than ever.

According to CBSsports’ Adam Gretz, the NHL and NHLPA are trying to negotiate a deal before the “deadline,” which is a week away. Players are anxiously awaiting a final answer on the already delayed hockey season, but must mentally prepare for the start of it.

For the Philadelphia Flyers and their aging veterans, the mental and physical strain of a short season will be their toughest task. Randy Miller of the Courier Post reported (via Mike Halford of NBCsports.com) one of the team’s older vets, Kimmo Timonen, is worried about how a compacted, 48-game season will affect his comeback from back surgery. Other healthy veterans around the league have expressed similar concern about the potential season, per NBCsports.com.

Timonen and his veteran defensive mates are extremely essential to Philadelphia's success, and to ease their pressure, the youngsters must now be the team’s driving force—specifically Luke Schenn, Nicklas Grossman and Andrej Meszaros. With the Flyers carrying six defensemen, these three players must be on the ice longer to allow the veterans fresh legs, night after night.

Offensively, the Flyers should have no problem scoring goals. Last season, the team ranked second in the league for goals scored, per NHL.com. Still, it is crucial that the younger offensive players step up their games.

Emerging players such as Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek (an average of 21 years of age) will become more valuable as they spell the veteran stars on the team.

Let’s now hope the NHL can reach a deal to see if these players are up for the challenge.