3 Philadelphia Flyers Set for Breakout Campaigns in 2013-14 Season
If the pattern continues, the Philadelphia Flyers will enjoy a breakout campaign from a young forward in the 2013-2014 season.
In each of the past two seasons, the Philadelphia Flyers have had a breakout season from a young forward. For the 2011-12 season, it was Claude Giroux, who made the leap to superstar status.
Then during the lockout-shortened 2013 season, Jakub Voracek took a major step forward and could rival Giroux from a production standpoint in the future.
But the Flyers are a team full of talented young forwards, and there are a few others who are primed to follow in Giroux and Voracek's footsteps and break out in the upcoming season.
I considered a few defensemen for this list, including Erik Gustafsson and Luke Schenn, but I don't see either player approaching "elite" status next season.
Just a few years removed from being one of the best prospects in all of hockey, Brayden Schenn should be ready to finally fulfill his potential next season.
During the 2011-12 season, his first as a Flyer, Schenn suffered from injuries and didn't settle into the lineup until the second half of the season. He then had a great playoffs performance, and everyone was excited about the energetic center.
But then the lockout messed with the offseason and caused an extremely abbreviated preseason, so Schenn's development was undoubtedly hindered.
He was still fifth on the team in scoring and had an overall solid sophomore campaign, and he now looks primed to put it all together with a normal offseason and come roaring into this fall.
Wayne Simmonds could develop into a sort of "underground" superstar if he continues growing as an all-around player.
Simmonds played three fewer games than Giroux and Voracek but still came in third on the team in points and scored three more goals than Giroux.
His ability to work in front of the net, coupled with his speed, tenacity and energy, make him an extremely valuable asset who can score while still getting under opponents' skin.
Simmonds' multi-talented game shone through this season, including a week when he had two Gordie Howe hat tricks (a goal, assist and fight in a game).
If Simmonds can continue bringing energy to his team while mixing it up with opponents and scoring goals at a high rate in 2013-14, he will establish himself as one of the best power forwards in the NHL.
After playing a few games with the Flyers at the beginning of this season, many fans were calling for Scott Laughton to be kept with the club after his impressive play.
But the Flyers did the right thing and delayed Laughton's free-agent eligibility a year, sending him back to his OHL team, the Oshawa Generals.
Laughton went on to score 23 goals and register 33 assists in 49 games and added seven goals in seven playoff games this spring.
He will definitely be a full starter on the Flyers in 2013 and could get a lot of ice time right off the bat. He may not turn into a big star, but he has the potential to become a well-known name in hockey circles if he plays well.