Way-Too-Early Grades for New Philadelphia Flyers

Dan Fremuth@@hometownphanContributor IIIOctober 14, 2013

Way-Too-Early Grades for New Philadelphia Flyers

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    It's been a start to forget for the Philadelphia Flyers.

    13 days into the 2013-2014 season, the Orange and Black are a woefully disappointing 1-5 while having managed just eight goals through the team's first six outings.

    Peter Laviolette was ousted after just three games leaving one of the proudest franchises in the NHL still searching for answers.

    After failing to qualify for the playoffs last season, the Flyers reloaded this summer with a trio of key additions looking to re-establish themselves among the league's elite.

    It's far too early to know if the acquisitions were worth it but here are the way-too-early grades for the three newest Philadelphia Flyers.

Vincent Lecavalier

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    Grade: B+

    The prize of this summer's free agent class, Lecavalier landed in Philly after a compliance buyout from the Tampa Bay Lightning and subsequent five-year, $22.5 million agreement with the Flyers.

    The 33-year-old forward was brought into the City of Brotherly Love to replace fellow buyout Danny Briere as the team's number two center. So far, the returns for the 14-year NHL veteran have been fairly promising.

    After five games, Lecavalier is second on the team in scoring with three points and is tied for the club lead with two assists. Generally speaking, those are modest totals but relative to the rest of Philadelphia's lineup, the Quebec native's production is quite encouraging.

    Lecavalier set up the Flyers' first goal of the season with a tremendous power move behind the Toronto net before delivering a perfect saucer pass to Brayden Schenn in the slot for the conversion. He then pumped in one of Philadelphia's two power play goals on the season in a 4-1 setback at Montreal.

    On a team riddled with consistency issues, Lecavalier's effort hasn't wavered from one shift to the next. What's more, he's used his 6'4", 208-pound frame to help create space for his linemates while providing a physical presence for a team starved for some sort of intensity.

    Unfortunately, that intensity may have cost Lecavalier as he left Friday's contest with the Phoenix Coyotes after just under 13 minutes of ice-time with a lower body injury and is expected to miss at least a week of action.

Mark Streit

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    Grade: C

    The Flyers thought so highly of Streit over the summer that the team was willing to trade a player (Shane Harper) and its fourth round pick in the 2014 draft to the New York Islanders for exclusive negotiating rights just a week before the highly sought after defenseman was set to become a free agent.

    As it turns out, the 35-year-old defenseman never did hit the open market as he and the Orange and Black were able to come to terms on a four-year, $21 million agreement.

    Philadelphia struggled mightily a season ago breaking pucks out of its own end and creating offense from its defense. Streit was brought in to help fix that and so far, has filled in respectably.

    Through the team's first six games, the Switzerland native leads all Flyers' defensemen in scoring with two points. Both of those points have come on the power play where Streit should thrive as the season moves along. What's more, he's currently tied for fifth on the team and is first among all Philadelphia blueliners with 11 shots on goal.

    Meanwhile, the former Islanders captain ranks third among Philly defenders in ice time averaging just over 20 minutes per outing.

    Unfortunately, Streit's offensive contributions can't entirely mask certain deficiencies in the defensive end.

    At 5'11", 190 pounds, Streit is a relatively undersized defenseman and doesn't provide much in the way of physical intimidation for the opposition. What's worse, he currently ranks dead last on Philadelphia's roster with a minus-four rating.

Ray Emery

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    Grade: D

    Ray Emery has already lost more games this season through two weeks than he did all of last year.

    It's true that at 17-1 a year ago, Emery had a season to remember. Still, he's off to an awfully rough start in his return to Philadelphia.

    Emery and Steve Mason entered the season in the midst of one-year contracts and were expected to battle for crease minutes throughout the year. So far, their production has been at opposite ends of the spectrum.

    Mason's 1-3 record doesn't do him justice as he's compiled a 2.02 goals-against average coupled with a sparkling .935 save percentage through his first four starts. He's already turned in two 30-plus save performances while giving the Flyers a chance to win each and every night despite their offensive ineptitude.

    Meanwhile, Emery has scuffled to an 0-2 start while producing a pedestrian 4.04 goals-against average to go along with a below-average .873 save percentage.

    Though he certainly hasn't received much support in front of him either offensively or defensively, the Hamilton, Ontario has still surrendered four goals against in each of his first two starts and managed just 25 saves in a 5-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in the team's most recent outing.

    Emery has already been guilty of surrendering goals on scoring opportunities he should have stopped and will need to tighten up his play if he's to push Mason for minutes moving forward.