Early Stock Watch for Philadelphia Flyers' Top Stars in 2013-14

Dan Fremuth@@hometownphanContributor IIIOctober 23, 2013

Early Stock Watch for Philadelphia Flyers' Top Stars in 2013-14

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    The Philadelphia Flyers are off to their worst start in franchise history.

    At 1-7, the Flyers have claimed just two of a possible 16 points in the standings and sit dead last in not only the Eastern Conference but the entire NHL.

    Peter Laviolette was ousted after just three games, but the team has won just one of five games since under new head coach Craig Berube.

    Just about everyone in the Flyers organization is to blame for the team's slow start, but hope remains that there's still time to turn things around.

    But if that turnaround is to happen, it will have to be the team's stars who lead the charge.

    Here's an early stock watch for Philadelphia's top stars.

Claude Giroux

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    Philadelphia's captain began the season without a point in each of his first five games.

    That's the second-longest scoring drought of Giroux's career and longest stretch without a point since March 2010.

    The Hearst, Ontario native is still looking for his first goal of the season but at least enters the week having registered a point in three consecutive contests.

    He's tied for second among all Flyers with 18 shots on goal and appears poised to return to his superstar status any day now.

    After a start to forget, things can only improve from here on out for Giroux.

    Stock: Rising

Vincent Lecavalier

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    Lecavalier was probably Philadelphia's best player before missing the last three games with a lower-body injury.

    In five games, the former Tampa Bay Lightning captain managed a goal and three points while providing the team's most consistent offensive presence.

    Despite only playing in five of the team's first eight games, Lecavalier is still tied for second on the team in scoring and tied for seventh among all Flyers with 11 shots on goal.

    Philly has dropped three straight games without the 6'4", 208-pound veteran forward in the lineup, so the Flyers will be thrilled to get Lecavalier back for Thursday's showdown with the New York Rangers.

    Stock: Rising

Scott Hartnell

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    After managing just eight goals in an injury-shortened 32 games last season, Hartnell was hoping to get back on track this year.

    Unfortunately, through the first three weeks of the season, that hasn't at all been the case.

    Hartnell is still without a point through his first five games and missed each of the last three outings with a lower-body injury. While Lecavalier is making progress with his injury and should return as early as Thursday, Hartnell hasn't been quite so fortunate.

    Questions are now starting to arise as to whether Hartnell can ever return to the form that saw him produce 37 goals just two years ago. If he can't, the Flyers are going to start to have serious regrets about the six-year, $28.5 million extension they signed Hartnell to last season.

    Stock: Falling

Jake Voracek

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    Like his fellow front-line forwards, Voracek has had a brutally slow start to the 2013-14 season.

    After failing to produce a point in each of his first four games, Voracek has managed an assist in three of his last four outings but is still in search of his first goal of the season.

    The 24-year-old winger produced a career-high 22 goals in just 48 games last season but has managed just 11 shots through his first eight contests this year. It's hard to finish scoring chances if they aren't there in the first place.

    As with Giroux, it's hard to imagine the production won't come for Voracek sooner rather than later. Still, it will be tough sledding for the Orange and Black until it does.

    Stock: Steady

Brayden Schenn

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    In his third full NHL season, Brayden Schenn needed a breakout campaign. So far, he's off to a pretty good start.

    The 22-year-old Schenn currently leads all Flyers in scoring with five points and is one of just two players on Philadelphia's roster with more than just a single goal. He's currently pacing all Flyers with three power-play points (goal, two assists) and is second on the team with 18 shots on goal.

    Schenn tallied both Philadelphia's first goal overall this season and the first marker under new head coach Craig Berube. He's managed a point in five of Philly's eight games so far and hasn't gone back-to-back contests without a point this season.

    Schenn will need to continue his consistent production if the Flyers harbor any hope of climbing out of the Eastern Conference cellar.

    Stock: Rising

Kimmo Timonen

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    Timonen has led Flyers defensemen in scoring in four of the last six seasons and has finished in the top two among Philadelphia blueliners in each of his six seasons in the City of Brotherly Love.

    That run appears to be heading to an end this year, though.

    Through Philly's first eight games, Timonen is one of just two Flyers defensemen who has yet to register a single point. Andrej Meszaros, who has played in just five games, is the other, while Timonen has dressed in all eight of Philadelphia's tilts so far.

    The 38-year-old defender looks a step slow and clearly is in the midst of the twilight of his NHL career.

    Timonen is currently playing through a one-year, $6 million agreement with the Flyers—in all likelihood, his final campaign with the Orange and Black.

    Stock: Falling

Steve Mason

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    There can be little argument that Mason has been Philadelphia's best player through the team's tumultuous opening three weeks.

    Despite the Flyers failing to score more than two goals in any of their eight contests to date, Mason has given them an opportunity to win in each of his six starts.

    His 1-5 record isn't at all indicative of his play so far. What's more telling is the 2.37 goals-against average and .923 save percentage Mason has compiled through the season's first three weeks.

    The 25-year-old netminder has already recorded four 30-plus save performances in just six appearances.

    And of course, all of this amidst a coaching change, a patchwork defense and a lackluster team-defensive approach at times.

    Mason is currently operating under a one-year contract but is certainly making his case for a long-term deal before season's end.

    Stock: Rising