New Year's Resolutions for the 2013-14 Philadelphia Flyers
Happy New Year, everybody. As we begin 2014, the Philadelphia Flyers are no different than the rest of us: There are things about the team that the management, coaches and players want to improve and work on over the new year.
Here is a list of New Year's resolutions that the Flyers should be making as we begin 2014. Keep in mind these things may not actually be implemented or even attempted, but these are things the team should be concerned about.
Feel free to comment on any of these resolutions, or feel free to add some of your own. As always, state why you feel the way you do.
5. Stay Healthy
It's easier said than done, but the Flyers need to stay healthy if they hope to make the playoffs this year, let alone make a long run once they get there.
Vincent Lecavalier and Steve Downie have been the two players who have missed the most time so far (if you don't count Chris Pronger).
While the Flyers do have some depth, they need their key players to stay healthy. The race in the Metropolitan Division is going to be closely contested for the rest of the season. Losing Lecavalier, Claude Giroux, Downie or worse yet Steve Mason for an extended period of time could be decimating for the team.
Injuries are a part of any physical sport like hockey, but avoiding major injuries is a worthwhile resolution for the Flyers if they hope to make this season special.
4. Eliminate Some of the Glut at Center
Philadelphia's roster is full of natural centers. The Flyers have Lecavalier, Giroux, Sean Couturier, Matt Read and Brayden Schenn who are all capable of playing top-six minutes if called upon.
Some of these players have been playing on the wing for the time being, but in the long run, the Flyers need to move one or more of their centers to make room for prospects like Scott Laughton, who should be ready to play in the NHL next season.
If all goes well, the Flyers should move at least one of these centers to improve their wingers or their defensive corps. That all depends on who's healthy, who's producing and who can get the most in return in a trade.
3. Upgrade the Defense
The team defense has improved under Craig Berube, but the Flyers still have needs on "D."
For one, nobody has been able to replace Pronger since the future Hall of Famer was injured during the 2011-12 season. Granted, dominant shutdown defensemen don't grow on trees, but the Flyers still could use one right now. Then again, so could about 25 other NHL teams.
In addition, while Mark Streit is playing a bit better of late, he still hasn't produced as the top puck-moving defenseman the Flyers envisioned when they acquired him from the New York Islanders last summer.
A younger and better offensive-minded defenseman would be a huge addition for the Flyers and would make this team a lot better.
2. Allow Craig Berube to Grow as a Coach
The Flyers have responded well to new coach Craig Berube, and barring a total collapse by the team in the second half, the organization should allow him to grow as coach.
Berube has shown he's not afraid to hold players responsible and juggle his lines when his team is struggling to score goals.
He also plays a more defensively oriented system than Peter Laviolette, and that seems to have benefited the team as well.
It took some time, but the team has adjusted to Berbue and responded to his leadership. Since this is his first NHL head coaching job, he will have some growing pains, but the team should stick with him for a while and give him a chance to grow.
1. Show More Patience as an Organization
The Flyers are not known for their patience as an organization. Fans can point to general manager Paul Holmgren, but in truth, the reason for the lack of patience probably goes up to upper management and ownership.
In this modern era of free agency and the salary cap, few teams can remain contenders every year. The Flyers need to show a little more patience with some of their younger players and even at times with a few of their veterans.
The franchise always seems to be changing its outlook and goals as players slump or fail to produce. The team needs to establish a long-term goal and philosophy and stick to it over the long haul.
While this change is unlikely to happen under present ownership, it would certainly benefit the franchise in the long run and lead to great success.