Final Report Card for Philadelphia Flyers' 2013-14 Season
In the end, Philadelphia lost to the New York Rangers by one goal in the seventh game of their opening-round playoff series.
Considering that the Flyers started the season with a 1-7-0 record, finishing the season with 42 wins and 94 points is an impressive accomplishment.
Once the sting of a close playoff loss wears off, this season should be viewed as a step forward after the club missed the playoffs a year ago.
Here is a breakdown of the Flyers 2013-14 season. Feel fee to comment on any of the areas discussed here or on the season in general. As always, indicate why you feel the way you do.
The Flyers offense finished eighth in the league with 233 goals scored. That stat is even more impressive when you consider how Philadelphia scored only 13 goals as a team in their first nine games.
The Flyers finished the season with seven different players who scored at least 20 goals led by Wayne Simmonds with 29.
Claude Giroux was again the catalyst of the Flyers' offense. The Flyers were 21-2-1 when Giroux scored a goal. He didn't score a goal in his first 15 games of this season, but despite the slow start, Giroux ended the season with 86 points, third best in the league.
Matt Read quietly scored 22 goals while Scott Hartnell finished strong after a slow start like most of the rest of the team. Jakub Voracek finished with career highs in goals (23) and points (62).
Vincent Lecavalier was inconsistent during the season despite scoring 20 goals. He battled a few nagging injuries and bounced around from line to line without really finding a permanent home. Coach Berube needs to figure out the best way to utilize Lecavalier, who is more effective at center than he is on the wing.
Sean Couturier was a great penalty killer and a solid checking forward.
Michael Raffl showed glimpses of offensive ability but wasn't consistently productive over the course of the entire season.
Steve Downie played well shortly after being acquired and added some grit, but he couldn't stay healthy and his play declined as the season progressed.
Adam Hall filled his fourth-line role as a penalty killer and checker while Zac Rinaldo led the team in fighting majors and penalty minutes.
The Flyers finished 20th in the league with 227 goals allowed this season.
Team defense was an issue throughout the season. Philadelphia's defensemen lacked speed, which cost the Flyers a bit too often.
The team lacked a true shut-down defender in the Chris Pronger mode and lacked an outstanding offensive defenseman as well.
Kimmo Timonen was still the team's most consistent passer and power-play quarterback, but he's 39 and may be retiring from the NHL after this season.
Mark Streit improved offensively later in the season but gave the puck up too often in his own zone and was too inconsistent.
Andrew MacDonald was acquired from the New York Islanders at the trade deadline and added some stability and shot-blocking ability. The Flyers signed him to an extension, so he will be back next season.
Luke Schenn's lack of speed was often costly.
Overall, the Flyers defense was inconsistent, vulnerable and lacking a dominant player in any zone.
The duo of Steve Mason and Ray Emery did a good but not spectacular job for the Flyers this season.
The statistics are rather average, but when you consider the team's mediocre defense, that does make those average numbers look a little better.
Mason played in 61 games and finished with a 33-18-7 record. His GAA of 2.50 and .917 save percentage were steady but not sensational. He played his best hockey early in the season when the Flyers were struggling to score goals.
General manager Paul Holmgren liked what he saw in Mason and signed him to a contract extension during the season.
An upper-body injury suffered in the final week of the regular season caused Mason to miss the first three playoff games, but he was sharp once he got into the lineup.
Emery added leadership and a veteran's influence in the locker room. His record was just 9-12-2 and his 2.96 GAA and .903 save percentage aren't very good. He did play a steady game in his three playoff starts, and he isn't intimidated by tough situations.
Emery's intangibles and his ability to start when Mason went down add to his value.
The Flyers had an effective power play, finishing eighth in the league with a 19.8 percent success rate.
Wayne Simmonds scored 15 power play goals to lead the Flyers. That also placed him third in the league. A total of five Flyers had at least seven power-play goals—Simmonds, Scott Hartnell, Vincent Lecavalier, Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux.
Giroux led the club with 30 assists with the man advantage while Kimmo Timonen was second with 19 power-play helpers.
The Flyers' penalty kill was also effective, and that's a good thing because the Flyers had more penalty minutes than any team in the league.
Sean Couturier, Matt Read and Adam Hall were all key contributors to the league's seventh-best penalty kill. The Flyers killed off 84.8 percent of opponents' chances with the extra attacker.
The penalty kill was aggressive and effective.
When the Flyers got off to an 0-3-0 start, general manager Paul Holmgren acted quickly and fired coach Peter Laviolette, replacing him with Craig Berube.
Berube changed things for the better. It took a while for the team to adjust to his system and figure out what their new coach expected of them, but eventually, Berube's more defense-oriented system proved to be effective.
The Flyers finished the season with 94 points and reached the playoffs one year after missing the postseason entirely.
Berube wasn't afraid to make bold moves to the lineup. He moved players up and down the lineup depending on their performance and nobody was exempt. Even a high-priced free agent like Lecavalier was demoted to the fourth line when he wasn't producing.
Despite the fact that Berube had never been a head coach in the NHL before, he quickly won the respect of his players and got the most out of a team with some glaring weaknesses.
While the loss to the Rangers in the playoffs is disappointing, the season as a whole has to be viewed as a success.
The Flyers got off to a horrible 1-7-0 start, changed coaches and had a lot of question marks on their roster early in the season. In October, it looked like this team was going nowhere fast.
Berube took a team that missed the playoffs last season and turned them into a 94-point club that was dangerous to play against.
The Flyers made the playoffs and took the Rangers to seven games once they got there. This was a step forward for the franchise. The key now is where Holmgren goes from here.
The coming summer will be an important one for the Flyers. They need to address a number of areas to improve what is now a playoff team and develop into a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
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