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Philadelphia Flyers fans have been told for years now that Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were the cornerstones of this franchise, and they would lead one of the most popular teams in hockey back to Lord Stanley.
I have had a hard time convincing myself that the Flyers are closer to winning the Stanley Cup now than they were two months ago, but I am trying my best.
I love that the Flyers have finally added a quality goaltender. In fact, I believe that Illya Bryzgalov will be in the top-three in save percentage and goals against average in 2011.
Brayden Schenn may be better than Richards and Carter ever were in three years, and Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek are the type of grinding, tough wingers the Flyers missed dearly against the Boston Bruins in the playoffs.
Picking up the eighth overall draft pick from Columbus in the Jeff Carter deal landed lanky center Sean Couterier. By all accounts, Couterier will be a stud in the NHL for years to come when he is ready.
The Flyers may have overpaid for Jaromir Jagr, but the veteran will certainly improve one of the team's biggest weaknesses from last season in their power-play. Adding Max Talbot will provide invaluable experience and leadership in the locker room, and one of the game's best penalty-killers.
GM Paul Holmgren was able to acquire one of the game's best goaltenders and keep his terrific defensive corps in tact. Maybe "Homer" has been watching the Phillies across the street at Citizens Bank Park and realized that pitching and defense wins championships in baseball and goaltending and defense wins in hockey.
Now if only the Flyers could somehow pry Steven Stamkos from the Tampa Bay Lightning, then I'd say let's start planning our parade down Broad Street.
Until then, this season should be one of the most intriguing in recent memory for the orange and black.