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The Flyers shocked the hockey world when the traded captain and perennial Selke contender Mike Richards to LA and leading goal scorer Jeff Carter to the Blue Jackets for a haul of extremely talented but young forwards. With the cap space created by the Richards and Carter trades, the Flyers inked former Vezina finalists Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year pact worth over $50 million.
The team also parted ways with talented but inconsistent winger Ville Leino, disappointing mid-season acquisition Kris Versteeg, and fan favorites Dan Carcillo, Darroll Powe, Sean O'Donnell, and Brian Boucher. In their place, the team added extremely talented youngsters Wayne Simmonds, Sean Couturier, Jakub Voracek, and Brayden Schenn, veterans Andreas Lilja and Max Talbot, and future Hall of Fame RW Jaromir Jagr.
Despite the trades of Richards and Carter, the Flyers still boast an impressive offensive core, led by emerging superstar Claude Giroux and playmaker Danny Briere. Winger James van Reimsdyk had (what many believe to be) his coming out party in the 2011 playoffs, recording an unheard-of 70 shots and 7 goals in just 11 games against two of the best defensive teams in the league (Boston and Buffalo). The Flyers hope that JVR will continue his development and finally emerge as the 40-goal-scorer scouts predicted he would be when he was taken with the #2 overall pick in the 2007 NHL Draft. For those worried about scoring, you can find a breakdown of the Flyers offseason moves here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/782500-nhl-philadelphia-flyers-projected-impacts-of-the-teams-new-acquisitions.
On the backend, the Flyers boast one of the most complete defense corps in the NHL. Veteran All-Stars Kimmo Timonen and Chris Pronger provide shut-down ability and leadership, while emerging talents Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle, and Andrej Meszaros provide excellent two-way skill and physicality. Youngster Oskars Bartulis figures to receive significant playing time, as does smooth-skating prospect Erik Gustafsson.
In net, the Flyers are set with veteran Bryzgalov and youngster Sergei Bobrovsky, who had an impressive rookie season in 2010-2011. The Russian tandem should give the Flyers one of the best goaltending duos in the NHL.
All in all, the Flyers look to be one of the deepest offensive and defensive teams in the NHL. The roster currently has at least seven forwards capable of scoring 20+ goals, and their defense is stacked with good two-way blueliners. And the team finally has a franchise goaltender. The biggest question for the team is the health of presumptive Captain Chris Pronger. By all indications, his off-season surgery was successful and his rehab is progressing, albeit at a slower pace than originally anticipated. Pronger has already said he believes he'll miss part of training camp, but figures to be ready for the regular season. The Flyers should finish second in the Atlantic and challenge for a #4 seed in the East. If Pittsburgh falters or the Flyers young talent develops more quickly than anticipated, the Flyers could win the division for a second consecutive year.