After a surprising offseason where the Philadelphia Flyers traded away both their captain and an alternate captain, the organization sure has a lot of hype surrounding the 2011-2012 team.
Training camp begins in just a few weeks and the young Flyers look poised to make another run deep into the playoffs. How deep? That remains to be seen as the young Flyers are very inexperienced.
I'm here to disclose what's going to happen during the regular season at least. With the Flyers back on the ice, here are my predictions for team leaders for the 11/12 season.
Danny Briere is hands down the best scorer that the Flyers have. James van Riemsdyk might get there in a few years, but Briere is usually good for at least 30 goals a season if he remains healthy.
With Jeff Carter and Mike Richards gone, Briere is going to have to step it up even more. If healthy, I am expecting at least 40 Danny Briere fist pumps this season.
Claude Giroux led the team last year in assists so why not this year right? Giroux assisted in 51 Flyers goals last year, playing in all 82 games.
Giroux now becomes one of the team leaders this season and almost certainly will come into captain consideration should Chris Pronger not be on the ice for a considerable amount of time.
The only player I see creeping up on Giroux in this category is newcomer Jaromir Jagr. If Jagr can stay healthy for 82 games, he has a shot at being the team leader.
Because I think Jagr won't be healthy enough, Giroux ends the year with 55 helpers and leads the team.
In each of his three full seasons with the club, Claude Giroux has taken his game one step further each year.
Giroux had a great year in 2011 and had 29 more points than 2010. With him taking more of a leadership role on this club, I expect Giroux to have another great season and take yet another step at becoming one of the elite players in the league. Is 85 points to much? We'll just have to wait and see.
If Chris Pronger can stay on the ice this year, there is no reason not to believe that he will lead the team in the plus-minus category.
Pronger had an all-in-all terrible season last year. He was never fully healthy and could never bring 100 percent of his repertoire to the ice each night.
When healthy, Pronger is still one of the best defenders in the league. Pronger ends with a 32 plus-minus.
With Dan Carcillo gone, is there any doubt that Scott Hartnell will lead the team in penalty minutes this season?
Hartnell, with his combination of sheer physicality and his propensity to take dumb penalties will lead the team by staying in the box for 150 minutes.
Andrej Meszaros had an unbelievable amount of hits last season as he was second on the team. However, I do not think he will grab the same amount (189) as last season.
If a healthy Chris Pronger played a full 82 game schedule, he would also be in the mix here, but I doubt he will.
Therefore, Braydon Coburn will continue to develop into a premier defenseman and will take the team lead in hits, which I am predicting as 190. Coburn has had to learn a lot from Pronger the past few seasons. And now with Pronger's health in question, Coburn is going to have to step up and take his physical place on the blue line.
Ilya Bryzgalov was brought into Philly for two things...stability at the goaltending position and a Stanley Cup.
With Bryzgalov in net, there will be no doubting in who the Flyers' No. 1 goalie is.
In 65 starts this year, I can see Bryzgalov winning 37 games.
Why will Ilya Bryzgalov only be playing in 65 games? Because the Flyers have a young goaltender in Sergei Bobrovsky who played well enough last season to not ride the bench this year.
With his outstanding rookie season, Bob deserves playing time this year, even with the Flyers handing out $51 million to Bryzgalov. And Bob will prove that he belongs leading the team with a 2.68 goals against average.