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All signs point to big #20 wearing the 'C' on his sweater in 2011-12.
Health of veterans is the concern of all teams pushing for a playoff berth or division title.
However, on a team like the Flyers looking to rebuild its leadership corps and reestablish itself as a Stanley Cup contender despite the roster turnover, quite a bit of responsibility falls on the players who have been around the league and seen it all before.
Danny Briere, Kimmo Timonen, Chris Pronger and Jaromir Jagr. Each has his own list of health concerns that trouble the Flyers beyond the loss of that player's individual production.
Beginning with the offense, Danny Briere set a career high in goals last season, putting up 34 in 77 regular season games. His +20 rating was also a career high. But keep in mind Briere has had a plethora of injuries, many of the lingering variety.
While Briere managed to stay healthy in 2010-11, he played in only two fewer games the year before and managed only 26 goals and a rating of -2. Also keep in mind prior to last season Briere's career rating as a Flyer stood at -25. If Briere, who turns 34 in October, can't produce to last year's standards the offense could be in trouble.
Jaromir Jagr, 39, has been brought in to offset the offensive losses and turn around a struggling power play. But can a player who has not played in the National Hockey League since 2007-08, and only averaged 52 games played over the past three years in Russia really be depended on as a top six forward?
Given the signing of Ilya Bryzgalov it is clear the Flyers are leaning towards a bit more of a goaltending and defense-based team.
However, the heart of the defense are a pair of 36-year olds in Timonen and Pronger. While their performances on the ice are still on par with the top four defensemen around the league, it is their time in the training room that is a major concern. Timonen is a silent warrior. He does his job and does it to the best of his ability every night. Timonen has played in no less than 77 games since joining the Flyers in 2007-08, including all 82 the past two years.
But one has to wonder how many more times Jim Jackson can say "Timonen looks a little gimpy coming off the ice" before it hinders his effectiveness, especially considering his smallish stature and proclivity to log no less than 20 minutes of ice-time on a nightly basis.
Chris Pronger, the assumed captain, is the embodiment of the uncertainty surrounding this team. For the second straight year Pronger is likely to miss the beginning of the season. After playing in only 50 regular season games and three of 11 playoff games in 2010-11 one must keep in the back of their mind the captaincy drama that played out between Keith Primeau, Derian Hatcher and Ken Hitchcock while Primeau struggled with post-concussion syndrome and the Flyers simply struggled.
If Pronger misses significant time for a second consecutive season could the leadership void divide the locker room? Flyers' history is filled with tension surrounding the letter on the sweater. If similar circumstances play out once again, leadership-the issue that lead to these offseason shake-ups, could be a bigger hindrance to the Flyers success than it was last year.