Two seasons ago, the Philadelphia Flyers came within two wins of a Stanley Cup thanks to a miraculous playoff run. Last year, the team nearly finished first in the Eastern Conference and were one of the league’s most dangerous teams until injuries and goaltending issues prematurely ended the team’s season in the second round of the playoffs.
The Flyers had a more active offseason than any team in the league, and hockey fans have spent the last three months debating whether or not Paul Holmgren has built a dynasty or dismantled one of hockey’s top teams. The 2011-12 season will begin to show the flaws and benefits of Holmgren’s aggressiveness, but the team remains in consideration for the best squad in the conference.
The Eastern Conference has some strong contenders for the conference crown this season, but the Flyers have positioned themselves to be a major part of the conversation. Here are nine reasons why it will be Chris Pronger’s responsibility to decide whether or not to touch the Prince of Wales Trophy this playoff year.