One look at the Philadelphia Flyers record this season and you would think all was going smoothly.
At 8-4-2, the Flyers have been anything but smooth and consistent. The season has really been a roller coaster ride through the first 14 games. The only thing consistent about this team is their inept ability to put the puck in the net (on either side of the ice).
The Flyers jumped out to a hot start, winning four of five, then got "lost in the woods" over the next four-game stretch, where they only won once.
Now, it is back to all systems go for the orange and black, who currently sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
How long can this last? Can the Flyers keep this up all season? Will some stability come from the veteran leaders on this team...or are they gone now?
Here are five reasons why the Flyers' changes this offseason may hurt them in 2012.
So far, the Flyers young guns have been nothing short of spectacular. Can that hold up for a 82-plus game season? That remains to be seen.
This past summer, the Flyers got rid of two of the most experienced players on the team in Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. Both played together in the AHL and won a Calder Cup together. Both battled year in and year out in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so they know what it takes to advance.
The Flyers still have a good number of leaders still in the clubhouse, so hopefully these young players continue to learn under them.
Rookies are scoring more points for the Flyers than on any other team in the NHL.
One of the big questions marks coming into this season was about who was going to pick up the scoring vacated by Carter, Richards, Leino, etc.
Through the first month of the season, it seems that scoring is not the issue anymore.
The rookies have played great, but how will they play come crunch time? How will they handle the pressure and the physical play of a Stanley Cup Playoff run? Are they ready and are they mature enough?
Ilya Bryzgalov had a shaky past two weeks, but has since gotten back on track, winning his last three games started.
What if the Flyers No. 1 goaltender goes through another stretch of poor play?
Sergei Bobrovsky has been as advertised once again and looks ready to make a push for a No. 1 job somewhere in this league. With Bryzgalov on the books for $51 million, can that place be in Philadelphia?
We all know how poorly Bobrovsky played in last season's playoffs, but can you give him a break since it was his first run in an atmosphere like that?
Bryzgalov, on the other hand, is 3-8 with a 3.90 GAA the past two postseasons. Besides, when he split time in Anaheim, Bryzgalov hasn't been the same No. 1 goalie when he enters the postseason.
Peter Laviolette won't have Bryz on a short leash come springtime, but he will be walking a very tight rope in the fans' eyes.
Was clearing cap space not one of the reasons the Flyers got rid of players like Richards and Carter and let Leino walk in free agency?
It was, and with some big signings of their own, the Flyers have put themselves right back in the hole. They are dangerously close to the cap limit and really do not have much room to wiggle around and make a move before the deadline.
Will they have enough pieces—and space—to get another solid defenseman to sure up their blue line for the postseason?