4 Philadelphia Flyers Poised for a Breakout 2014-15 Season

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst ISeptember 9, 2014

4 Philadelphia Flyers Poised for a Breakout 2014-15 Season

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    The Philadelphia Flyers have a lot of talent up front heading into the 2014-15 season, although their defense is a bit more suspect. It's not a surprise, then, that every player on this list is a forward.

    Overall, there's a lot to be hopeful for in Philadelphia's future. Their glut of young talent looks promising, and some players are bound to break out this year.

    Here are five Flyers poised for a breakout season in 2014-15.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

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    Sergei Grits/Associated Press

    Bellemare was signed this summer from the Swedish Hockey League after spending the past five seasons there. The French winger isn't known at this point, even by most Flyers fans, but he's got talent.

    He's not young. At 29 years old, he's going to be pushing for serious playing time right away on the wing. In the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Championships, he posted eight points in eight games and led France to a shocking upset over Canada in the quarterfinals.

    While he brings a solid two-way game and plays good defense, he also added 20 goals in 52 games for Skelleftea last year, and looks to be a candidate for the third line. His ceiling isn't all that high, but he's coming out of nowhere.

Wayne Simmonds

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    Len Redkoles/Getty Images

    Some would argue that Simmonds had a breakout season in 2013-14, and I can’t really disagree with that.

    But I will say that Simmonds is not done yet. He was still mighty inconsistent last season while putting up good numbers. If he gets it together and produces on a nightly basis? That would be a true breakout year.

    Forty goals might be a bit of a lofty benchmark, but 35 is certainly reasonable. His two-way game cannot be forgotten, either. There’s a good chance that he steps into a leadership role as the assistant captain in Kimmo Timonen’s absence.

    Bigger things are on the horizon for Simmonds.

Scott Laughton

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    The time seems to finally be here. Laughton, the Flyers’ first-round pick in the 2012 draft, should make the big club this year. 

    While he will almost definitely be a bottom-six winger, or possibly a fourth-line center, there is still plenty of reason to think that he could break out right away. 

    He plays a solid two-way game, but also has a deft scoring touch. He also got to dominate the OHL the past two seasons while maturing and gaining confidence.

    The Flyers won’t count on Laughton too much, and he should thrive in a more supportive role as a rookie.

Sean Couturier

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Couturier is a stud, and he proved as much in 2013-14. But there is plenty of reason to think that he can take yet another leap forward this upcoming season.

    I marked the question of Couturier’s continued development and improvement as the biggest question in determining the Flyers’ success in 2014-15, and I stand by that today.

    His defensive game is just phenomenal, and he shows some offensive prowess at times as well. As a third-line center, he really has the potential to dominate.

    And don’t forget that he’s still only 21 years old.

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