Two years ago, the Flyers were the laughing stock of the NHL. The team lost its long time GM, head coach, and 48 games to finish with a franchise low 56 points. One year later, the Flyers were three wins away from competing in the Stanley Cup Finals.
A lot has changed since the 2007-07 disastrous season. Much of the credit goes to GM Paul Holmgren and coach John Stevens who was just named coach of the year by The Hockey News.
Now, as Flyers’ prospect camp begins, the focus switches to the upcoming season and the Flyers’ chances of lifting Lord Stanley’s Cup next summer. After taking a look at the roster, there is no reason the Flyers won’t be on a short list of teams to compete for the Stanley Cup.
The defense was highly inconsistent last season. Therefore, Holmgren made this his highest priority in the off-season via the draft, free agency and trades. The defense should be stronger in 2008-09.
Hatcher (if he is healthy enough to play – otherwise look for Kukkonen or Ossi Vaananen)
Last year, the Flyers made great progress towards their ultimate goal, but fell short. Now, you add top prospect Claude Giroux, a healthy Simon Gagne, Steve Eminger to the depth chart on defense and you build off of the experience of playing a whole season together. This could be the formula for success especially when you keep in mind the fact that Holmgren is willing to make a big move if necessary at the trade deadline.