One Bold Prediction for Philadelphia Flyers' Top Stars in 2013-14
The Philadelphia Flyers begin the 2013-14 regular season at the Wells Fargo center this Wednesday, and there is a lot of excitement surrounding the season.
There is a lot that can go wrong for this Flyers team, but if things go right, they can contend for a Stanley Cup.
They have a lot of exciting players and storylines that will end up determining the team's success this year. This list will focus specifically on their top players.
Here are six bold predictions for the Philadelphia Flyers' stars.
Voracek Is Top-15 Scorer in the League
Jakub Voracek emerged as an elite offensive talent in 2013, scoring 46 points in 48 games.
The right winger really developed a great chemistry with Claude Giroux on the Flyers' top line, and he excelled on the power play as well.
We always knew the talent was there, and it finally seems like, at 24 years old, Voracek is realizing his potential. He should maintain his 2013 pace and finish with a point total in the high 70s, good enough to be a top-15 scorer in the league.
Schenn Brothers Become Stars
Luke and Brayden Schenn are both former top prospects who have had some bumpy starts to their NHL careers.
Last year, Luke really stood out in first year as a Flyer after coming under fire for his play in Toronto. Brayden picked up his game in his second NHL season but not to the heights fans were expecting.
This year, 23-year-old Luke and 22-year-old Brayden seem to have everything finally in place to step into their roles as leaders and stars for the Flyers.
Giroux Is Hart Trophy Finalist
Claude Giroux started off 2012-13 slow but ended up scoring at exactly a point-per-game pace, which would have put him at a very respectable 82 in a full season.
But the Flyers need him to be better than that; they need him to dominate in all facets of the game and exceed his 2011-12 point total of 93.
This year, Giroux has a better and healthier roster behind him and should come into the season more comfortable with a year of being captain under his belt. Giroux will come out flying and emerge as a Hart Trophy finalist for league MVP.
Simmonds Scores 40 Goals
In the past two seasons with Philadelphia, Wayne Simmonds has been somewhat overlooked, even while playing at a pretty high level.
He scored 28 goals in 2011-12 and 15 in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, one in which he could have had a few more if he hadn't suffered a concussion early on.
With a revamped second line of Vincent Lecavalier, Brayden Schenn and Simmonds, I think Simmonds will benefit the most in the goal column. He'll capitalize over and over around the net but also get some more chances on the rush during games as well.
Timonen Is a Top-5 Scoring Defenseman
Kimmo Timonen should get some weight lifted off of his shoulders in 2013 with the addition of Mark Streit, and I think his level of play will elevate as a result.
There may not be a more underrated defenseman in the league, as Timonen logs enormous minutes and puts up top-20 points for defensemen almost every season.
He was seventh in scoring last season among D-men and was on pace for roughly 50 points. I think he can surpass 50 this year and be in the mix for a top-five scoring finish among defensemen.
Lecavalier Is 3rd-Highest Scorer on Team
So if Giroux has over 90, Voracek has over 80 and Simmonds finishes with 40 goals, that means Vincent Lecavalier would need around 70 points to be the third-highest scoring player on the team.
Some people may scoff at that, but I think the 33-year-old center still has a lot of good hockey left in him and will be rejuvenated playing in Philadelphia.
He will also enjoy his upgraded linemates as well as the benefit of a clean bill of health heading into the year. Lecavalier's offensive production will be critical to the Flyers' success, and he will not disappoint.