The 5 Most Impressive Philadelphia Flyers During the 2013-14 Regular Season
The 2013-2014 NHL regular season is in the books.
And for the Philadelphia Flyers, it's not important how the season started but how it ended.
Three straight losses out of the gate cost Peter Laviolette his job before the Orange and Black claimed just one of their first five outings under newly appointed bench boss Craig Berube.
But little by little things started to turn around for the Flyers.
Nine wins in 15 November games gave way to eight victories in 14 December outings. After dropping four of its final five games in January, Philadelphia responded with four straight triumphs to kick off the month of February before claiming eight of 11 contests after the Olympic break.
In the end, the Flyers finished third in the Metropolitan Division and are on their way back to the playoffs for the 37th time in franchise history. However, Philly's return to the postseason wouldn't have happened without some tremendous individual effort.
Here's a look at the five most impressive Flyers during the 2013-14 regular season.
5. Mark Streit
2013-2014 season totals: 82 games, 10 goals, 34 assists, 44 points, 15 power-play points
The Flyers desperately needed to bolster their defense in advance of the 2013-14 season and did just that when the Orange and Black inked veteran blueliner Mark Streit to a four-year, $21 million pact.
It was a hefty agreement to be sure, but at least for the first year it appears to have been worth it.
The 36-year-old defender was one of just seven Flyers and only two blueliners to appear in all 82 games this season. He put that time to good use, pacing all Flyers defensemen in scoring while finishing fifth on the roster with 42 total points.
The 5'11", 191-pound Streit was one of 27 NHL defenders who registered double-digit goals this season. Meanwhile, with 44 points, he finished tied for 14th among all NHL defensemen in total scoring.
A perennial power-play specialist, the Switzerland native finished second among Flyers defensemen and sixth on the roster with 15 man-advantage points (four goals, 11 assists).
What's more, Streit saved his best hockey for the most important time of year. In eight April contests, the offensive-minded defender contributed a goal and eight assists and managed at least one point in each of Philadelphia's last six outings.
4. Jake Voracek
2013-2014 season totals: 82 games, 23 goals, 39 assists, 62 points, 23 power-play points
For the second time in as many seasons, Jake Voracek finished second among all Flyers in total scoring. What's even more impressive was the fact that the dynamic 24-year-old winger did so after posting career highs in goals, assists and points.
A model of consistency, Voracek suited up in all 82 games this season and has now missed just four contests in three years since coming to Philadelphia from Columbus in the summer of 2011.
Like most Flyers, Voracek got off to a sluggish start, notching just 12 points in the season's first two months (26 games), but he managed double-digit points in each full month thereafter, including a season-high 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in March.
No Philadelphia skater recorded more shots on goal this year than Voracek's 235, and only Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds notched more power-play production than his 23 man-advantage points (eight goals, 14 assists).
3. Wayne Simmonds
2013-2014 season totals: 82 games, 29 goals, 31 assists, 60 points, 15 power-play goals
Wayne Simmonds used the 2013-14 season to establish himself as one of the premier power forwards in the game today.
At 6'2", 175 pounds, the 25-year-old winger used his superior size and strength to produce a team-high and career-high 29 goals. What's more, with 72 conversions, no Flyers skater has scored more goals over the last three seasons than Simmonds.
In addition, the Scarborough, Ontario native also managed career highs in both assists and points while finishing third on Philadelphia's roster in total scoring.
Simmonds' size and deft hands made him particularly dangerous on the power play, where he recorded a team-high and personal-best 15 man-advantage markers, good for third-best in the entire NHL and the second-highest total by a Flyers skater over the last six seasons.
Simmonds tallied 15 multi-point outings this season, including a team-high six two-goal efforts.
2. Steve Mason
2013-2014 season totals: 61 games, 33-18-7, 4 shutouts, 2.50 goals-against average, .917 save percentage
From start to finish, Steve Mason was Philadelphia's most valuable player this season.
Even when the offense was scuffling and the defense was in shambles in the early part of the season, Mason still gave the Orange and Black a chance to win virtually every night.
In all, the 25-year-old goaltender matched career highs in wins and appearances while closing the season with the highest save percentage of his career.
But Mason's value to the Flyers this year went far beyond these surface statistics.
The sixth-year netminder held opponents to two goals or fewer 33 times this season and registered 23 outings with 30 or more saves.
And like most of his teammates, Mason saved his best work for the most crucial part of the season.
The 6'4", 215-pound netminder didn't allow more than three goals against in any of his final 12 starts of the season. In fact, Mason surrendered just 23 goals during that stretch while posting a 1.97 goals-against average coupled with a .933 save percentage.
1. Claude Giroux
2013-2014 season totals: 82 games, 28 goals, 58 assists, 86 points, 36 power-play points
For the fourth straight season, Claude Giroux paced the Orange and Black in total scoring. And this year, it wasn't even close.
With 86 points, the 26-year-old pivot finished 24 points ahead of Philly's second-leading scorer, Jake Voracek. What's more, despite a brutal start which saw Philadelphia's captain manage just seven points (all assists) in his first 15 games, Giroux still managed to finish third among all NHL players in total scoring.
The Hearst, Ontario native matched his career high with 28 goals and produced the second-highest power-play-points total of his six-goal NHL career. For his efforts on the man-advantage, Giroux finished fourth among all NHL skaters in power-play production.
And no Flyers skater was better down the stretch than Giroux.
In 22 games from March 1 until the end of the regular season, Philly's captain recorded nine goals and 20 assists and managed at least one point in all but six of those contests. What's more, Giroux registered nine multi-point efforts during that time, while the Flyers claimed each of their final 10 games in which their captain found the back of the net.