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POSTED ON Friday, 05.31.2013 / 12:38 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out

The Flyers began their offseason roster modifications by signing a pair of undrafted free agents to entry-level contracts, one of which could land on the NHL roster.

They inked Austrian left wing Michael Raffl and Canadian defenseman Maxim Lamarche to three-year deals.

Raffl, 24, was sought after by several teams, but ultimately it came down to the Flyers and the Nashville Predators.

The Flyers won out, signing Raffl after seeing him play for Austria in the World Championships. He had a standout game against Russia, a team loaded with NHL-caliber talent, scoring a goal and adding an assist.

“Both (Director of Player Personnel) Dave Brown and myself as well as (European Scout) Ilkka (Sinisalo) saw him at the World Championships and he’s a good player,” said Director of Hockey Operations Chris Pryor. “You noticed him over there. He’s got skill. He thinks the game. He’s a versatile guy and can do a lot of different things.”

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 5:49 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out

Here’s hoping you didn’t bet the house on my predictions for the first round of the NHL playoffs.

Although I wasn’t incredibly far off, like my grandfather used to tell me all the time, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

I went 4-4 in the first round.

To recap:

I picked Pittsburgh in six and they won in six. Yay Me.

I picked Ottawa in six and the won in five. Genius!

I picked Washington in seven, but they lost in seven. So, close!

I picked Boston in five, and, well, let’s just say I sweated out that victory.

Out west, I picked Chicago in five, and they won in five (this doesn’t sound so bad…)

I picked Anaheim in six, they lost in seven. Yeah, that one hurt a little.

I picked the Canucks in seven, they got swept. (Wait a minute, I did say it wouldn’t surprise me if the Sharks won... Did you hear a boom? What? No. Why? No grenade. So it doesn’t count!)

I picked St. Louis in seven. The lost in six. (I did say I was waffling back and forth on this pick and – Zip it!)

So, that’s it. Four to the good. Four to the bad. I cost you the vig.

And now, I’m going to frustrate you further with four new picks. Hopefully I can be better for you.

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POSTED ON Monday, 05.06.2013 / 4:54 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out

One of the questions that I have been asked a lot since the season ended last month has been, "How have the Flyers prospects looked this season?"

I figured the easiest way to answer it was to list them all here and have you decide for yourself.

Please note that players who had a good look with the Flyers this season - like Tye McGinn, Oliver Lauridsen and Erik Gustafsson are not included.

Neither are injured players like Marc-Andre Bourdon, Eric Wellwood or Ben Holmstrom as I will have further updates on them later this week.

So, without further adieu, the prospects:

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POSTED ON Friday, 05.03.2013 / 2:38 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out

It’s easy to look at the outcome of this Flyers season and say that Claude Giroux took a step backwards.

After all, he had a monstrous season in 2011-12 finishing with 93 points and garnered serious Hart Trophy consideration.

Then, he played in the playoffs under a moniker provided by his coach, when Peter Laviolette called him, “…the best player in the world” after Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

And for a brief while, it looked like Giroux was quickly becoming the new face of the NHL. His jersey sales were through the roof. He was emblazoned across the front of the league-endorsed video game.

And, he was named captain of a storied franchise who always seems to be in the mix for the Stanley Cup.

And with all the additional attention, the spotlight grew bigger. The expectations became greater. The pressure intensified. And any misstep was going to be scrutinized.

So, when Giroux got off to a slow start in this shortened season – coming off a concussion he suffered in Germany, which has been often glossed over – immediately the criticisms were that Giroux couldn’t live up to his new title as the best in the game.

Many an expert and hockey scribe felt that Giroux could no longer play to such a level without Jaromir Jagr by his side.

And after the Flyers first 13 games, he had just seven points.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 12:27 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out

The Flyers used 13 different defensemen this season. In an 82-game season that’s quite high. In a 48-game season, it borders on ridiculous.

Nevertheless, it’s one of the issues the Flyers faced this season, and ultimately, while the group wasn’t as bad as some may want to make it seem, the fact that they had to rely on a baker’s dozen – more than twice as many as play in a single game – has to factor into the reasoning as to why the season ended before the playoffs for just the ninth time in the 46-year history of the franchise.

Defense in hockey, like pitching in baseball, is always in demand because there’s just not enough of it out there that is considered quality in the NHL. So, when the Flyers have to basically call up an entire minor league team worth of defensemen to play in the NHL, it’s easy to understand why there were problems in such areas as breakouts, turnovers, puck possession, and ultimately, goals against.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 11:55 AM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out

There are two ways you can look at the Flyers goaltending situation.

The pessimistic view would be to examine Ilya Bryzgalov’s numbers from the 2012-13 season, see that he ranked 36th in goals against average (2.79), 43rd in save percentage (.900), 47th in even strength save percentage (.907) and 26th in save percentage while shorthanded (.866) and determine that it’s a mess.

The optimistic view is to see that the Bryzgalov was actually really good until he was forced into duty every night and wore down. It’s to take stock in the fact that he actually posted those numbers behind a patchwork defense for much of the season. And that despite all the negative press he received, he still finished with a winning record.

Couple that with the addition of Steve Mason via trade April 3rd, and his impressive numbers, albeit over a very small sample of seven games (4-2-0, 1.90, .944), and the Flyers appear to finally have a worthy tandem in place.

I tend to lean toward the latter.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 5:31 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out

My history as a NHL playoff prognosticator is checkered at best.

With the exception of one horseshoe-attached-to-my-fingertips spring a few years back, I have basically been mediocre at picking the playoffs.

Since 2005-06, my collective record is as follows:

(Totals are based on each series picked round-by-round)

2005-06: 10-5

2006-07: 8-7

2007-08: 9-6

2008-09: 13-2

2009-10:11-4

2010-11: 8-7

2011-12: 9-6

Totals: 68-37 (64.8 percent)

That’s barely enough to cover the vig – especially with how many upsets occur in the NHL playoffs.

Alas, people have requested my picks. So, for entertainment purposes only – anything else would be downright crazy – here’s how I see the first round playing out:

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 1:03 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out

The Flyers made a bit of dubious history this season.

They became the first team, since the playoffs were expanded to include 16 teams in 1980, to finish in the top five in both specialty teams categories and still miss the playoffs.

Think about that for a second.

The third best power play in the league (21.6 percent) and the fifth best penalty kill in the league (85.9 percent) – and no playoffs.

As a matter of fact, the Flyers were the 74th team in the expansion era (since 1967) to finish top five in both categories. Only twice before has a team missed the postseason, and both occurred at a time when only eight teams made the playoffs in the entire league.

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POSTED ON Monday, 04.29.2013 / 9:25 AM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out

This weekend I spent a good amount of time answering the same question repeatedly:

What are the Flyers going to do over the summer?

It’s kind of a broad question that certainly will have a lot of answers, and any that I can give personally would be just as speculative as the next guy, but I find it fascinating still.

Reason being that there is a multi-faceted purpose behind the question.

1. Flyers fans really care. No, I mean REALLY care. They won’t take time to truly decompress from a disappointing season, and would much rather march forth with a purpose in to the summer and consider all options that the team has to assure itself of marked improvement.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 3:49 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out

PHILADELPHIA -- It’s the final home game of the season (wow, that flew by) so it’s time for the Flyers to hand out their end of season awards.

As is customary, there will be a pre-game ceremony to present the awards tonight and five different players will receive the six awards.

The big winner will be Jake Voracek, who will be recognized for his breakout season by winning two key awards.

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SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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