Well everything seems to be in place for the up-coming season. The forward position has basically stayed the same (except swapping our best winger Simon Gagne for the lazy yet talented Nik Zherdev) and the defense has improved greatly. The only thing that is still yet to be seen is what is going to happen with the goalies. I will go out on a limb and assume that Paul Holmgren signs Turco, because honestly, there will be riots all over Philly if Holmgren traded Gagne for nothing and not even end up with a proven starter. I will also say that I believe Powe is re-signed with the new cap space available, and Riley Cote and Brian Boucher are waived, along with Oskars Bartulis being placed on the Phantoms.
Line 1: James van Riemsdyk-Mike Richards-Jeff Carter
I truly believe that JVR will start the season on the top line with Richie and Carter in an effort to get him going. He started off well last season while playing with Carter and Briere, but slowed down once finding himself on line with Giroux and Arron Asham. If Carter can adjust to the right-wing position, he will flourish while Richards feads him the puck and van Riemsdyk creates traffic in front.
Line 2: Scott Hartnell-Danny Briere-Ville Leino
Well this is a lines we're all very familier with. This was the best line for the Flyers during the playoffs and played phenomnally. Hartnell and Briere had a re-birth to their former selves, and Leino emerged as a very dangerous and talented weapon. With the skill set of Briere and Leino, and the net crashing ability of Hartnell, this line will be very effective.
Line 3: Darroll Powe-Claude Giroux-Nikolai Zherdev
This will be a very effective line if used. I kind of compare it to the leino/briere/hartnell line. Powe has that crash and smash mentality, while Giroux has tremendous hand skills and great playmaking ability. The aquistion of Zherdev will help Giroux who will finally have a true sniper playing with him, and both will develope tremendous chemistry. Zherdev's lack of defensive play will be accounted for by the defensive minds of Powe and Giroux.
Line 4: Jody Shelley/Dan Carcillo-Blair Betts-Ian Laperriere
Well this will be the same old line as last season. Betts and Lappy will supply great hits along with tremendous defensive abilities. Whether it be the Car-Bomb or Shelley (who I believe will be Carcillo most of the time) will provide toughness and protection for the other two. Carcillo is a better fit because of his speed and forchecking abiltiy. He can keep up with Betts and Lappy, while Shelley will have a more difficult time.
Pairing 1: Chris Pronger-Matt Carle
Well there's not much to be said about these two. Pronger being a great defensive defenseman allows Carle to jump up into the play and be effective offensively. Carle has also developed better defensive skills by playing with Pronger and proved he can play a solid 20-25 minutes per game.
Pairing 2: Kimmo Timonen-Braydon Coburn
Once again, we all know what to expect from this pairing. Timonen is a great defenseman, both offensively and defensively. Coburn had a so/so regualr season, but came back to form during the playoffs. Coburn is a very large man with tremendous skating abilities and works well with Timonen to form a second first pairing while being able to play the same amount of minutes as Pronger and Carle.
Pairing 3: Andrej Meszaros-Scott Walker/Sean O'Donnell
This will be a very solid third pairing for the Flyers who lacked defensive depth last year. Meszaros, capable of playing top four minutes, will have a bounce back season with a lessoned role and a verteran partner, whether it be Walker or O'Donnell. Whether it be Walker or O'Donnell, either will be a very solid 6th defenseman. Both provide toughness and are great defensively. I believe Walker will get the majority of the time as the 6th defenseman.
First String: Marty Turco
Turco will do phenomenally in Philly (once again assuming he signs). He will be way more protected by the Flyers' defense then he was in Dallas. He still has the ability to play 60 games a year and can still be a solid starter in the N.H.L. He will get a fresh start in Philadelphia, and will have less pressure on him with the great defense like the Flyers pocess.
Second String: Michael Leighton
If playing as the back-up, Leighton will do phenomenally. He proved this season that he can be a very solid back-up goaltender, but struggles in the starting role. Leighton will still be able to play a solid 20-30 games a season behing Turco, and will have much lessoned role for the better, like Turco.