Philadelphia Flyers Season Preview

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They’re going to win the Stanley Cup, right?

What do you mean they won’t? They acquired 35-year-old Chris Pronger for four first-round draft picks (two future ones, two previous ones).

What do you mean that doesn’t matter? They have Ray Emery to hold the fort between the pipes.

Still no?

Fine, you’re right.

The fact of the matter is that while the Philadelphia Flyers seemingly are one step closer to getting over that hump to advance to the Cup finals, in actuality they’ve taken a few steps back.

It is no secret that the Flyers acquired Pronger to stop the likes of Crosby, Malkin and/or Alexander Ovechkin. But do you really think three elite, still emerging, award-winning forwards are shaking in their ice skates at the thought of a 35-year-old immobile pylon playing defense against them?

Of course not.

And if he will be as effective as Flyers Nation believes, is it enough to advance to the Stanley Cup finals?

It doesn’t appear as if, frankly.

To acquire Pronger the Flyers gave up Joffrey Lupul and Luca Sbisa. While they aren’t the most dynamic players the NHL has ever scene, they carry with them the type of repertoire required for the “New NHL,” i.e. mobility, speed and skill.

Pronger is what the old NHL was about. Someone who will clutch and grab and impede, among other things.

The Flyers lost to the Penguins the past two seasons because they couldn’t compete with Pittsburgh’s offensive talent and depth. Goaltending was an issue, too.

Philadelphia might very well see much of the same in 2009-10. They’ve lost a top-six forward and mobility on defense. As for Ray Emery, he is an usher and will gladly escort black rubber pucks to their seat, the net.

The Flyers have a lot of great players on their team. They were a correct move or two away from being the team that could compete against Pittsburgh and Washington.

Instead, they blew it.

Let’s remember that if the Flyers finish 82-0-0, it will mean nothing unless they advance to the Cup finals. That’s what their organizational goal is.

They may do well in the regular season, and even in the playoffs, but they don’t have enough to get over the hump. The deadline may reveal otherwise, but for now, don’t plan any parades, Philadelphia.

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