The Philadelphia Flyers open their NHL season Wednesday night at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Each day leading up to the game, Staff Writer John Russo will take a look at the Flyers' personnel at each position. Coming tomorrow: the defensemen)
Position: Left/right wing
While the Flyers are deep down the middle, they are very thin on the edge.
They never found a veteran replacement for Simon Gagne, and instead will look within the organization for that final top-9 forward spot. With general manager Paul Holmgren and coach Peter Laviolette in charge, nothing is set in stone.
Jakub Voracek (2012 stats 22, goals, 24 assists): Voracek, 24, took advantage of a vacancy at right wing on the top line and flourished. His 46 points in 48 games easily would have shattered his career high of 50 points in 81 games in 2009-10 with Columbus had the NHL season been 82 games long rather than 48 due to the lockout.
If Voracek builds on the success of last season, he will no doubt catapult his name into the discussion as an elite young scorer in the NHL. Playing alongside Claude Giroux certainly won't hurt.
Player Needed to Step Up
Scott Hartnell (8 goals, 3 assists): Hartnell is the veteran of the unit now that Daniel Briere (Montreal) is gone. Playing in just 32 games last season due to a broken ankle suffered in the third game, Hartnell never really recovered.
The 31-year-old left winger managed only 11 points all season, bouncing among the first, second and third lines. Now that he's healthy, Hartnell will be back on the top line with Giroux and Voracek.
The New Guy
Tye McGinn (3 goals, 2 assists): McGinn isn't necessarily new (played in 18 games last season), but this could be his opportunity to be a mainstay on the roster with the vacancy at left wing on the third line.
McGinn would have played all of last season, but a broken eye socket suffered in a fight pretty much derailed the 23-year-old's rookie campaign. The Flyers are still trying to figure out their roster and McGinn may not even be on the ice opening night.
Staff Writer John Russo