Beyond The Benches

Five Flyers Needed for a Deep Run

Not many believed the Philadelphia Flyers would be cup contenders after the 2013-14 season began.  Former head coach Peter Laviolette was quickly dismissed when the Flyers suffered a 0-3 start after missing the post-season in the previous lockout-shortened campaign.

Laviolette was replaced by assistant coach Craig Berube and the Flyers finished their opening month of this season with a 3-8-0 record.  This is Berube’s seventh season on Philadelphia’s coaching staff but his first as “Bench Boss.”  It appears that he has turned the ship around and the Flyers look like a dangerous team heading into the playoffs.

Here are the Top Five Players that Philly will need:

5.  Matt Read, RW

Matt Read is one of those players who can catch teams by surprise. Read isn’t the biggest of checking line right wingers, but his speed and tenacity make up for any physical shortcomings.  He is often placed on the ice with the highly praised Sean Couturier and he compliments his center’s scoring game and is on pace to hit 40 points this season. Look for Read to be the one to jam home a shorthanded goal or an overtime game-winner come April.

4.  Brayden Schenn, C

  The youthful, Saskatoon-native should have plenty of energy this post-season.  Schenn is the second-line center for the Flyers in his first full-time stint with the club.  The younger of the Schenn brothers, Brayden brings offensive upside and exudes aggressiveness.  He has been known to drop the gloves from time to time, but the Philadelphia faithful will be looking for goal support from Schenn this Spring.

3.  Andrew MacDonald, D

 The recently acquired defenseman is ready to prove that he deserves top dollar.  MacDonald was traded to the Flyers by the Islanders because the future UFA’s asking price was too high.  The playoffs are the time to make Paul Holmgren and co. believers that he is worth the cash.  MacDonald is already averaging more than 20 minutes per game and looks capable of shutting down opponent’s top line forwards with linemate Mark Streit.

2. Claude Giroux, C

This list would be incomplete without including Flyers’ captain Claude Giroux.  He leads the team in scoring despite being held without a goal for the first 15 games this season.  This Flyers team will only go as far as Giroux takes them.  Giroux is the ‘make it or break it’ factor for Philadelphia and he has only played better since being snubbed to go to Sochi by Team Canada.

1. Steve Mason, G

You’re only as good as your goaltending once the second season begins and Philadelphia is no exception.  Mason is the unfortunate bearer of circumstance because it seems Philadelphia has not had a dependable goalie since the Ron Hextall era! However, Mason has the ability to steal games and has held a better than .900 SV% throughout the 2013-2014 season.  Mason should be able to win games with Philadelphia’s defense but it will be a quick post-season if he plays anything less than exceptional.


James Stolfi is a hockey fan/ former goalie turned journalist from the New York metro area. A recent college graduate, majoring in Digital Media/Broadcast Production. He can be contacted on twitter @JamesStolfi.