Top Flyers players to watch as stretch run arrives

Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn must step up his game in the season's second half if the team hopes to climb higher in the playoff standings. Credit: Getty Images
Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn must step up his game in the season’s second half if the team hopes to climb higher in the playoff standings. Credit: Getty Images

It goes without saying than spurned Olympian Claude Giroux, goaltending salvation Steve Mason and top guns Wayne Simmonds, Jake Voracek and Scott Hartnell will be the keys to the Flyers success — or should they fail to deliver — failure.

And it likely won’t hurt their cause that among the Flyers’ five Olympians only bronze medalist Kimmo Timonen of Finland was fully extended in Sochi. Here are some under-the-radar Flyers to watch down the stretch.

Brayden Coburn

The leader in seniority on the team — yet still only 28-years-old — Coburn’s played erratically on the blue line. However, he has the speed and guile to still be an effective defenseman, who can both clear the crease and move the puck. This has been Coburn’s poorest season in a while, but there’s still time to turn that around.

Vincent Lecavalier

Hard to imagine lumping a career 395-goal scorer into this category, but it’s been a strange season for the Flyers’ prize free agent acquisition. For years an All-Star center in Tampa Bay, he’s been forced to re-invent himself here, now shifted to left wing. Plagued by injuries it’s been a struggle to this point, Vinny netting only 12 goals and 23 points. Perhaps the time off will finally enable the Lecavalier the Flyers thought they were getting to emerge.

Luke Schenn

The trade of James van Riemsdyk to Toronto for Brayden Schenn’s older brother is a cautionary tale what can happen when you give up on a player too soon. While Luke Schenn has underperformed on the Flyers backline, frequently committing defensive lapses leading to goals, JVR has blossomed into the scoring threat the Flyers always hoped he’d be North of the Border. Before the break Schenn finally seemed to be playing much better. Now can he sustain it?

Sean Couturier

Now, two and a half seasons since he made the club straight out of juniors, Couturier continues to excel as a checking center who can shut down the big guns. Valuable as that is, the Flyers thought they’d get more than that from a player who had consecutive 96 point seasons in juniors. But with just 26 career goals and 70 points in 182 games it looks like what you’ve seen so far from Couturier will be what you get.

Ray Emery

With 23 games in 46 days, starting goalie Steve Mason can’t play them all. That means the Flyers will need more of the Emery who shut down Calgary in the final game before the break than the one who went two and a half months between wins on home ice. Used sporadically, Emery has often made the tough save but let in the soft goal, which made it hard for Berube to trust him. But with the schedule so jumbled he’ll need his backup netminder to do his part.

Michael Raffl

How much will his Olympic experience for Austria help this versatile right wing, who’d been making steady progress since coming up from the minors? Craig Berube has shown no hesitation using anywhere from top line to checking line and he even won a shootout with a slick goal. Having held his own with the best players in Sochi the 25-year-old Raffl should be brimming with confidence, too.

Mark Streit

Playing for Switzerland, Streit’s solid play on the defense was a large reason the Swiss played three straight 1-0 games.  Now he’ll try to build on that. The Flyers committed four years and $21 million to the now 36-year-old who was supposed to bolster the power play, but has been inconsistent much of the season.

Steve Downie

Three years removed for a 22-goal scoring season, the acquisition of Downie for penalty killing specialist Max Talbot has backfired so far. Not only has he struggled offensively with just two goals in 39 games, he’s taken dumb penalties at the worst times and has been benched a couple of games as a result. There’s talent here, but so far Downie’s second tour as a Flyers has been a bust.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…