Depth is the key to Flyers' future

Jeff Carter scores on Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson on Wednesday. Carter is expected to have a high-scoring season.
Jeff Carter scores on Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson on Wednesday. Carter is expected to have a high-scoring season.
Posted: October 03, 2010

Here is a look at the Flyers who could make the biggest impact this season:

Forwards

Blair Betts: A penalty-killing and face-off specialist, Betts is trying to bounce back from shoulder and knee surgeries.

Danny Briere: Briere led the NHL with a franchise-record 30 playoff points last season and showed why the Flyers doled out a big contract a few years ago.

Dan Carcillo: With Jody Shelley aboard, Carcillo will concentrate less on the rough stuff and more on finding the back of the net.

Jeff Carter: One of the NHL's top scorers, Carter has netted 79 goals - 33 last season - over the last two years.

Claude Giroux: After a so-so regular season (16 goals), Giroux blossomed and looks headed to stardom.

Bill Guerin: A proven winner trying to beat out three younger players for a roster spot, Guerin adds experience and a scoring touch, especially on the power play.

Scott Hartnell: The Flyers desperately need Hartnell, who excelled in the playoffs, to bounce back from a 14-goal campaign.

Ian Laperriere: He is the Flyers' grittiest player, and his early-season absence (post-concussion syndrome) will leave a void.

Ville Leino: Leino, pilfered from Detroit last season, came of age in the playoffs and is considered a vital cog.

Darroll Powe: A role player, Powe supplies down-and-dirty minutes and is valuable on the penalty kill.

Mike Richards: A tenacious two-way player, he led the Flyers with 61 points last season and will try to improve on his minus-2 rating.

Jody Shelley: The team's new enforcer, Shelley will offer protection for some of the smaller forwards.

James van Riemsdyk: The Flyers are looking for the speedy and more-muscular van Riemsdyk to raise his game after an up-and-down rookie season.

Nikolay Zherdev: With Simon Gagne traded to Tampa Bay, the Flyers need 20-plus-goal production from Zherdev.

Defensemen

Oskars Bartulis: He dropped on the depth chart after the Flyers made some off-season moves, but he showed promise during his rookie season.

Matt Carle: Paired with Chris Pronger, he was the Flyers' most improved player last season and was plus-19.

Braydon Coburn: Coburn hopes to build off a strong playoff, when he was one of the team's defensive workhorses.

Andrej Meszaros: His addition bolsters the defense and takes some of the workload off veterans Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen.

Sean O'Donnell: Signed as a free agent, the veteran was plus-14 with the Kings last season and has 15 NHL seasons on his resumé.

Chris Pronger: The Flyers' MVP, Pronger - who led the team in assists (45), blocks (189), plus-minus (plus-22), and average time on ice (25 minutes, 55 seconds) - is rounding into form after off-season knee surgery.

Kimmo Timonen: Dependable and steady, Timonen is one of the anchors of a defense that is arguably the NHL's best.

Matt Walker, acquired from Tampa Bay in the Simon Gagne deal, adds physicality and shot-blocking skills to the blue line.

Goalies

Johan Backlund: The Flyers like his potential, but hip surgery has set him back.

Sergei Bobrovsky: A phenom in training camp, "Bob" is the Flyers' X-factor and might be a year ahead of schedule.

Brian Boucher: Boucher is steady and solid but probably not the answer for the long haul.

Michael Leighton: He was the Flyers' No. 1 goalie until a back injury clouded his future.

- Sam Carchidi

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