Fixing the Flyers: the defense
Some facts and figures about the players on defense for the Flyers.
2.94: Goals against per game for the Flyers in 2013.
141: Total goals allowed in 48 games.
10th: Rank in team defense in East.
2.83: Goals against per game for the Flyers in 2011-12.
46-40-52: Goals allowed by period for the Flyers, from first to third. The Flyers allowed the fifth-most goals league-wide in both the first and third periods, arguably the two biggest junctures of any hockey game.
68 percent: Goals the Flyers allowed at even strength, five-on-five play. The total of 96 goals allowed was eighth-highest in the NHL.
85.9 percent: Penalty-killing success rate, which ranked fifth in the NHL. The Flyers are just the fifth team since 1971 to finish in the top five in both special-teams categories and not qualify for the playoffs.
1,316: Total hits dished out by the
Flyers, fifth most in the league.
255: Takeaways by the Flyers, third fewest in the NHL.
Minus-18: Team plus/minus for the season, fifth worst in the NHL.
Luke Schenn: He was easily the Flyers' most noticeable defenseman over the final month of the shortened season. Schenn can be relied upon to lead the second pair next season.
Andrej Meszaros: It's fair to wonder at this point whether Meszaros' body can withstand the rigors of the NHL. He has played just 73 games over two seasons since winning the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the Flyers' best defenseman, missing time with back and shoulder surgeries.
Ranking the Flyers' young defensemen in order of best chance to make the opening-night lineup:
1. Erik Gustafsson: Peter Laviolette heaped praise on Gustafsson during the final 10 games of the season. Gustafsson, who is representing Sweden for the first time at the World Championships, was clearly a different and more confident player after his March 28 call-up.
2. Oliver Lauridsen: Probably the Flyers' most pleasant surprise of the season on defense. Needs to be more mobile, but provided a physical presence in first 15 NHL games.
3. Marc-Andre Bourdon: If he can rebound from two concussions in 6 months, Bourdon would be even higher on this list. He hasn't played an AHL game since last November.
4. Mark Alt: The Flyers convinced Alt, a second-round pick, to leave Minnesota prior to his senior season. Alt had a huge drop-off in points for the Golden Gophers last season, but his skating and puck-moving capabilities make him an interesting prospect.
5. Brandon Manning: Only played six games with the Flyers this season, but seemed to gain more confidence with each shift at the NHL level.
- Frank Seravalli