During the season, the Flyers downplayed the loss of Kimmo Timonen, but right winger Jake Voracek conceded Monday that the defenseman's absence left a huge void.
"Kimmo was such a big presence in the locker room, leadership-wise," Voracek said as the Flyers packed up their belongings at their Voorhees practice facility. "Ever since I've been here, every time things didn't go well, we had a meeting about it. He always calmed things down. He would be hard on us as well sometimes, because as a team, we needed to get better. I think that's what we were missing."
Timonen was sidelined by blood clots before he was traded to Chicago in February.
Voracek said everyone tried to fill the void, "but overall, we didn't have a Kimmo."
Goalie Steve Mason was one of the team's most vocal players in the locker room and said he plans to have a bigger role next season. The leaders need to "continue to grow into that role and be better at it," he said. "We have to be more stern with one another."
"It wasn't good enough and it needs to get better," coach Craig Berube said, adding that players can mature into leaders. "We need more guys to understand the importance of it."
The draft lottery will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday, and the Flyers have a 6.5 percent chance of winning it and earning the right to select center Connor McDavid.
"He's a franchise guy," said defenseman Luke Schenn, who added that his recent abdominal surgery will not hinder his offseason workout routine.
Buffalo, which finished last in the 30-team league, has a 20 percent chance of getting the top pick in the June 26 draft.
Guiding the goalie
Mason, who finished third in the NHL with a .928 save percentage, said he believed he was "knocking on the door" of being among the top goalies. He is expected to have input on the new goalie coach that will be hired, Berube said.
Ex-Flyer Ilya Bryzgalov, who was at the Skate Zone because of his son's involvement with a youth team, kidded that he was available for the coaching job. He is still trying to sell his Haddonfield house.
Andrew MacDonald, wearing a soft cast on his fractured right hand and coming off a disappointing season, said he put added pressure on himself this year because of the six-year, $30 million contract he signed. . . . Prospective unrestricted free agents Ryan White and Chris VandeVelde said they hope to re-sign with the Flyers.