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Catching up with the Flyers

We look at where the 2014-15 are, and where they may be going

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

As the season is about to begin, we reached out and touched base with some division foes, and asked some questions that we though would be relevant for the Pittsburgh Penguins fans to know.

Who better to start with than those hated Flyers? The Pens and Flyers only play 4 times this regular season- which seems kind of low for a division foe in an 82 game season, with games in Pittsburgh on October 22nd and April 1, and games in the smelly side of the commonwealth on January 20th and April 5th.

Thanks to Broad Street Hockey and Travis Hughes for hitting us up with the 4-1-1.

#1: After a down and then up year last season, it seems like expectations are fairly low, generally, among Flyers fans for 2014-15. Why the pessimism from what’s usually an optimistic fan base this time of year?

This is a tough one to answer, largely because there’s that standard optimism you speak of. Lots of people are always optimistic and always expecting that the Flyers will be a playoff team, and with a new general manager and the first year under Craig Berube, lots of people are trying to make the argument that they’re going to be a playoff team again.

They might be, but that’s not going to be a result of the division being bad as a whole, not because they’re a strong team. The Flyers will be decisively mediocre this year, and that’s for a number of reasons: potential regression from Steve Mason, a significantly weakened defense, and special teams units that are hopefully as strong as a year ago but easily might not be. It’s going to be an interesting year.

#2: Who is the breakout young player of the season that most Pens fan may not know yet, but will by the end of the season?

Shayne Gostisbehere. He’s in the AHL now, but if the Flyers defense struggles like we all think they were, I could imagine Ghost being called up before 20 games are through.

#3: Who is going to replace Scott Hartnell on the Giroux/Voracek line?

Brayden Schenn. He really needs to break out offensively and this finally might be the year he does. I mean, he’s playing with Giroux. Now’s the time.

#4: What is the most discouraging personnel move the Flyers made in the offseason? What’s the most encouraging?

They didn’t really make a lot of moves. All of the ones they did make were minor and not really all that impactful, aside from one: changing general managers. Paul Holmgren was a fine GM, despite his penchant for doing insane things, but bringing Ron Hextall into the fold is a big deal. He thinks a bit differently than Holmgren did. A lot more intelligently in terms of things like the salary cap and general philosophy on how to build a team from within. It’s really encouraging, and hopefully he’s able to stick to his guns.

#5: Other than Crosby/Malkin, if you could pick one Penguin, free of charge (and the salary cap magically doesn’t count) to join the Flyers for this season, who would it be, and why?

Rick Tocchet?

Probably Kris Letang. We all know he has his flaws, but the Flyers need an offensive defenseman like nothing else, and he’d immediately help the Flyers in so many ways.