Meltzer’s Musings: Improving on Last Season’s Benchmarks, Quick Hits

HOW WILL 2014-15 FLYERS COMPARE TO LAST SEASON'S BENCHMARKS?

New Flyers general manager Ron Hextall has said repeatedly over the offseason that the primary way he wants to use analytics -- both readily available statistics and proprietary benchmarks -- is to help the team on the ice rather than as the basis of roster moves. In a nutshell, Hextall sees it as a tool for identifying specific game

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Meltzer’s Musings: Five-on-Five Play Will Tell the Tale, Quick Hits

FLYERS IMPROVEMENTS NEED TO START AT EVEN STRENGTH

If the Flyers are to remain a playoff team in 2014-15, it is imperative that they continue to improve their play at even strength. Power plays and penalty kills run hot and run cold over the course of the season, even for the best clubs in these categories. In the meantime, strong two-way play at five-on-five is the backbone of sustained succes

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Meltzer’s Musings: Simmonds, Wearing the A, Quick Hits

SIMMONDS AN EMERGING LEADER ON FLYERS

Whether his team wins or loses or whether he records a point, Flyers second line right winger Wayne Simmonds is inevitably one of the hardest working players on the ice. Generating speed and power that belie the skinny legs that power his 6-foot-2 frame, the rugged Simmonds has emerged as one of the better combinations of physicality and goal-scoring abilit

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Meltzer’s Musings: Roster Battles, Quick Hits

TRAINING CAMP ROSTER BATTLES: HANDFUL OF SPOTS, ROLES UP FOR GRABS

With the exceptions of the trade that sent Scott Hartnell to the Columbus Blue Jackets and the August revelation of Kimmo Timonen's medical issues that could force him to miss much or all of the 2014-15 season, this has been a quiet summer for the Flyers. The team made no other trades. There were no major free agent signings, u

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Meltzer’s Musings: Remembering McCrimmon, Quick Hits

Three years ago today, new Lokomotiv Yaroslavl head coach Brad McCrimmon and his KHL team were en route from Yaroslavl to their regular season opener in Minsk, Belarus. They never made it. Their chartered plane caught fire and crashed moments after takeoff. The entire team and coaching staff perished.

A subsequent investigation revealed that not only was the Yak 42 plane itself outmoded and un

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Meltzer’s Musings: Prospect Updates, Quick Hits

FLYERS PROSPECT UPDATES

* QMJHL: Flyers 2013 first-round pick Samuel Morin was plus-two in Rimouski's 4-1 preseason win over Acadie-Bathurst on Friday night. Morin did not record a point but the defenseman was credited with four shots on goal and two hits. Teammate Beau Rusk, an invitee to the Flyers' upcoming rookie camp, was even in the game with no points, one shot and one hit.

* QMJHL: F

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Meltzer’s Musings: Can Couturier Grow His Offensive Game?

Through his first three NHL seasons, Flyers center Sean Couturier has rapidly emerged as one of the better shutdown forwards in the league. Last season, Couturier finished ninth in the Selke Trophy balloting. That may not sound impressive, but the 21-year-old was the youngest forward in the NHL to finish in the top 20 of the voting for the NHL's best defensive forward.

Entering his fourth pro s

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Meltzer’s Musings: Rookie Camp and Game, Quick Hits

ROOKIE CAMP SCHEDULE, GAME ANNOUNCED

The Philadelphia Flyers announced yesterday that rookie camp at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ, will get underway on Friday, Sept. 12. One week later, full training camp officially starts for the organization's NHL roster.

On Tuesday, Sept. 16, the Flyers rookies will play the Washington Capitals rookies at the Skate Zone. Game time is 3 p.m. EDT. The ma

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Meltzer’s Musings: Rinaldo Contract Extension, Prospect Updates, Quick Hits

FLYERS SIGN RINALDO TO TWO-YEAR EXTENSION

Yesterday, the Flyers announced that they had signed left winger Zac Rinaldo to a two-year contract extension. The new deal kicks in for the 2015-16 season. Rinaldo makes $750,000 under his current deal, which runs through the end of 2014-15. He will get a $100,000 per season raise come the following two seasons.

Rinaldo can become an unrestricted f

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Meltzer’s Musings: On Mason, the Trapezoid, and Regression; Quick Hits

CHANGING THE TRAPEZOID

Earlier this summer, I had a lengthy discussion with former Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher about a variety of goaltending related topics. One of the more interesting things to come out of the conversation was the fact that Boucher is among the seeming minority who does not mind the trapezoid and the corresponding rules restricting goaltenders' puck-playing ability behind

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