Five Flyers tops in NHL at their position

Chris Pronger was tabbed as the 3rd best defenseman in the NHL.

As we enter the second and final week of the [excruciatingly long] preseason schedule, the Hockey News came out with its annual prediction issue.

Neither the media – chosen by THN – or a collective group of fans picked the Flyers to win the Stanley Cup.

However, a few Flyers were mentioned elsewhere in the magazine, particularly in the Top 20 at each position:

Mike Richards was picked as the 9th best center in the NHL, while teammate Jeff Carter was listed as the 16th best. Sidney Crosby won top honors in that position.

THN predicted Richards to lead the Flyers with 74 points this season, the lowest total of any player in the Atlantic division:

Team   Player         Projection
PIT       S. Crosby         116 pts
NJ        I. Kovalchuk      89 pts
NYI      J. Tavares          81 pts
NYR     M. Gaborik       80 pts
PHI       M. Richards      74 pts

Alex Ovechkin was the best left winger listed. Shocking. No Flyer made that list. Interestingly, Simon Gagne – who was dealt to Tampa Bay on July 19 – was listed as the 19th best LWer.

Danny Briere was picked as the 14th best right winger, with Chicago’s Patrick Kane earning the top spot on the right side. As an aside, I think this will be Briere's best season as a Flyer so far.

No Flyer goaltender was listed in the Top 20, something that won't surprise anyone. Only one of the goalies available this summer – Stanley Cup winner Antti Niemi – made the cut, at No. 15.

Chris Pronger (3rd) and Kimmo Timonen (13th) both made the list for top defensemen. Chicago’s Duncan Keith and LA’s Drew Doughty were the only ones to finish above Pronger, who beat out sure Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom and Washington’s Mike Green, among others.

As we noted back in August, the Hockey News picked the Flyers to finish in fourth in the Eastern Conference as a runner-up to Pittsburgh in the Atlantic division.

If you’re wondering what my predictions are for this upcoming season, well… you’ll just have to wait until our annual Flyers season preview on Oct. 7.

Until then, I’d be interested to see what you think.

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