Flyers stay hot in Canada, top Flames 4-1
Sarah Baicker says Claude Giroux will make Team Canada, and Steve Mason will have an extension before season's end. (USA Today Images)
No one sticks to resolutions anyway, so why not make some predictions instead?
Here are five fearless -- and, quite possibly, totally wrong -- Flyers predictions for the new year.
1. Claude Giroux makes Team Canada
OK, it’s not technically a Flyers prediction, but it’s close enough. And it’s been the big question since the team arrived in Canada last week -- to the local Canadian media, anyway. Ahead of the season, Giroux seemed like a lock to make Canada’s 2014 Olympic team. But after his slow start to the season -- and 15-game goalless drought -- his place on the roster was no longer set in stone. Well, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Giroux makes it. If the selection committee is truly looking at players’ whole careers and not just their recent play, he deserves it. Plus, if Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman caught Giroux’s goal Monday in Vancouver, it’s possible the decision is already made.
2. Flyers sign Steve Mason before season's end …
We know they’ve been discussing it, but I say the Flyers ink Mason sooner rather than later. They won’t wait until he’s a restricted free agent this summer in hopes of saving a few bucks. Instead, they’ll sign him as soon as they’re able. Multiple years, and probably a little more money than fans will approve of. The more things change, right?
3. … And Ray Emery won’t be a Flyer next season
For Ray Emery, this season was more about proving he’s worthy of a long-term, substantial deal somewhere than anything else. That’s why the Flyers got him for so cheap (one year at $1.65 million). But with Mason practically a lock as the Flyers’ goalie of the future, Emery doesn’t fit in here -- at least, not how he wants to. It’s no secret Emery would prefer to be a starter. And he’ll find a gig somewhere else.
4. Brayden Schenn won’t be a Flyer next season either
Of all the young Flyers whose contracts came up for renewal over the past season or so, Schenn is the only one who remains unsigned. He’ll be a restricted free agent come summertime. And you know what? I don’t think he’ll be a Flyer when 2014-15 rolls around, either. Nothing against Schenn, but I just don’t see him as a necessary piece of the Flyers’ puzzle -- and I don’t think he’s grown into the player the Flyers have been waiting on. It’s not unreasonable to suggest he could get dealt at the trade deadline, either.
5. Michael Raffl isn’t the long-term solution
As he said Monday in Vancouver, December has “been a fun month." And he’s done well. After a slow start, Raffl has put together a few multi-point games, and seems to have been the catalyst for the Flyers’ top line’s rejuvenation. But I don’t believe he’s the long-term answer in that position. The Flyers, come the trade deadline or the end of the season, will still be in need of a top-line scoring winger. That said, Raffl, who will be a restricted free agent at the end of this season, will likely get re-signed.