Season Preview: Three questions with Flyers blog Broad Street Hockey

We’re previewing the season with the experts - other SB Nation blogs!

Next up in our series is arguably last year’s biggest playoff surprise, the Philadelphia Flyers. SB Nation NHL lead Travis Hughes came by to answer three questions for us.

1. The Flyers have four left-shooting defensemen likely to  make opening day roster, as well as Andy MacDonald. What shot does Ivan Provorov have at cracking the roster out of training camp?

I think Provorov's chances are better then 50 percent. The Flyers can  easily send MacDonald to the AHL in the event that they need to make  room for Provorov. There aren't many people that doubt whether or not  Provorov is good enough to play in the NHL, but it's really a question  of whether he's good enough for Ron Hextall. The Flyers GM has been  extremely stingy when it comes to calling up young players -- for  example, injuries were the only reason Shayne Gostisbehere ever got a  chance to play in the NHL last year -- and Provorov is going to have to  do more than just prove he's NHL ready. He's going to have to give  Hextall no choice. I think he's good enough right now to do that, but  we'll see.

2.  Steve Mason seems to have resurrected his career in Philly. That being  said, a bad goal and a great opponent caused him to lose his starting  job to Michal Neuvirth in the playoffs. Do the Flyers actually have a  goaltending controversy, or was it just a case of a bad streak at a bad  time?

I think it's still Mason's net to start the new season, but this is a  big year for both goaltenders for a lot of reasons. Both are free agents  after next season, and while they will probably both get plenty of ice  time, it's going to essentially be a season-long competition to see  which goalie will be here in 2017-18 and beyond. Mason starts with the  upper hand based on his play since being traded to Philadelphia, and his  recent track record is better than Neuvirth's. That said, it's not hard  to imagine the scenario in which Neuvirth steals the job from Mason and  keeps it, if his play in the postseason is any indication of what we'll  see from him this season. The only thing we do know is that one guy  will be here after this season, and that one of the young kids in the  pipeline like Anthony Stolarz or Alex Lyon will try to factor in next  season as well.

3. It seems likely Claude Giroux will lead the Flyers  in points in 2016-17, but who is most likely to come in second? Will  Voracek rebound from a 55-point season, will Wayne Simmonds continue his  goal-scoring prowess, or will someone else rise to the occasion?

I think Voracek will rebound. His uncharacteristically low shooting  percentage of just 5.2% last season was a major factor in his down year  from a scoring perspective, and I would fully expect that to change just  based on his career averages if nothing else. Part of his struggles  stemmed from a rough go of things off the bat last season and he never  really seemed to find his footing over the course of the season. I fully  expect him to score up near 20 goals again this year, if not more, and I  certainly expect him to score more than one power play goal again as  well.

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