When Simon Gagne spent the 2007-08 season on the shelf with concussion issues, many downplayed the impact of healthy return. 74 points later, Gagne ranked third on the Flyers in points and was an large part of the team’s success in 2008-09.
For similarly damaged scorer Danny Briere, the same road looks set to be traveled.
“It was a very testing year (last year),” Briere told @Flyersonthefly’s Kevin Kurz. “Testing the patience, especially. Obviously, it didn’t go the way I expected it to go, but it’s in the past now. You try to learn from that. I’m actually very, very excited about our team going into this season. That’s what has been pushing me to work out even harder now.”
Briere played just 29 games last season and was a shell of his former self for a handful of them, as he tried to slowly recover from a groin and abdominal problem. However, what many don’t realize is that Briere scored 25 points during that short span, which over an 82-game season is projected to be 70 points.
Those numbers, close to a point per game, are similar to his 2007-08 totals of 72 points in 79 games. Over the past four relatively healthy seasons between Buffalo and Philly, Briere has averaged 75 points a year.
With the trading of Joffrey’s Lupul’s 50 points and the loss of Mike Knuble’s 47 points to free agency, the Flyers seem to have a giant gap in offensive production heading into next season. But with a healthy Briere, the Flyers should be guaranteed that the 31-year old will out produce Lupul and could very well cut into Knuble’s production as well. Match that with a predicted break-out season from sophomore Claude Giroux and the Flyers offense is not as thin as previously thought.
That is until the next year-long injury strikes.