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October 02, 2015

What they’re saying: Giroux, Voracek among the Top-25 NHL players

The hockey coverage over at TSN is generally very good. They have a team of writers dedicated to legal analysis, trade rumors, breaking news, analytics, and almost every angle you could think of to cover the NHL. So when they release a Top-50 NHL Players List, it generates plenty of discussion.

Both of the Flyers’ big guns cracked the league’s best 25 players, but they are moving in opposite directions. After being ranked 3rd, 10th, and 11th the last three seasons, Claude Giroux “falls” to 18th. And after being unranked for his whole career, Jake Voracek vaulted all the way up to 24th. An 81-point season tends to do that for you.

Unsurprisingly, Sidney Crosby tops the list. And look away, Flyers fans, because Voracek publicly praises Crosby in the article:

"I think he's on top, rightfully so, to be honest," said Flyers forward Jakub Voracek, who joined the Top 50 club for the first time. "He had 84 points last year and everybody's saying what a down season he had. I had 81 points and everybody said how great of a season I had.

"The guy has been on top since he got into the league. It's pretty impressive that he's been at the same level for so long, considering the injuries he's had in his career. Different people have different opinions, but I think if you were to ask players, they would say Crosby is on top."

Following Crosby on the list are Jonathan Toews, Carey Price, John Tavares, and Alex Ovechkin. No other Flyers cracked the Top 50.

Other Flyers news, notes and analysis from around the web:

Ranking every starting goalie into tiers: Craig Custance, ESPN Insider

Custance compiles his rankings by consulting a number of evaluators currently working in the NHL. Steve Mason ranked tied for 14th overall:

Mason climbed into the top half of the rankings with another strong season in Philadelphia, but nobody saw more variance in the ratings than him. One NHL head coach gave him a 1.5, suggesting he’s right on the verge of joining the league’s elite goalies. “Look at his save percentage last season,” he said, defending his rating. “They really missed him when he was out.”

Another head coach gave him a 3.5, which would put him near the bottom. “He was much better last year, but I haven’t seen him play consistent enough hockey,” said the Western Conference coach. “I want to see him win.”

Flyers lose Porter in waivers: Jeff Neiburg, Philadelphia Daily News

This was Thursday’s big news. Chris Porter’s hard work in training camp paid off, as the Minnesota Wild claimed him off waivers:

The Flyers were hopeful Porter would add to their organizational depth at the forward spot. He would have served value at the AHL level being around the organization's younger talent, as well as providing a serviceable call-up to the NHL level as a player with plenty of professional experience.

"I think whenever you lose a guy to waivers, you don't expect it but it happens," general manager Ron Hextall said. "It's the rules. Good for Chris."

"He's kind of what we thought he would be. He did a good job and had a good preseason."

SB Nation Flyers Season Preview: Broad Street Hockey

SB Nation has all of their team blogs team up to put together a sharp looking preview, and the Flyers section is very good. Within that team preview, there are a bunch of sections. Here is Charlie O’Connor on the Flyers’ best-case scenario this season:

Hakstol’s fresh ideas from college create a dynamic offensive machine built upon calculated risk-taking and sound neutral zone play. Mason puts up another Vezina-caliber performance and convinces all remaining doubters of his elite status. Medvedev proves a KHL stalwart can excel in the NHL, stabilizing the defense. More help comes early, as one of the prized AHL blueline prospects (Gostisbehere, Hagg, Morin) earns a call-up and is immediately effective. The first line remains elite, and either Giroux or Voracek takes a run at the Art Ross.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann