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Flyers Rooting Guide for 2024 Stanley Cup Final

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Panthers head coach Paul Maurice was a Flyers draft pick nearly 40 years ago. (Photo: AP)

On one side, representing the Western Conference, is Kris Knoblauch and the Edmonton Oilers. The other, representing the Eastern Conference, is Paul Maurice and the Florida Panthers. The two coaches, who both have ties to the Philadelphia Flyers organization, will do battle this month in the 2024 Stanley Cup Final.

Knoblauch is a former Flyers assistant coach, while Maurice was drafted by the Flyers 252nd overall in the 12th round of the 1985 NHL Draft. If you never knew that Maurice was once a Flyers prospect, consider subscribing to Philly Hockey Now.

Aside from the obvious, which is winning the Stanley Cup, there’s a little bit at stake for the Flyers. Right now, Philadelphia has two first-round picks in the 2024 NHL Draft, and one of them belongs to the Panthers. Though there probably won’t be much of a difference at this point, that pick will either be the 31st or 32nd overall pick, depending on if Florida wins or loses the Stanley Cup Final.

And of course, you can feel free to root for Florida, especially if you’re attached to some of their former Flyers. The big one, obviously, is Sergei Bobrovsky, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner and one of the best goalies of the modern era. Bobrovsky’s backup is none other than Anthony Stolarz, the player the Flyers drafted to replace Bobrovsky and also ended up moving on from via trade.

Then there’s former Flyers prospect Nick Cousins, who was the 68th overall pick in the third round of the 2011 draft. He played in 107 regular season games for Philadelphia before bouncing around the NHL and sticking in Florida for the last two seasons.

From the Oilers, in addition to Knoblauch, are some Flyers you’d only remember if you have a strong memory. One is forward Sam Gagner, who scored eight goals and eight assists in 53 games in 2015-16 in addition to his two assists in six playoff games. He also spent nine games in the AHL with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Would it be a surprise if I told you that Gagner joined Bobrovsky on the Columbus Blue Jackets the following season and scored a career-high 50 points?

Another is backup goalie Calvin Pickard who, if you painfully remember, was one of the eight goalies that started a game for the Flyers in the 2018-19 season. He went 4-2-2 in 11 games with a paltry .863 save percentage and would loiter in the Detroit Red Wings organization for three seasons before joining Edmonton last year.

Joining Knoblauch on the bench is Hockey Hall of Famer and former Flyers defenseman Paul Coffey, who scored 55 of his 1,531 NHL points in 94 games with Philadelphia.

And there you have it! Game 1 of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final will take place on Saturday, June 8, at 8 p.m. at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Florida.

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