Last season for Daniel Briere was one that nobody saw coming. Having put up 68 points the previous season, the Flyers fans were looking forward to another successful year out of Briere.
Unfortunately, it was a rather slow season for the 34 year-old forward. He went from a 68 point season to a season in which he only scored 16 goals and had 33 assists.
At one point, Briere went 29 games without scoring on a net that was being tended by a goalie (1 empty net goal). Obviously, that is not good.
Danny Briere was stellar in the playoffs as usual. When the playoffs ended, he was part of a 7-way tie for most goals having 8 of them. All of the players that were part of that tie, with the exception of Briere and his teammate Claude Giroux, played in the Stanley Cup Finals:
The above list shows why Briere is referred to as "Mr. Playoffs". Danny is a leader throughout the entire regular season, but how able he is to rise to the occasion in the playoffs sets him aside from most players in the league.
Briere's playoff performance might not be convincing enough for some people that he just had a rough season. Is he starting to get worn down? Is his age starting to get the better of him? Some people would think that, but I'd have to disagree.
This is an interesting thought that I had that could possibly be an explanation for this rare season that Briere had..
As we all know, the Hartnell-Briere-Leino line had tremendous chemistry in 2010-11. Suddenly, Ville Leino signs with Buffalo and Scott Hartnell is moved up to the first line. Does this create an uncomfortable situation for Briere? It is possible. The unfamiliarity may have gotten to Leino too, who produced 28 points less last season than in the previous one.
At age 34, I believe that Briere will still be a good player in this league for a few more years.
Although he is one of the smaller players in this league at 5-foot-10, 179lbs, Danny uses his speed to his advantage, which makes him quite effective. He operates very well behind the net and is easily one of the best players on the powerplay unit. His puck-handling ability is natural, making him one of the elite playmakers in the league. Briere also has a fantastic shot, allowing him to pick corners to beat opposing goaltenders.
Briere's poor season may have just been a fluke. Having been separated from the players he was used to playing with could have been a factor. Every player has a rough season, and that may have been Danny's.
Flyers fans should not be worried about Danny Briere. He will continue to be an outstanding leader on this young team. I believe that he will have a great season (whenever that may start) like we are all used to seeing from him.
Andrew Dintino is a Lead Contributer/Flyers Analyst for Buzz on Broad and the head Flyers writer for The Hockey House.
You can follow him on twitter @AndrewD48 for all of the latest happenings regarding the Philadelphia Flyers.