As much as the Flyers’ goaltending was both praised and maligned this past season (see story), nothing dominated the team’s overall consciousness like its defense.

Start to finish, the Flyers were mostly a reconstruction project on the blue line because of injuries and a poor offseason.

From the get-go, the Flyers were worse off than last season because Chris Pronger wasn’t coming back and Matt Carle was headed back to Tampa Bay. When GM Paul Holmgren struck out with Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, the Flyers were doomed.

Four games into the lockout-shortened season, the club lost Andrej Meszaros and was still waiting for Erik Gustafsson to recover from injury with the Phantoms, fielding an immobile blue line that wasn’t very skillful with the puck under pressure.

Before the season ended, the Flyers had lost four of their starting six from the season opener and would play 13 different defensemen just to survive.

Pronger? He won’t ever play again. His money will continue to hang in the balance for use when the Flyers need to place someone on long-term injured reserve.