Potential Power Play Lineups for the Philadelphia Flyers
With still a couple of weeks left before training camp begins, there’s still time for roster competitions to play out. You have Cam York vs Keith Yandle for that third left-handed defenseman spot. You have Morgan Frost vs Derick Brassard for the 3C spot. Other then Frost potentially being on PP2 or York making the team and being a QB for one of the units, there won’t be any surprising additions. We’ll have more of an idea towards the end of Training Camp (obviously), but it’s fun to get into potential units, especially with the exciting roster turnover the Flyers have gone through this season.
We’ve all been talking about it since the Flyers shipped Jakub Voracek to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Cam Atkinson, Giroux finally has his “shoot first” guy on his wing. We’ll see how the regular line combinations turn out but if I were Michel Therrien, I’d have to see Giroux with Atkinson on the same power play unit to start the season. Keith Yandle not only brings his iron man streak with him (knock on wood), he brings the ability to QB a power play really well. Ivan Provorov isn’t a bad facilitator, but I wouldn’t call it his strong suit. Ryan Ellis is certainly a possibility here, he’s seen some power play minutes with Nashville over the years, but must be pretty hard to see quality time when you’re playing with Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm. JVR being net-front shouldn’t really surprise anyone, that’s what he’s paid to do, nowhere else for him to be. I debated on switching out Couturier for Farabee with Farabee in the slot on PP1, where he could show off that deceptive shot that seems to get better with each passing year. Ultimately, I ended up keeping Couturier on PP1, but I wouldn’t blame you for switching Couturier and Farabee around.
Before I get into PP2, the Flyers added Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen and Keith Yandle this off-season, all guys who’ve played on the power play on their respective teams. It’s going to be really interesting to see how Michel Therrien deploys all these different players who are used to playing power play minutes. Also now, Provorov who has played on PP1 for a couple years, probably won’t see time. Travis Sanheim who has the ability to run a power play (he did it very well in junior and his time with the Phantoms) has never been given the chance in the NHL. Cam York still has to earn a roster spot, when he does, there’s certainly an argument to be made he’s the best option to run either of the units.
The kid is special at distributing the puck.
This is where things get fun. Hell, I could see them trying Ristolainen net-front on Giroux’s unit and bumping JVR down to the second unit. Speaking of Ristolainen, he’s seen power play time with Buffalo at the point and net-front. The net-front option, considering how many defenseman the Flyers currently have that can run a power play, is really intriguing to me. Ristolainen isn’t just a 6’4, 220lb physical beast, he has some scoring touch, you don’t score 40+ points in the NHL in four separate seasons by accident. If Ristolainen net-front doesn’t work out, I could see guys like Wade Allison or Oskar Lindblom getting a shot there.
In the final games in April, Cam York came up for his 3-game NHL stint, in those games we saw Konecny on the right-wall on Giroux’s unit and I really liked what I saw from TK. We’ve seen Konecny play down-low on the power play, we’ve seen him in the slot, I’d love to see him on that right wall with Hayes feeding him. (Konecny seems to like that drag wrister accepting the pass on his forehand more then a one-timer so that’s why I don’t have him and Hayes switched). Farabee is another player I would love to see get some time on the left wall, but his shot from the slot is something the Flyers need desperately on that unit. Ryan Ellis is no stranger to power play minutes and would be perfect on PP2.
I talked a little about the camp battles in the beginning of the article and two players that could change my units are, Morgan Frost and Cam York. Both of these guys are very close to the NHL and both saw Chuck Fletcher add two veterans (Keith Yandle and Derick Brassard) at their respective positions. While that means the chances of them to make the team decrease a little, it certainly doesn’t mean they don’t have a chance at all, it’s very much still alive for both of them. If Frost has a strong camp and earns a spot on opening night, he’ll figure to be on either of the units, you can’t leave a player with his skillset off both your power plays. York, when he’s finally on the team, (whether it’s out of camp or a call-up) probably wouldn’t be thrown on the first unit, but he’s another player where it’s pretty hard to keep him out of that QB spot, he’s so naturally fluid there.
With Rookie Camp over, the only thing we have to wait for now is Training Camp, the real deal. Things will change, tweaks will end up happening, but one thing is for certain, this Flyers team is going to be different and fun.
Mandatory Credit: Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers