Hockey Time; Taking a look at the Flyers heading into Friday’s Season Opener
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I was completely done with the preseason about three games in. I understand the league wants teams to get into a rhythm, especially after barely being able to practice last year, but 6-8 games? You lose me, I’m ready for the real thing.
Giroux – Couturier – Konecny
AV admitted conversations between him and the coaching staff happened involving moving Giroux to center, but they decided against it. I personally think this is the right move, I’d rather try Brassard as 2C and move Laughton to 3C then move Giroux at center right now. I just think at this point in his career, he’s better suited where he is, plus this line has been really fun this camp. They have a chance to have a big year this season, and need too if the Flyers want to make the playoffs.
Farabee – Brassard – Atkinson
One of the new lines we have now that Frost is in the AHL, Chuck Fletcher is testing his FA signings early with Brassard taking on a bigger role. Atkinson had 3 goals during the preseason, scoring twice Friday night in Washington. It’s really nice finally having a shoot-first player on this team, Cam is going to be really fun to watch this season.
Lindblom – Laughton – JVR
I thought they were going to go with the JVR – Laughton – Farabee line who had some success last season. Instead, they go with Lindblom, who is looking like he’s starting to play like he did before he was diagnosed, so this line could be really fun. Some people might have a problem with Laughton at center and you defintely have an arguement, but right now, this is their best option.
Brown – Thompson – NAK
Flyers claimed VGK forward, Patrick Brown from waivers on Monday. Not going to act like I know a lot about Patrick, other then the fact that I see a ton of Vegas fans genuinely upset that he’s gone. Seems like a good 12th forward who brings energy and is sound defensively. Brown will wear #38 with the Flyers, last worn by Derek Grant, and WILL be in the line-up Friday night against Vancouver. NAK has looked good this camp, seems to have a jump in his step, he really needs to have a good year. Thompson left practice early today, a little while after he collided with Zamula. Keep an eye on that with the season opener three days away.
Provorov – Ellis
Nothing surprising here, this is easily the most excited I’ve been to watch a new defensive pairing in a really long time. It’s only been preseason but you can already tell how much room and confidence Ellis gives Provorov. Ellis hasn’t practice in 3 straight days (Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday), and with the season starting in three days it’s something to keep an eye on. Flyers keep calling it maintenance days, and it very well could be, but I’d be lying if I’m not starting to get a little worries about him. Still, the Flyers still have a little ways to go before they play, they could just be being very cautious with him.
Sanheim – Ristolainen
Another pair that has a chance to be a fan-favorite. We’ve already seen the physicality that Ristolainen brings to the lineup, something we just blatantly missed last year. Friday nights game against Washington was a great preview to this new-look team not taking any shit, they stick up for each other. Ristolainen is another one who has missed some practices the last couple days as well. He was on the ice with skills coach, Angelo Ricco before practice, but didn’t join the big group. Another situation where they could just be acting cautious with him, but definitely something to keep an eye on.
Yandle – Braun
Yandle already brings tremendous value to the lineup off the ice, it’s like having another Kevin Hayes in the locker room. On the ice, he can QB a power play in his sleep and is still good enough defensivly to be a fine 3rd pairing guy with Justin Braun.
Hart looks to bounce back in a big way and Chuck Fletcher has certainly put a new-look defense in-front of him. Now, it’s time to see if all of Chucks off-season moves were the right ones. Obviously, it’ll take some time for this team to gel and get going, I’m not one to start screaming a week into the season but we definitely need to see this team and Carter Hart, get off to a hot start.
Mandatory Credit: Heather Barry Images