Monday, October 30, 2017

Are The 2017 Eagles Better Than The 2004 Eagles?

Looks like we're headed for a... breakdown! (RIP Tom Petty)

Quarterback: Donovan McNabb vs. Carson Wentz

Look man, I don't want to disparage McNabb's career. He gets way too much shit from Eagles fans because he never led us all the way to a Lombardi Trophy, but he's the most accomplished Eagles quarterback since Norm Van Brocklin.

That said, I think we really might have something special on our hands with Carson Wentz. Throw out the physical tools - which he obviously has - because what really excites me about Wentz is his attitude.

His Players Tribune piece is a great example of his demeanor as a player. He welcomes contact, he doesn't expect to be treated special because he's a quarterback, and I don't think I've seen him complain on the field during his entire career.

The other obvious aspect of Wentz that we need to address is his religion. I'm not a very religious person, and it generally annoys me if athletes are especially in-your-face about their beliefs. Wentz is, unquestionably, a religious person - but I never feel like he's forcing it on anybody. I think he genuinely just wants to believe what he believes, and so far that has manifested itself in a team without distraction or controversy. That type of locker room leadership, especially as this magical soon-to-be-25-year-old ages, should draw comparisons to another NFL locker room with a steady leader at the helm.

Running Backs: Brian Westbrook, Dorsey Levens, Reno Mahe vs. LeGarrette Blount, Weldell Smallwood, Corey Clement

I love Brian Westbrook. It's probably a little bit of a Villanova thing, but he's probably my favorite Eagle from that early-2000's team. But I think the overall talent level of Blount-Smallwood-Clement is just too much for Dorsey Levens and Reno Mahe to match up with.

Maybe that 2003 team with Correll Buckhalter and Duce Staley could match up, but not the 2004 version.

Receivers: Terrell Owens, Todd Pinkston, LJ Smith, Chad Lewis, Freddie Mitchell, Greg Lewis vs. Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffeey, Nelson Agholor, Torrey Smith, Trey Burton, Mack Hollins

TO was fifth in the league in receiving yards per game in 2004 and third in the league in receiving touchdowns. Pinkston was third in the league with 18.8 yards per reception. LJ Smith scored five touchdowns. Freddie Mitchell.. uh... well okay let's move on to this year's team.

Ertz is seventh among all players (not just tight ends) in receptions, eighth in receiving yards, and third in receiving touchdowns. Agholor is tied for sixth in receiving touchdowns. The other four from this year's team group nicely into two categories: veterans who will be asked to come up big down the stretch (Jeffery and Smith) and rookies young guys who will be expected contribute for years to come.

Even as dominant as TO was, I think Ertz is going to match his 77 catches, 1200 yards, and 14 touchdowns. If you double his line from the first eight games, he's on pace for 86 catches, 1056 yards, and 12 touchdowns. Even if TO maintains a slight edge, the 2017 Eagles are extremely deep from spots 2-6 - the 2004 Eagles were.... not.

Kicker: David Akers vs. Jake Elliott

We all love David Akers, and rightfully so. In his 12 years as an Eagle, he was 441 for 447 on extra points and 294 for 357 on field goals (including 93.1% on attempts within 40 yards). BUT (and this is a big one) he didn't kick his 63-yard career-long until he was with the 49ers.

Jake Elliott kicked his 61-yard bomb right at home at Lincoln Financial Field, and Joel Embiid was there to witness it.

I'm going to call this one a tie for now, but if Elliott hits another bomb with a game on the line - or, dear lord, in the playoffs - I'm reserving my right to swing in his favor.

Defensive Line: Corey Simon, Hugh Douglas, Jevon Kearse, Sam Rayburn, Darwin Walker,  Hollis Thomas, Derrick Burgess,  vs. Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan, Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Chris Long, Beau Allen

It's this year's team and I'm sure there is plenty of material for you to read if you don't believe me. Perhaps you might like this preseason USA Today article where the Birds' d-line was ranked third-best in the league. Or there's this Jeff McLane piece after the season opener. You might even like this piece from Dave Zangaro following yesterday's trouncing of the 49ers. 

Yeah, it's the 2017 version.

Linebackers: Jeremiah Trotter, Dhani Jones, Ike Reese, Keith Adams, Mark Simoneau vs. Nigel Bradham, Najee Goode, Joe Walker, Kamu Grugier-Hill
Defensive Backs: Brian Dawkins, Sheldon Brown, Lito Sheppard, Michael Lewis, Roderick Hood vs. Malcolm Jenkins, Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson, Rasul Douglas, Rodney McLeod

I'm going to lump these two groups together because I essentially feel exactly the same about both. This year's units are certainly fine. I really like Jalen Mills, and the linebackers and defensive backs have been solid (at least) to my eyes basically all season. They certainly get passing grades, especially considering the losses of presumed starters Ronald Darby and Jordan Hicks.

But man, those 2004 units were incredible. Trotter and Jones were two of the best (and most likable) Eagles linebackers ever. That secondary is insane, and the only reason they don't get remembered more vividly is because they followed the team that lined up Dawkins-Sheppard-Lewis-Brown-Troy Vincent-Bobby Taylor, which is quite possibly the best defensive backfield of all time.

Final Verdict

Both teams are very good, and they are both chock full of likable players who are also extremely talented. Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

My Idea: The NHL Young Guns All Star Game

Despite the fact that we are not all that far into this NHL season, today's post Down Goes Brown (link here) focused on the mid-season All Star game. Specifically, he provided ten suggestions for revamping the ASG (and the weekend as a whole) to make it more interesting.

His final suggestion, and to my eyes the one he prefers the most, is a callback to everyone's favorite team from last Fall's World Cup of Hockey:
The idea: A “Young Guns” all-star game 
You remember the Young Guns, a.k.a. Team North America from last year’s World Cup? Bunch of 23-and-under kids, stole the show by being ridiculously fun, and ended up as basically the only thing anyone remembers from that tournament? Let’s turn the all-star weekend over to them. 
Pros: Connor McDavid vs. Auston Matthews. Jack Eichel on a line with Nolan Patrick. And unlike the World Cup, you’d get all the young European stars, too, so Patrik Laine, David Pastrnak, Leon Draisaitl and friends get to join in the fun. 
The World Cup young guns were all skill and speed, exactly the sort of game that the NHL should want to showcase at a marquee event. You wouldn’t get the same effort level in an all-star game, of course, but these guys are young enough that they’d probably want to put on a show. And since most of them are still on entry-level contracts, the cash bonus the NHL offers to the winning team might actually matter to them. 
Cons: I’m not completely sure there is one. Sure, you’d lose out on the Crosbys and Ovechkins, but those guys don’t want to play in these things, anyway. The veterans have earned their weekend off. Let the kids have the spotlight, and spend a few days really selling the future of the sport. 
Bottom line: Make it happen, NHL.
I think there is a lot to like with the Young Guns All Star Game. You could still include the older (or "in their prime") stars as part of the Skills Competition, as coach(es) for each youth team, or as announcers or interviewers. We are also probably going to have to dip into that pool to get some goalies. But the actual game seems like it'd benefit from this format in two ways:

  • Maybe I'm just talking out of my ass, but I think the notion is kids have fresher legs and more energy than grizzled vets. And a great performance on a national stage does a lot more for a player like Nolan Patrick than it would for last year's ASG MVP Wayne Simmonds. One key issue with any league's All Star Game is a lack of effort, and the youth movement should help with that.
  • Similar to the national exposure point in that last bullet, a piece of a $1 million prize pool means more to a kid making (at most) $925,000 in salary than it does to a guy who has been making $5 million or $7 million or $10.5 million for almost a decade. 
One issue that would arise here, if we're banking on the fact that a full-year's-salary-sized performance bonus would be a key reason for effort, is 22- and 23-year-old players who have signed real NHL contracts. Think Shayne Gostisbehere's new $4.5 million deal or the $12.5 million behemoth that Connor McDavid is going to start next season. Those guys have shined, and are getting paid for it. 

I want my Young Gun All Star Game to be guys who are hungry for the Discover Card Grand Prize (TM). I want these games to mean a new car for the player and his mom, and a Caribbean vacation for him and his friend and/or girlfriend. I want every goal allowed by a lazy backcheck to be met with a furious wrath on the bench. And so, I think we have to limit these rosters to guys who are playing on entry-level contracts during the season in which the ASG takes place. 

Without further ado (you knew I was going here, right?) let's see who'd make up each division's roster. Oh and by the way we're keeping the 3-on-3 format because it fuckin' ROCKS. That means we need 6-7 forwards, 3-4 defensemen, and a goalie per team - plus an All Star Coach (and Assistant Coach), which I will determine based on a hypothetical fan vote. 

Metropolitan Division

Sonny Milano, Columbus Blue Jackets
Nico Hischier, New Jersey Devils
Matthew Barzal, New York Islanders
Pavel Buchnevich, New York Rangers
Nolan Patrick, Philadelphia Flyers
Jake Guentzel, Pittsburgh Penguins
Jakub Vrana, Washington Capitals

Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets
Will Butcher, New Jersey Devils
Ivan Provorov, Philadelphia Flyers
Noah Hanifin, Carolina Hurricanes

Honorable Mention:
Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes
Brett Pesce, Carolina Hurricanes
Jacob Slavin, Carolina Hurricanes
Oliver Bjorkstrand, Columbus Blue Jackets
Miles Wood, New Jersey Devils
Jesper Bratt, New Jersey Devils
Joshua Ho-Sang, New York Islanders
Jimmy Vesey, New York Rangers
Brady Skjei, New York Rangers
Travis Konecny, Philadelphia Flyers

Some notes:
  • That Carolina blue line is crazy. You could make the case for any one of Hanifin/Pesce/Slavin, but I went with Hanifin because he leads that trio in points, and because I think he's going to end up being the best of the bunch. 
  • On the other end up the spectrum, Washington's only two potential selections were Vrana and Madison Bowey. Unrelated but kind of related, Filip Forsberg would not qualify for this tournament because he recently earned a contract worth $6 million per year. 
  • The Penguins, like the Capitals, do not have a ton of options for this ELC tournament. But Guentzel is a slam-dunk selection. 
  • For the Blue Jackets (Milano-Bjorkstrand), Islanders (Barzal-Ho-Sang), and Rangers (Buchnevich-Vesey), I had to make a choice between two deserving candidates. I tried to roll a bunch of quick research into each pick, and I focused primarily on scoring and usage. 
  • Coach: Wayne Simmonds, as voted by NHL fans
  • Assistant Coach: Alex Ovechkin (substitute for Sidney Crosby, who was voted second behind Simmonds by fans but declined the position due to a lower body injury (full diaper))
Atlantic Division

Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres
Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings
Jared McCann, Florida Panthers
Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning
Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs
William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs

Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins
Victor Mete, Montreal Canadiens
Colin White, Ottawa Senators
Mikhail Sergachev, Tampa Bay Lightning

Honorable Mention
Anders Bjork, Boston Bruins
Brandon Carlo, Boston Bruins
Sam Reinhart, Buffalo Sabres
Justin Bailey, Buffalo Sabres
Anthony Mantha, Detroit Red Wings
Logan Brown, Ottawa Senators
Artturi Lehkonen, Montreal Canadiens

Some notes:
  • For Ottawa, your options are White (who is currently injured and was just able to start practicing without a non-contact jersey this week) or Brown (who has one assist in three games this year). Not great!
  • You can't possibly make this Atlantic roster without including all three Leafs boys. You just can't. 
Western Conference coming tomorrow. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Hockeyviz Recap - Flyers vs. Predators

For whatever reason, the Hockeyviz charts and visuals for last night's abysmal Flyers game really got me juiced up this morning. There are a couple of quick thoughts that I have that I believe can be accurately illustrated by Micah's work. Let's jump in.

Player Usage

  • The Lehtera-Filppula line and the MacDonald pair were on the ice for a goal against? Color me shocked. To be fair, it was an offensive zone turnover and then a goal on the rush, but MacDonald played the rush worse than my girlfriend playing NHL18 and Lehtera was still on Nashville's side of the ice when the puck entered the net. 
  • Dale Weise played on the power play! Our pets heads are falling off and we are only on the second bullet point. 
  • MacDonald played the fewest 5-on-5 (and total) minutes out of all the defensemen. I take that as an unquestionably good sign. 
Zone Deployment
  • Why in the fucking shitting heck are we burying the Giroux-Couturier-Voracek line like this? They should be given EVERY offensive zone draw following a whistle. Literally every single time one of the shittier lines can force the opposing goalie to cover the puck, Hakstol should send out 28-14-93 with Ghost and Hagg (or Sanheim) so we can try to score some freakin' goals. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

'Who Should We Bet On In College Basketball?' Week - Part One, Most Talented Duos

As college basketball season approaches, we have two things to really research.

The first question is extremely easy to answer: Is Villanova going to be good? The answer is yes, they'll win the Big East (again) and their tournament run will depend on how good Super Freshman Omari Spellman ends up being.

The second questions is arguably even more important, though: Who should we be betting on? With college basketball, it always seems to be a 'shoot from the hip' situation. You can dig deep into advanced metrics on, but really the most fun way to gamble is just to know which teams are good and then win money on them.

With that in mind, this week happens to be "Week of College Basketball Lists" on Barstool, hosted by your boy Reags. Yesterday's entry was the 50 best players in the country, which will allow us to cherry pick teams with two (and even three) elite players. Throw them in your memory bank and file them under "Good", and let's ride.

(Note: I'm pulling the Honorable Mentions from Reags' Twitter replies to people who asked him about certain players.)

Duke - #4 Marvin Bagley, #9 Grayson Allen, #25 Trevon Duval, #50 Wendell Carter

This is just plain unfair. Duke is returning Allen (a National Player of the Year contender) and surrounding him with:

  • Duval (the top point guard in this year's freshman class)
  • Carter (the second-best power forward and fifth overall recruit in the class), 
  • Bagley (the top power forward and top overall player in the entire class)
And that doesn't even include Gary Trent, who is the highest-ranked shooting guard in this year's incoming freshman class. Duke has the potential to be fucking sick this year.

Arizona - #6 Allonzo Trier, #15 DeAndre Ayton

Michigan State - #1 Miles Bridges, #31 Nick Ward

Villanova - #2 Jalen Brunson, #43 Donte Divincenzo

Seton Hall - #5 Angel Delgado, #42 Khadeen Carrington

Notre Dame - #10 Bonzie Colson, #28 Matt Farrell

Xavier - #7 Trevon Bluiett, #44 JP Macura

Kentucky - #19 Hami Diallo, #29 Kevin Knox

USC - #24 Chime Metu, #27 Bennie Boatwright

Cincinnati - #30 Jacob Evans, HM Gary Clark

Maryland - #35 Justin Jackson, HM Kevin Huerter

Providence - HM Kyron Cartwright, HM Rodney Bullock

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Bruins Did Not Do A Great Job With Their First Round Picks From 2005-2013

Matt Lashoff, drafted 22nd overall in 2005

Totals with Bruins: 46 games played over three seasons, 1 goal, 15 assists, 16 points
On March 4, 2009, at the trade deadline for the 2008–09 season, Lashoff was traded by the Bruins, along with Mārtiņš Karsums, to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Mark Recchi and a 2010 second round draft pick.

Recchi played the rest of that season and two more for Boston, totaling 180 games, 42 goals, and 107 points. That run culminated in the 2011 Stanley Cup, and then he hung up his skates

Boston flipped that second-rounder to Florida for Dennis Seidenberg and Matt Bartkowski. The Panthers used it to draft defenseman Alex Petrovic (one pick before the Hurricanes selected Justin Faulk).

Seidenberg played 400 games for the Bruins over seven seasons (including the 2011 Cup year). Bartkowski played in 131 games over five seasons, but totaled zero goals and just 24 assists. 

Still in Boston: Nothing. Recchi is retired, Seidenberg is an Islander, and Bartkowski is a Flame. 

Phil Kessel, drafted 5th overall in 2006

Totals with Bruins: 222 games over three seasons, 66 goals, 60 assists, 126 points

On September 18, 2009, the Bruins traded Kessel to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a 2010 first-round pick (Tyler Seguin), a 2010 second-round pick (Jared Knight) and a 2011 first-round pick (Dougie Hamilton). 

Put a pin in Seguin and Hamilton, because we're obviously going to see them in a bit. 

Knight never played an NHL game - he was in Denmark last season and I'm not going to dig any further to see where he is this season. 

Still in Boston: We'll circle back here in the Seguin/Hamilton sections.

Zach Hamill, drafted 8th overall in 2007

Totals with Bruins: 20 games over three seasons, 0 goals, 4 points

On February 6, 2012, the Boston Bruins placed Hamill on waivers, and he was sent down to Boston's American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, Providence Bruins, after he cleared waivers on February 7, 2012. On May 26, 2012 he was traded by the Bruins to the Washington Capitals for forward Chris Bourque.

It was cool that Ray Bourque's son got to play for Boston. But he only actually played 18 games (1 goal and 3 assists), and then he became a free agent. 

Still in Boston: Nothing

Joe Colborne, drafted 16th overall in 2008

Totals with Bruins: 0 games played

Boston dealt him to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Colborne was sent, along with two draft picks, to the Maple Leafs in exchange for Tomáš Kaberle on February 19, 2011. Kaberle was essentially a deadline rental, tallying 1 goal and 8 assists in the 24 regular season games he played that year. And then, of course, there was the whole Stanley Cup run where he had 11 assists in 25 games. He left the following summer. 

Jordan Carron, drafted 25th overall in 2009

Totals with Bruins: 134 games over five seasons, 12 goals, 16 assists, 28 points

On March 2, 2015, he was traded along with a sixth round selection in 2016 to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Maxime Talbot and Paul Carey.

Talbot (sort of) played two seasons with the Bruins, but he only totaled 56 games, 2 goals, and 10 points. Carey never played an NHL game for the Bruins. 

Still in Boston: Nothing

Tyler Seguin, drafted 2nd overall in 2010

Totals with Bruins: 203 games over three seasons, 56 goals, 65 assists, 121 points

On July 4, 2013, Boston traded Seguin, along with Rich Peverley and Ryan Button, to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow.

Eriksson played three seasons in Boston and scored 147 points in 224 games. Then he left as a free agent and is now a Vancouver Canuck. 

Smith played two seasons in Boston, totaling 33 goals and 91 points. He was traded to Florida for Jimmy Hayes, who scored 15 goals and 34 points as a Bruin in two seasons - he was so bad that they bought out the final year of his deal and he's a New Jersey Devil now. 

Fraser played 38 games as a Bruin and scored five goals (with zero assists - selfish!). Boston waived him and he was claimed by Edmonton. 

Morrow played sparingly for three seasons (totaling 65 games and 9 points), and then left as a free agent to sign with Montreal. 

Still in Boston: Nothing

Dougie Hamilton, drafted 9th overall in 2011

Totals with Bruins: 178 games over three seasons, 22 goals, 61 assists, 83 points

On June 26, 2015, during the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Hamilton was traded to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a first-round draft pick (Zachary Senyshyn) and two second-round picks (Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and Jérémy Lauzon), all in the 2015 Draft.

Finally we get some guys who are still with the team! Although I guess we should use "with the team" lightly, because all three of them will start this season with the AHL Providence Bruins. I'll reference Stanley Cup Of Chowder's Top 25 Under 25 Rankings here: JFK was ranked 5th, Senyshyn was 11th, and Lauzon was not ranked. 

Still in Boston: JFK, Senyshyn, Lauzon

Malcolm Subban, drafted 24th overall in 2012

Totals with Bruins: 2 games, 0-2 record, .727 save percentage

As Dan referenced in his tweet, Subban was claimed by Vegas this afternoon. For what it's worth, SCOC had him at #24 in their ranking. 

Still in Boston: Nothing

Linus Arnesson, drafted 60th overall in 2013

Totals with Bruins: 0 games played

The Bruins still have his rights, and he's played parts of three seasons in Providence, but per SCOC he elected to go back to Sweden for this season. He was an honorable mention in their T25U25 piece. 

(Note: Boston didn't have a first round pick in 2013, as they sent it to Dallas in the Jaromir Jagr trade.)

Still in Boston: Arnesson


So, to wrap it up, Boston turned 8 first-round picks and 1 second-round pick into four prospects (two of which aren't even in the top 25 of their farm system). Not great!

Monday, September 25, 2017

I Got A Little Mad About Sean Couturier Again

I have a confession - I got a little triggered this afternoon. It was this tweet from my boy Mikey (great follow for Flyers and non-Flyers content):
I'm a Couturier guy. I feel like I go to bat for him all the time against people who think he stinks. I certainly don't think Mikey believes that Couturier is "bad", just that Scheifele is better than him.

And from a scoring standpoint, it's hard to argue. They were drafted back-to-back in 2011 (which is why this fucking comparison comes up so frequently). Couturier started in the NHL immediately, and his two-year headstart over Scheifele means he's totaled 110 more games played. But despite that difference, Scheifele has still outscored Couturier by 20 goals, 16 assists, and 36 points.

When you boil it down to raw scoring, yes, you would obviously rather have 0.96 goals per 60 minutes than 0.58. You don't need to be an Ivy League economics grad to grasp that general logic (shoutout Charlie O'Connor).

....Stephen A. Smith voice....


Couturier's value is always extremely underappreciated by raw scoring metrics for three reasons.

  1. Teammates
  2. Competition
  3. Power play
I'm going to try to be brief and bang out summaries for all three. First, let's look at the guys with whom he shares the ice. I'll resort back to those raw scoring numbers so we can look at how much ice time Scheifele and Couturier get with their teams top ten scorers (please note that Scheifele led the Jets in scoring next year and Couturier was sixth on the Flyers):

(Please do not utilize the bit in parentheses there in an argument against me, thank you.)

Scheifele plays with Wheeler, Laine, Ehlers, and Byfuglien each about half the time he's on the ice. I'd have to get a more mathematically-talented person to tell me how much of his ice time is spent with one of those top-four guys.

What I can tell you with absolutely certainty is it's a shit-ton more time than Couturier plays with the Flyers' top four. I mean he didn't even play enough minutes with Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds last season to qualify for HockeyViz's WOWY chart.

I think perhaps the best illustration of the Teammate disparity is this stylish Excel 2003 plot:
Sure, Couturier spent quite a bit of time with Philly's number one scorer (Voracek) last year. But Scheifele spent even more than that amount of time with each of Winnipeg's four top scorers. I'm going to disappoint my high school calculus teacher and try to reference area under the curve here - Couturier's would be about half the size of Scheifele's.

As for competition, that has been well-documented on this website. Couturier consistently takes his band of whoever-the-fuck-his-coach-tells-him-to-play-with into battle against opposing teams' top lines, and he routinely shuts his opponents down completely.

And as for the power play, I would recommend Charlie's latest piece from Flyers training camp. He references the second power play unit with Couturier, Konecny, Provorov, Jordan Weal, and Nolan Patrick. I certainly think the additions of Weal and Patrick (with the new coach behind the scenes) should make this second unit more dangerous.

I also would like to state for the record that I think Couturier should be the net-front guy and Patrick should take the "Giroux" spot on the wall. That seems like a simple fix.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Eggplant Emoji Analysis From Day One Of Flyers Camp

First of all, Adam, please don't tell me how emotional I'm allowed to get during training camp. If I want to cum in my own pants over a bunch of practice lines that are all going to be shuffled every day for the next two weeks, then I'm going to cum in my goddamn pants.

Plus, this is just a ton of fun. Let's break those forward line combinations down and grade them from "Yes, those are three names" to "The aforementioned cumming in the pants".

Zero Eggplants

These lines, while they are made up of players that are technically our babies (and will hopefully be Flyers one day), are probably on their way out of Vorhees soon. Some of them will head an hour north to Allentown, and some will head multiple hours north to Canadian Juniors, but we will see them all again next year.

(edited to include) AubeKubel-Varone-Bunnaman

There isn't too much to say about these, but I did want to quickly mention that Vorobyev, Leier, and NAK should hopefully see a cup of coffee apiece this season.

One Eggplant

I try to see the positives in all of the Flyers players - even the haters and losers. I don't consider these trios to be kept together for the season, and if they are I will probably get mad online about them. But still... hockey is back and the blood is flowing!


Sure, these three should probably fall more into the previous group because they're all heading back to minors and/or juniors for this season, but Rubtsov's development this season will be incredibly fun to watch. And Kosorenkov has almost certainly done enough to lock up an entry-level contract.


These three are all very 'meh', but I find it interesting that they are using Filppula as a pivot. It seems like the Flyers had five NHL-caliber centers in camp today (Giroux, Couturier, Patrick, Laughton, and Filppula) with Mike Vecchione lurking somewhere. 


If you have not already read Charlie O'Connor's piece for The Athletic about Matt Read, I would encourage you to do that immediately. I'm rooting for Read to take hold of a fourth line wing spot and a huge penalty kill responsibility. Perhaps that fourth line would also feature Laughton and Raffl, though I personally believe that Raffl's complementary attributes would work better along more highly-skilled players. 

Two Eggplants

Okay baby, now we're talking. Two eggplants is a lot - and it's supposed to be. I'm feeling the blood flow, and I'd be perfectly fine with seeing these trios during a real life NHL game. Throw them on the whiteboard right now and I'm game. I hope these guys stay together all season and each provide a hundred and fifty points over the course of the year.

I'm serious - pencil these nine in as the top three lines on opening night. G'head.


Those are three legitimate NHL-caliber top-nine lines. If you swap Weise and Raffl (which I would), then you have three lines that are arguably top-six caliber and an above-average fourth line. Maybe Filppula and/or Lehtera can win a spot away from somebody, but the realization just hit me that the Flyers should be VERY GOOD this season.