Friday, October 30, 2015

Flyers Lineup Volume 4

I have some bad news, guys. The Flyers kind of stink again. We should temper those "Parade Down Broad Street" hopes and try to just figure out how we can maybe win a game.

It's not all bad, though. We have to frame this recent string of shitting the bed in the context of two major injuries. Sean Couturier and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare are two of our 4 starting centers, and they both contribute on the penalty kill. Coots also plays a major role on the second power play unit.

So there are reinforcements on the horizon, and when they get here, we have to be ready. Here's the lineup, volume 4:

Line 1: Gagner - Giroux - Simmonds
This would be the offense line. Gagner, for all of his success, is a terrible center because he can't win a faceoff to save his life. From this point forward, we really have to consider him a winger. These three should be able to do quite a bit of damage in the offensive zone (and complement each other nicely in the process), and they'd also be able to hold their own in the defensive zone.

Line 2: Read - Couturier - Voracek
As you might have noticed, I am advocating for the separation of Claude and Jake. Like a couple of angsty teenagers, they just need some time apart. The best part of this separation is we would be able to create two really solid lines. Pairing Jake with Coots and Reader gives us some crafty attacking and a lot of shutdown ability. Jake may not be known for his defense, but his size and strength should be able to rival Coots'.

Line 3: Schenn - Laughton - Raffl
I'll be honest: I don't know what to do with Raffl if can't stick him with G and Jake. I happen to think his success in terms of advanced stats has been wildly inflated by the fact that he always plays with the team's two best players. The Schenn-Laughton duo is feisty and brings a lot to both ends of the ice, and Raffl fits in well there.

Line 4: White - Bellemare - Vandevelde
Old reliable.

That's four forward lines that can each be used in any scenario, and you'd trust all of them in all three zones at any point in the game. Boom. Easy.

D-Pair 1: Streit - Del Zotto
I enjoy watching these two play together, and they will only get better as they spend more time together. It's a little unorthodox to pair two VERY offensive-minded defensemen together, but that's just #Hakstoll.

D-Pair 2: Medvedev - Schenn
The third- and fourth-best defensemen. For all that gets written/said about him, Luke Schenn is mostly capable of holding his own. For every Vine with a thousand loops of him falling down or doing something stupid, there are half a dozen breakout passes that he sends out of the zone. He also brings a physical presence that you have to have when you other top-four defensemen are 5'11 (Streit), 6'0 (MDZ), and 187 pounds (Medvedev). It's a little old school, sure, but having a 6'2, 230-pound brute out there is great, especially when he can contribute offensively.

D-Pair 3: (Pick 2) Manning - Gudas - Schultz - Gostisbehere
Well this is where it gets really ugly, even by Philadelphia standards. Money-wise, Schultz should be able to crack the lineup. He stinks. Manning also kind of stinks, but he's been a decent penalty killer. Gudas is fun to watch and I always like to have a good on the roster. (Ryan White is not a goon.) Calling up Ghost would be a spark for the power play and it would allow us to get a glimpse of the future. It won't happen unless there are 2+ injuries to defensemen, but I'm going to dream here and go with Manning-Ghost as my third pairing.

PECO Power Play 1: Giroux - Simmonds - Voracek - Raffl - Streit
Just give it time.

PECO Power Play 2: Gagner - Couturier - Schenn - Del Zotto - Gostisbehere
Obviously, 2/5 of this unit is currently not active and 1/5 has been playing with the first unit. But dear god can we please get RJ Umberger off of the powerplay unit?

Wawa Penalty Kill Forward Pairs: Couturier/Read, Giroux/Laughton, Giroux/White, Bellemare/Vandevelde
Wawa Penalty Kill Defensemen: Del Zotto, Schenn, Medvedev, Manning
You can really mix the PK units up, but those 11 guys should be getting the bulk of the time. For what it's worth, Schultz also has value as the high defenseman in a PK situation, but it's not worth a roster spot for him to just lay down on the ice a few times a night.

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