The Flyers are struggling to score goals – again. This is due to the simple fact that the Flyers generate offense from a structured team approach, not true offensive talent. The Flyers have only a couple of truly gifted offensive players; Jeff Carter, Claude Giroux, Simon Gagne, and Danny Briere are the only natural offensive players. Players such as Mike Richards, Scott Hartnell, Darrell Powe, Dan Carcillo, JVR, Aaron Asham, and Ian Laperriere score goals setup from a grind and bang. Of course most are quality NHL players and if given time can score.
I am suggesting that the lines be juggled to be the following:
Hartnell – Carter – Asham. This trio has played together before and Carter likes to control the puck and shoot. Asham and Hartnell like to drive the net and play along the wall.
Gagne – Giroux – Briere. This is a natural fit of 3 gifted offensive players. All 3 of these guys like to play give and go and make skilled plays off the rush. Gagne is the only shooter of this trio and should benefit from playing with 2 gifted passers of the puck.
Carcillo – Richards – Laperriere. This is a trio that will not only stop the opposition defensively, but they will grind in the offensive zone and make things happen. Richards and Carcillo can play the skill game at times.
Powe – Betts – JVR. This trio is there to spend a few minutes each night grinding. JVR is too raw at times to play big minutes and the other 2 are no more thanv quality grinders in the league.
At this time of the year, with the Flyers perched in 8th place, it is time to play 3 lines and 4 defensemen and pile up some points. Stop the 4 line and 6 defense rotation. The time to win is now. They should be working on getting 6th place – which is in reach. They have 4 games in hand over Montreal and are only down 3 points from 6th. If they can solidify that position the full rotation can resume.