How Soon Until They’re ‘Gellin’?

Who's name will appear on the back?

After an offseason that contained more fireworks than every Fourth of July celebration in the area combined, the expectations surrounding the Philadelphia Flyers next season are up in the air. The star staples that became synonymous with the orange and black are gone, a true number one, albeit high-priced, goaltender has arrived, and currently an unfinished roster complete with possible young guns, veterans, and ultra-veterans hoping to make the team are what Flyers fans have to look forward to. With great potential the question naturally arises, what can be constituted as a successful season?

Obviously the goal for every team is to win the Cup, but with a revamped roster is a parade down Broad Street the only thing that will appease fans? What if the team is competitive and loses in the Conference Finals? There is really no telling how talented this team will be, how players will fit together, or how much chemistry the new additions can create during camp and pre-season action, but that never stops anyone from guessing.
With many new faces the lines are surely going to be shuffled multiple times throughout the first half of the season as players start to gel with each other and productivity is determined, but how should the forwards’ lines look to start?

It’s no secret that this roster is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle, and depending on whether or not Michael Nylander can make the team will most likely determine who centers the Jagr line. Don’t forget, the two were linemates with the Rangers and the Capitals and were a great pair, but Nylander is 38 years old and coming off of season-ending surgery last year. If he makes the team, Brayden Schenn will have to wait a little longer to don the famous Flyers sweater, instead skating in Phantoms purple to start the season.

Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell will probably stick together and look to add a player like Maxime Talbot to the mix. Talbot can offer a mix of finesse with hustle and scrappiness; traits that can work well coupled with Hartnell in the corners and will give Briere more space in his office, behind the net. Claude Giroux and James Van Riemsdyk, two players who look to have a lot of scoring possibilities thanks to Giroux’s pass first mentality and JVR’s wish to shoot from anywhere on the ice, will look to stay together as well. A physical presence added to that line is the most logical of choices. Look for high energy forward Wayne Simmonds to be given a shot. Simmonds has the ability to play physical but has showed the possibility of scoring in the past. Playing with Giroux and JVR could translate into a twenty-goal season for Simmonds for the first time in his career.

Nylander centering a line of Jaromir Jagr and Jakub Voracek is a possibility, but Schenn could be implanted to replace Nylander depending on training camp. Jagr will most likely be called upon to push Voracek’s game forward, while simultaneously being a crutch for the young European, given the fact that they are from the same hometown in the Czech Republic. The fourth line could once again feature Blair Betts and Andreas Nodl, with an open door policy for the other wing position. Eric Wellwood and Ben Holmstrom could both snag the last forward position with stellar play in camp, but a more likely alternative is split time for both.

Head coach Peter Laviolette will undoubtedly see things differently in camp and will pair different players together a head scratching number of times before he sees a connection that works for his system, but if this mock-up turns out to be accurate an assistant coach offer should be in the mail!

Ok, I’ll settle for free tickets.

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