With no acquisitions at forward in the shortened NHL offseason, the Philadelphia Flyers will enter training camp with the same group they ended the season with in September. The lone exception being Tyler Pitlick, who signed with the Arizona Coyotes.
Last season, the forward group helped the Flyers score 227-goals. Which was tied for 7th most goals in the NHL last season. Something the Flyers hope will be much of the same this season.
Entering training camp, some positions are already locked up. Sean Couturier & Kevin Hayes will man the top-2 lines for the Flyers. Nolan Patrick is expected to return and man the 3rd line. Scott Laughton is expected to return to center & man the 4th line.
However, like most of last season, the Flyers one problem comes with having too many wings to actual lineup spots.
Last season, the Flyers were led on the wing by Travis Konecny, Claude Giroux, & Jake Voracek. The three accounted for 57-goals, 113-assists, & at least 53-points individually.
After Konecny, Giroux, & Voracek, the Flyers got great secondary help from James van Riemsdyk, Joel Farabee, & Oskar Lindblom, even though his season was cut short due to his ewing sarcoma diagnosis. The three accounted for 38-goals, 41-assists, & at least 18-points individually. Which, if Lindblom’s season wasn’t cut short, would have been more.
Those six will be in the lineup again this season. Which leaves just two open spots on the opening night roster. Two spots that will be filled by Michael Raffl & Nicolas Aube-Kubel currently.
However, behind Raffl & Aube-Kubel, the Flyers have at least four players that have a chance of making the team. Those players include Wade Allison, Carsen Twarynski, Linus Sandin, & new LW Sam Morin.
Currently, those four are competing for the Flyers 13th forward position. A position that could very well be a spot in the opening night lineup with an impressive camp.
What About Morgan Frost & Tanner Laczynski?
Two players that could add to the logjam with an impressive camp are Morgan Frost & Tanner Laczynski. Both players will have an equal chance to make the team even with the four center positions somewhat already known.
If one makes the opening night lineup, it would mean Scott Laughton would move to wing. A move that would complicate the wing position even more.
With Frost or Laczynski winning the 4th center position, it would result in only one open spot on the wing. One spot that would be a toss-up between Michael Raffl & Nicolas Aube-Kubel before even getting into the other four players fighting for the last two wing openings.
While moving Laughton to wing opens up the opportunity to let one of Frost or Laczynski be a full-time NHLer, it also adds to the Flyers logjam at wing.
What Is The Best Lineup?
At the moment, the best Flyers lineup hinges on where Joel Farabee & Claude Giroux are in the lineup. Not only do both players have a big effect on where they are in the lineup, they both also have a big effect on where the other wings are as well.
If Farabee plays on the 1st line, Giroux will play on the 3rd line. But, if Giroux is on the 1st line, Farabee could very well be on the 4th line.
The reason for this is because if Giroux plays on the 3rd line with James van Riemsdyk & Nolan Patrick, its a better positional fit for him. But, if Giroux plays on the 1st line, Nicolas Aube-Kubel’s size & play style are a better fit for that line. Which would move Farabee all the way to the 4th line.
Therefore, the best Flyers lineup heading into training camp is…
Oskar Lindblom – Sean Couturier – Jake Voracek
Joel Farabee – Kevin Hayes – Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk – Nolan Patrick – Claude Giroux
Michael Raffl – Scott Laughton – Nicolas Aube-Kubel
The combination of wings on the top2 lines can be any combination. But, the best lineup the Flyers can put forth this season is with Giroux on the 3rd line.