Barring any more major moves, the Flyers roster is pretty set. So going into training camp, Peter Laviolette will probably begin tinkering with different line combinations to figure out what will work best.
Of course he’ll look back at past success to see what line should remain together. Unfortunately, things don’t always work out that way. We won’t know until the season starts about what kind of mixing and matching we’ll have to do. Going into camp, I think these will be the combo’s we start out with:
I’m not sure how much I really love these combinations. I know Carcillo worked out well with Richards last season, but I don’t want those two playing together. Carcillo isn’t talented enough offensively to play with Richie. Zherdev has a lot of offensive ability, but is lacking a bit in the back checking department. Richards and Giroux play hard enough to cover up or him however. The second line was a scoring machine in last season’s playoffs, so might as well keep them together to see if they have the same magic all season long. They have a nice mix of talent and grit, as they showed on a consistent basis when it mattered most.
The third line works if, and only if, JVR starts proving he was worthy of a #2 overall draft pick. We know what we’re getting with Carter, but he’s not going to put up a lot of goals by himself. JVR needs to become a consistent playmaker, and chip in a few goals as well. Powe is nothing special, as we know, but he’s pretty quick, and we’ll need someone to chase when we dump the puck into the zone. The last line of course will be for energy, defense, and more grit. These will be the crucial role players that will handle a lot of the dirty work. Also, we could see a rotation between Shelley/Powe/Carcillo depending on the matchups.
Finally, I heard a rumor that the Flyers might still be interested in re-signing Asham, so I don’t even know where he fits into all of this. Seems like we’ve got an abundance of players, many of which don’t fit the mold. I wish we’d just kept Gagne, rather than send him to exile in Tampa. We’d be fine keeping him and Asham, and not signing Powe, Shelley, and Carcillo. Then you’d have Richie and Gags, 2nd line as is, Carter and Zherdev, and Asham with Betts and Lappy. You’d have a lot more talent and have the option of flexing the lines a bit more to get things going if necessary. Oh well, can’t change the past now, unless for some reason the league rejects the Gagne trade, like they just rejected Kovalchuk’s deal. Wishful thinking, I know.