I’ve never subscribed to the theory that a player is a winner or a loser. Any player that is talented enough to make it to the NHL is capable of contributing to a winning team. Different guys have different styles of course, so it takes the right mix in order for a team to win. Some players are puck hogs and simply need to control the play for them to be effective. And that’s perfectly fine, as long as he gets linemates that are fine with not controlling the puck as much. So here’s my breakdown of what some of the guys on the Flyers need in order to thrive:
Matt Carle: He’s a pretty smart guy that knows how to start a transition game. He’s good at jumping into the play and adding to the offense a bit. His biggest problem is that he gets a bit out of position. So in order for him to be effective, he needs a reliable defensive partner that will stay at home. Pronger is/was the perfect partner for him because Chris always hung back or covered the middle of the ice. This allows Carle to roam around and do what comes naturally to him.
Danny Briere: He’s creative, and can score from everywhere. He can turn a pass into a shot quickly, and he’s also good at setting other guys up. What he needs is at least one other skill guy on his line. He was successful with Leino and Hartnell because their talents blended so well. Hartnell was willing to do dirty work, and he’s got a decent shot. Meanwhile, Leino knew how to feed Briere. Both of them started the cycle, and Briere helped out as much as he could. he’s not big enough to be the first man in, but once possession is established, he’s really good with the puck in tight spaces.
Claude Giroux: He’ll shoot when necessary, but he’s much more of a set up man. He needs to play with someone that will keep their stick on the ice and be ready for a pass at all times. If we waste his talents on linemates that are just bruisers, that’s going to be a real shame. He’s not big either, but willing to take the body. His line shouldn’t be the kind that cycles, but should be good on the rush or keep possession along the perimeter.
Jaromir Jagr: Just give him the puck and stand back. He’s big and strong and will force the play wherever he wants it to go. But, he’s also go a wicked one-timer so he needs somebody that knows where he likes the puck. He said in interviews that a major reason he chose the Flyers over the Pens is because Giroux and Briere are right-handed and thus better suited to passing him the puck in the way he likes to receive it (Crosby and Malkin are lefties).
Kimmo Timonen: He’s still smart, but he’s clearly lost a step. He can still cover faster and stronger guys, but you can’t rely on him as much as you could a few seasons ago. So he needs a defensive partner with some speed and also good positioning. If he’s going to continue to be paired with Coburn, then Coburn has to be able to get over and cover for Kimmo without leaving his own man wide open.
Ilya Bryzgalov: He’ll stop pucks. Get him some damn goal support!
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Topics: Braydon Coburn, Chris Pronger, Claude Giroux, Danny Briere, Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Bryzgalov, Jaromir Jagr, Kimmo Timonen, Matt Carle, NHL, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Scott Hartnell, Sidney Crosby, Teamwork, Ville Leino