I’ll admit it when Scott Hartnell lined up along side Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr a thought bubble came out of my head that would have said WTF? Now the Flyers have been a deep team for years, so even though this is considered the first line, it really isn’t the first line, but Giroux has shown signs of emerging into a real star, so how do you complement him? Scott Hartnell!?
It was so easy to point fingers at that move after Saturday night’s 4-2 loss to the St.Louis Blues. It was the first game this season that did not feature a point from the Giroux line. Hartnell took two penalties… again. Jagr still couldn’t find the net and Giroux had his first off game of the year. The October questions were about to be well on their way, then came Monday night.
The up and coming Toronto Maple Leafs entered the Wells Fargo Center with hopes of continuing what has been a successful beginning to the 11-12 campaign. Phil Kessel was able to get his NHL leading ninth goal of the season, but the more important stat was achieved by the Flyers, thanks to Hartnell and Jagr.
In the first period Jagr finally got on the board as a Philadelphia Flyer, then in the 2nd period on a power play Hartnell had one of his classic falling down, stuff the puck in the back of the net goals that made him a fan favorite. He then added his second goal of the night and season on a nice snapper from just outside of the left faceoff circle. Jagr also scored again in the 3rd.
Hartnell just looked like a different player compared to early on in the year and perhaps that’s what Coach Laviolette had in mind with this move. It really does fit the line better because of Hartnell’s ability in front of the net. When he is playing at his best number 19 can be a dangerous scoring threat, but he needs the playmakers around him. Giroux has the potential to be in consideration for the best playmaker in the league.
Who does this move affect the most? James van Reimsdyk. The paring of Jagr, Giroux, and JVR seemed like the perfect trio because of this formula; veteran+playmaker+sniper= GOALS. However what is down on paper and what takes place on the ice are two very different animals.
So far it is safe to say that the first seven games have been a disappointment for van Reimsdyk. He has two goals and two assists and was in the need of a spark. Just over 12 minutes of ice time isn’t going to provide that spark, but it is a young season and perhaps a paring of him Couturier, and Simmonds could be dangerous.
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