Apr 25, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds (17), center Claude Giroux (28), center Matt Read (24), defenseman Brandon Manning (32) and defenseman Matt Konan (34) acknowledge the crowd after final game of the season against the New York Islanders at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers defeated the Islanders, 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Flyers Have Elite Scoring Balance

The Philadelphia Flyers do not have an elite scorer on the roster right now and by elite I mean a consistent 35-40 goal scorer. They do not have an Ovechkin, Vanek, or even a guy like Bobby Ryan (Ryan has never scored 40, but he’s scored 30 in the last four full seasons). Scott Hartnell had one season in which he scored 37 goals and Vincent Lecavalier has not scored 30 since the 2007-2008 season. Both Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds have score 28 goals in a season while Jakub Voracek would have landed in the mid thirties last season had it been 82 games long.

Yes, I firmly believe that the Flyers have some players with the potential to become elite scorers. But, the question is, do the Flyers need an established pure goal scorer? No. Because they have elite scoring balance on the roster.

Right now, every NHL teams has played between 57-60 games. At this rate, a player with roughly 14-15 goals is on pace for a 20 goal season. Sure some teams already have 30-40 goals scorers. Ovechkin already has 40 goals and Phil Kessel has 31, but after Ovi the Capitals only have one guy over 15 goals and after Kessel the Leafs are sunk. The Flyers are the only team in the NHL with six guys who have at least 15 goals. There are only six teams in the league who have five players with at least 15 goals. Those six teams are Boston, Chicago, Colorado, Ottawa, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh. With the exception of Ottawa, all of those teams are in the top 10 in the NHL.

Claude Giroux (19), Wayne Simmonds (18), Brayden Schenn (15), Jakub Voracek (15), Scott Hartnell (15), and Matt Read (15) are all on pace to have 20+ goal seasons. This bodes well for the Flyers down the stretch and, hopefully, in the playoffs. The Flyers have six weapons for opponents to watch out for. If the Flyers opponent is able to nullify the Hartnell-Giroux-Voracek line, they will still have to contend with the likes of Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn on the second line. On the other hand, if other teams shut down Alexander Oveckin, or he goes on a slump, the Capitals are screwed.

Even the team with the most points in the NHL, the Anaheim Ducks, are weak in this department. Yes, they have Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, who have combined for 59 goals this season. But if you put a two-way stud (Toews, Bergeron, or maybe someday soon Couturier) up against their line and neutralize Perry and Getzlaf, there is not a lot more to be afraid of on the Ducks roster. This balance will enable the Flyers to lean on one another during the inevitable droughts and injuries that take place down the stretch and into the playoffs.

No, the Flyers do not need an elite scorer. Will that stop Holmgren from going after Vanek or Moulson this summer? I doubt it. With six forwards poised to score over 20 goals, only two of whom are over 27, the Flyers are set with offensive balance in the years to come. There is not a whole lot about this current Flyers team that looks elite. But the balance with which they score goals is up there with the best teams in the NHL.

 

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Tags: Brayden Schenn Claude Giroux Jakub Voracek Matt Read Philadelphia Flyers Scott Hartnell Wayne Simmonds

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