Throughout this season Alain Vigneault has had many different line pairings for the Philadelphia Flyers, shuffling players around to find any success and chemistry. Vigneault may have found that chemistry with the line of Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Claude Giroux, and Oskar Lindblom. There is a strong case for this line to become a permanent fixture.
This line saw success in the series against Pittsburgh. Recently all of the players on this line had been playing very well. Lindblom had been playing hard and forechecking really well for the Flyers, while Giroux is doing what Giroux does, and Aube-Kubel is showing his physical presence as he did last season.
(All statistics via www.hockey-reference.com)
On March 4th, the Flyers made an incredible comeback against the Penguins and this was the Claude Giroux game. The win was not only from his success but the production of his line as well. Giroux posted two goals and one assist while both Aube-Kubel and Lindblom provided assists on both of Giroux’s goals.
This line wasn’t just statically good, but they were able to control the pace of the game and get good consistent offensive zone play. This is something the Flyers have lacked throughout this season and we saw this problem arrive again in the game against the Washington Capitals on March 7th.
The Flyers were lacking consistent offensive pressure in that game and the line of Aube-Kubel, Giroux, and Lindblom could have provided it. This was similar to the Penguins game, but the line led by Giroux was able to lead the comeback. This line, with a great puck handler in Giroux, and two players that have been playing a good physical game forcing turnovers in the offensive zone, is what is making them have consistent offensive zone production.
After this game, I expected to see this line continue to play together for a couple of games but that was not the case. In the most recent game against Buffalo, we saw Giroux go back to the wing and play with Jakub Voracek and Nolan Patrick. Personally, I believe Vigneault is missing out on a clear opportunity for some production on the third line with this pairing of Aube-Kubel, Giroux, and Lindblom.
This line may seem odd, especially with a proven top-tier player in Giroux on the third line with two young players that are improving, but I believe this odd pairing is what makes the line successful. All three of these players are in different stages of their career and that’s something that makes them have good chemistry on the ice.
Claude Giroux is one of the greatest Philadelphia Flyers ever and having him play with two young energetic players is something that can help a veteran like him get back into his goal-scoring ways. Giroux was a +2 in the great comeback against the Penguins. When Giroux is able to score, good things will happen and we have seen this recently especially with his production on this line.
Oskar Lindblom has one of the greatest stories ever told in sports history and deserves all the credit in the world for that, but he has also been playing really well lately. Lindblom has not been scoring, but his forechecking and impact are obvious when he is on the ice. Being paired with a young energetic player like Aube-Kubel and an amazing passer in Giroux is what can get his production and confidence up.
Nicolas Aube-Kubel may not be the best goal scorer or passer on the team, but every night when this team plays you hear his name and the impact he puts on the game. Aube-Kubel is a younger player that has shown his talent and what he is capable of. At times we have seen some bad penalties taken by Aube-Kubel and this is a thing you see in younger players, but being paired with two composed and smart players can help him grow and improve in this part of his game.
I believe this line is what can provide more production for the Flyers. Vigneault has been consistently changing the lines looking for production and found it with this line. Unique and different play styles on this line allow for these players to develop chemistry and benefit from each other’s differences. Hopefully, we will see this line again soon and show the impact they’re capable of.