The initial flurry of free agents have been signed. There are still some more players that are available and it is possible that trades between teams can still take place. With the signings, there are also the inevitable freak injuries that take place. Last year, we saw this with the Philadelphia Flyers when Joel Farabee and Bobby Brink both got injured in offseason activities within weeks of each other.
There are many things to consider. In this projected lineup, we expect that Sean Couturier will be back and ready to go. He was cleared for play at the end of last season, but was not activated so he can rest up for the new season ahead. Likewise, we still don’t have any report on whether or not Cam Atkinson is definitely healthy enough to play. Perhaps last year would have been different if both or either one could have suited up.
Trades and other signings could also affect the lineup; the potential Tony DeAngelo trade is a good example depending on the return we get or if he remains a Flyer. As teams examine their lineups, people get hurt, etc., other moves will be made. Some young prospect could be amazing during training camp and another prospect that the team was counting on could be sent back down. A strong showing by a prospect could also make a veteran forward or blueliner expendable. Keep in mind that this is a projected lineup and things can and will change between now and when the Philadelphia Flyers hit the ice in October.
Philadelphia Flyers’ Forwards
First Line: Joel Farabee – Noah Cates – Owen Tippett
Second Line: Cam Atkinson – Sean Couturier – Travis Konecny
Third Line: Scott Laughton – Bobby Brink – Wade Allison
Fourth Line: Nicolas Deslauriers – Ryan Poehling – Garnet Hathaway
Cates or Coots could really be interchanged as the top two centers. I think having the young guns take over the first line is a good way to get them more exposure. Likewise, easing Couturier into playing again on the second line with two players he is used to playing with, Konecny especially, will provide for a very strong second line. Depending on the teams they are matching up against, both lines can be flip-flopped depending on the situation.
As for the bottom-six, Laughton could either center or play on the wing. His experience will give the team some veteran leadership. In this mock lineup, I have Brink winning out the center role as he has had a good development camp and the Philadelphia Flyers have been high on him thus far. Allison takes the wing spot, but that could go to someone else by training camp.
The fourth line belongs to Deslauriers and newcomers Poehling and Hathaway. This trio will present a very strong unit that will punish any team looking to enter the Flyers’ zone. This is also the reason that new guys were brought in. This line could develop into one of the best fourth line units in the league.
Now, I said that Allison wins out based on his playing time thus far. However, he hasn’t shown us much due to injuries. Other potential candidates that could win Allison’s spot on the roster can include, but are not limited to: Jackson Cates, Tanner Laczynski, Elliott Desnoyers, and Tyson Foerster.
Philadelphia Flyers’ Defense
First Pair: Travis Sanheim – Rasmus Ristolainen
Second Pair: Cam York – Sean Walker
Third Defensive Unit: Nick Seeler – Ronnie Attard
Sanheim and Risto really seem to click. As of right now, they appear to be the top pairing moving forward. York should thrive on the second unit with either Seeler or Staal behind him. Walker, acquired in the Ivan Provorov trade will probably play on the bottom unit, but could see time in the second line as well.
Marc Staal is going to be a bit of a wildcard. He will probably occupy the same sort of role that Justin Braun had last season. He will help mentor and shape the younger defenders, like York, but might be a healthy scratch at times to make room for them as well. Walker will fill this role as well, as he and Staal are here more for their veteran experience.
The last defender spot, if all six guys make the team, will probably be whoever wins the Attard-Zamula battle during training camp. However, don’t count on some of the other prospects in the Philadelphia Flyers’ system. It is possible to see someone like Emil Andrae win a spot on the roster if they push hard for it.