After a season full of some defensive woes and a couple of weeks’ worth of trade discussions, the Philadelphia Flyers (32-18-7) made a move to improve on the blue line and acquired defenseman Nicklas Grossman from the Dallas Stars.
Grossman will make his Flyers debut on Saturday afternoon when the team faces off against the Pittsburgh Penguins (32-20-5) for the third time this season.
Based on Friday’s practice, Grossman will probably be paired with Andrej Meszaros on defense.
All eyes will be on him and on the Flyers’ defensive core as a whole, as their struggles have been greatly publicized so far this season.
The one-trick pony enforcer is dying in today's NHL.
No longer is it worth having a guy on the team who only fights and skates five minutes of ice time per game. Instead, the guys who are willing to drop the gloves also have a clue as to what to do with a hockey stick and when the puck is on it.
That leaves Jody Shelley and Tom Sestito practically irrelevant on the Flyers and their pursuit of a successful season.
On and off, the two have been in the line up for the Flyers. And in the rarest, and most unfortunate occasions, the two goons were in the line up together for five times this season. In those five times, the Flyers are 1-3-1.
Before the season started, people doubted whether or not Zac Rinaldo would make the 23-man roster.
Now, Rinaldo has earned his way onto the third line.
Though it may be temporary, Rinaldo made a huge impact in Thursday’s 4-1 win over the Predators playing on the third line and it may have been the game that gives the 21-year-old a true crack at more ice time.
Before Thursday’s game, Rinaldo was averaging a little over six minutes of ice time, was a minus-7 and had only four points. But in that game, Rinaldo eclipsed the 10-minute mark for only the third time all season in his 36 games, skating a season hight 11:11.
Even the most casual of fans can tell you that Wayne Simmonds is the classic example of the kind of athlete that Philadelphia fans love to call their own.
Hardworking, physical and largely underappreciated away from Philly, Simmonds is the kind player that doesn’t always come to the forefront of your mind when discussing skills, but is always number one when you talk about heart.
However, that doesn’t mean that Simmonds doesn’t have skills.
Although it may not be his forte, it’s ill advised to underestimate the 23-year old’s ability to contribute to the offensive phase of the game.
This was made evident on Thursday night when the gritty forward scored two goals against the Nashville Predators.
The last time the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins met, it was in the midst of a seven-game winning streak for the Flyers.
But unfortunately for the orange and black-clad team, that streak came to an abrupt end when they hosted the Stanley Cup champion Bruins.
In a pathetic showing which was featured on HBO’s 24/7, the Flyers were abused 6-0 at the hands of Boston. Just over a month later, the Bullies will seek pay back against the Bruins, who they have split the season series, 1-1, so far.
Imagine what would happen if Couturier had a chance to center Simmonds and Read on the third line.
In the last five games, the Flyers have scored a total of 13 goals. In that span, Couturier, Read and Simmonds have scored seven, which makes up over half of the production. In total, the group has a combined 15 points in their last five games.
There is much discussion about how Couturier deserves more minutes. A move to the third line would allow for that. Not to mention that he and Read are starting to develop a chemistry of their own when paired on the penalty kill.