Will the real Philadelphia Flyers please stand up!!!! Geez Louise one cannot wait any longer for training camp to begin. The sounds of the horn, sticks hitting the ice, the skating noises. Just seeing the players having fun on the ice is missed in the dead smack of Summer.
The Flyers have to become a more consistent hockey team for the 2018-19 season. One way to do that is remaining a threat while being a man up. Yes, the powerplay needs to be more effective. This young orange and black team must take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way if they want to become contenders in the future. There’s one solution to boosting their mediocre power play from last year. How about moving Jakub Voracek down to the second PP Unit.
Last season, the Flyers power play was ok at best. The team finished in the middle of the pack with the league’s 15th best power play with a percentage rate of 20.69%. One reason for their mediocre power play is that the top PP unit is too predictable.
How many times have you the fans watched the Flyers do the same cycling of the puck while being a man up. The puck goes from Shayne Gostisbehere to Claude Giroux, who then either tries to do a cross ice pass to Jakub Voracek, or pass back to Ghost. Sometimes they cycle the puck down low or in the slot for Sean Couturier to cleanup, but more often than not it’s the same old cycling.
One solution to making the power play less predictable is to move Voracek from PP1 to PP2. Nolan Patrick did well on PP1. Why move him? Let him continue to grow, and see what we have in this young stud. The top PP unit would look like this:
PP1: Giroux, Couturier, JVR, Patrick, Ghost
JVR is a power play specialist. He potted 11 goals, and chipped in 9 assists on the power play for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. Van Riemsdyk is gritty, and knows how to get to the net. He’s not afraid of scoring a dirty goal, or flashing his beautiful hands by shooting the puck high over the netminder shoulders top shelf, “Where momma hides the cookies.” Van Riemsdyk is a natural goal scorer that can revive this one predictable, stagnant top power play unit.
Van Riemsdyk could interchange positions on the top unit with Couturier at times. This shuffling would throw off their opponents, as Couturier is an excellent Defensive Forward thus having him at the top of the point could do wonders. JVR would then be able to score dirty goals, or wrist a blistering shot top shelf from the top of the circle. Let’s not take for granted Couturier’s blistering shot from the top of the circle either.
Moving Voracek to the second PP unit would also balance out that unit. The Flyers would be loaded on two units, as opposed to having one dynamic unit. This would make them a more consistent hockey team. The second PP unit would look like this:
PP2: Laughton (Assuming he’s third line Center), Simmonds, Konecny, Voracek, Provorov
Konecny used to play Left Wing in Juniors. He’s more than capable of playing that side of the ice, “As far as I’m concerned, it’s just the other side of the ice,” Konecny stated in October of 2016. Voracek could stay in his usual spot, as he did such on the top PP unit throughout his career.
If the Flyers want to be considered contenders, then reviving their stagnant power play has to come to the forefront. Special teams is a critical part to an overall success of a team. Contenders have great special teams. This is just one solution to the predictable Flyers power play. What do they have to lose by trying out effectiveness of this solution in training camp or the pre-season. One thing is certain Flyers fans, the future is bright in Flyer land.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports