The Flyers (hopefully) just won their big game that gets them going this year. After playing two games to open up other team's season, having Gagne return, a game against the hottest team in the conference (well I guess their cooling down), two against the Pens, Pronger missing more than a quarter of the games, and having no true starter we are still 3-3-1. Not good, but we could be worse. There are a lot of questions on this team, starting with the goal tending, but that's not being looked at right now. The Flyers have 2 fourth liners (Betts and Shelley) and 8 top 9 guys (Richie, Carter, Lieno, Briere, Hartnell, Zherdev, Giroux, JVR). We can plug in 3 different people to fill the void on the bottom in Powe, Nodl, or Carcillo but the problem in the top 9 is much greater. We have options, but none of them have been really good. Dan Carcillo, Andreas Nodl, and Darrol Powe have all had opportunities to play on the "top line" with either Richards and Giroux or Richards and Carter, but other than Powe playing okay in just one game, no one has stood out. So now the question becomes, what is our best option?
Dan Carcillo: This season, in four games on the "top line" he has zero points and was a -3. He really brought nothing to the table up there and I think his physicality took a hit. Gagne and Richards had so much chemistry together last year when Carcillo played the right wing with them, he barely had to do anything. This year, with Carter, Carcillo has not helped the lack of chemistry that the Captain and Carter haven't had so far. Carcillo also didn't fight up there. His best times as a Flyer have been with Betts and Lappy last year on the fourth line. A Powe, Betts, Carcillo line would be great, but with Shelley here, we really can't do that (even though that is what most of the people on this site would love to see).
Andreas Nodl: 2 games, 3 shots, -1. Not much here. It was thought he'd be able to kill penalties for us because he did a solid job in the pre-season and last post season but he hasn't done any of that in his two games. He got his shot with Richards but didn't really do much. Did he blow his chance for the year? Of course not, it is way too early to say that, but he certainly didn't help his cause. He has some offensive potential as he showed at St. Cloud State but for now, he's a fourth liner, maybe a third liner in a different situation (think Scotty Upshall when he was here, played really good on a checking line and when he had a Carter on his line he could score a little bit), but as a pure "first liner" he really doesn't have a shot.
Darroll Powe: Last game was his first shot up top with Giroux and Richards and he played pretty well. He had an assist and two PIM in just under 15 minutes (45 secs PP, 2.5 mins PK) and played an overall good game. This season he's already got three points (one goal) and is +1 in all seven games. There is a ridiculous stat lying around somewhere about our record last year with and without him and if you have no idea what I'm talking about, we are WAY better with him. I think Darroll's performance warrants another game or two up there and I am hoping for the best, but after watching him for two years, I don't think he can continuously sustain the offence we need up at the top.
Patrick Maroon: On a Phantoms team where the offense has had 20 goals in 9 games, Maroon has been the only positive. Last preseason it was Maroon getting the love that Testwuide got this year, but he didn't play up to par and was beat out by JVR and Mika Pyorola. This year he flew under the radar with all of the newcomers at camp and Testwuide and it obviously helped him a lot. He's got 8 points (4/4) and has played far and away better than anyone on that whole team. He was the MVP of the USA in-line team, dominating the entire tournament and he is a big big body at 6'4 225. He can scrap as he has had 6 fights last year, and he could be the Mike Knuble we have been missing. On a line with Richards and Giroux he can flourish. Why hasn't this kid had a shot? Stefan Legin and David LiLaberte who led the AHL team in goals last year don't have any, and Patrick had 4.
What do you guys think?