The Flyers goonery has been subject to a lot of controversy. Its no secret Philly loved Sandy McCarthy and Donald Brasher. Its also no secret we loved Riley Cote (even though he was basically a human punching bag) and some people love Jody Shelley. The point is we love our fighters, but for the most part fighters are just fighters (of the ones I’ve mentioned above). Enter Tommy Sestito coming off of a career night, leading the way in Philly to a win over Tampa Bay with two goals. He started the night (and finished) on a line with Max Talbot and Ruslan Fedetenko while Zac Rinaldo got to play with Brayden Schenn and Jake Voracek.
Most people have already attributed the two Sestito goals to some weird voodoo or the stars being aligned but I think there’s more to it:
|Stat||Player A||Player B||Player C||Player D||Player E|
|Career Junior P/G||0.58||0.37||0.54||0.94||0.58|
|Last Junior Year P/G||1.07||0.42||0.75||0.84||1.04|
|AHL Career P/G||0.45||0.17||0.17||0.53||0.42|
|NHL Career P/G||0.22||0.13||0.09||0.27||0.32|
|NHL P/G * 82||18||10||7||22||31|
Two players, B and C, have numbers significantly worse than the other three once they reached the AHL. It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that Player B is Zac Rinaldo and Player C is Jody Shelley. Player D had a very good career P/G in juniors and continued his success to the AHL where he topped a point per game. In 311 NHL games, Dan Carcillo has put up .27 points per game---good for 22 given an 82 game season. Player E didn’t quite put up Carcillo’s career junior numbers, but Eric Wellwood crossed the point per game mark in his last junior season. His .42 AHL points per game is respectable and 10 points in 31 career NHL games puts him atop the list for points per game.
Who’s player A? You guessed it: Tom Sestito. His career junior point per game average was right on par with Wellwood, although it was roughly half of what Carcillo put up. However, once Sestito developed into the massive force he is today he also developed a little bit of net presence and some decent hands. He crossed the point per game mark in his last year of juniors, with the best season of any of the other four players. He scored at three times the pace of Rinaldo and Shelley while in the AHL and slightly more than Eric Wellwood did (although Carcillo beat him out by a little). And as for his NHL level, he may not be quite with Wellwood or Carcillo, but he’s certainly in a different category than Rinaldo and Shelley.
With Hartnell and Simmonds out of the lineup we are very thin up front, especially thin on big bodies. Until we get either of the two back I see the lines as followed:
If Dan Carcillo and Eric Wellwood got opportunities at a top-9 role, why shouldn’t Sestito? He’s proven throughout his development he can put points on the board better than his physical counterparts and he's a much better option on that 3rd line over Zac Rinaldo.