Last in the NHL in goals scored, the Philadelphia Flyers are obviously dealing with serious offensive issues. They've been shut out in two straight games, and have lost five out of their last six games. As a result, it was fair to expect a number of changes to the Flyers lineup for Monday night's game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Still, Jakub Voracek alongside Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Chris VandeVelde was not what most had in mind.
Per the beat writers at practice this morning, Michael Raffl has moved up to the top line and Voracek slides down to make way for him. The line centered by Bellemare has received the third-most minutes of any Flyers line in recent weeks, so it's not a demotion all the way down the lineup. But for a star like Voracek who scored 81 points in 2014-15, the move comes as a shock.
Voracek has struggled to score this season, posting only nine points in 20 games. But his underlying puck possession statistics remain strong. His on-ice Corsi For percentage at even strength is 55.82% - second on the team only to Sean Couturier. An on-ice shooting percentage of 3.80% and poor finishing by the top power play unit have been the real culprits for Voracek's scoring woes, not a lack of territorial dominance.
Claude Giroux will now have Raffl and Brayden Schenn as his wingers. The line of Matt Read, Sean Couturier and Wayne Simmonds remains intact - possibly a tacit acknowledgement of their recent stellar possession play despite an inability to light the lamp.
On the fourth line, Vincent Lecavalier skated in practice but will apparently sit again, as Scott Laughton has been cleared to play despite suffering an upper-body injury against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. He'll likely center rookie Taylor Leier and Sam Gagner.
Laughton "good to go" says Hakstol— Jeff Neiburg (@Jeff_Neiburg) November 23, 2015
The defensive pairings remain the same. Evgeny Medvedev will be noted as a healthy scratch for the fifth consecutive game. Michal Neuvirth gets the start in net - his first since a 4-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on November 10th.
Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Brayden Schenn
Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Wayne Simmonds
Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Jakub Voracek
Taylor Leier - Scott Laughton - Sam Gagner
Michael Del Zotto - Radko Gudas
Nick Schultz - Luke Schenn
Brandon Manning - Shayne Gostisbehere