To quote Tears for Fears, “Welcome to your life. There’s no turning back.”
There is no turning back from yesterday’s news that the Flyers cut Joel Farabee and Phil Myers, two players whom most of us were certain were locks for this roster. The news is certainly disappointing for those of us who were excited by Farabee’s play, and by the promise Myers showed in his limited games last season. However, despite this, I am certain they will both feature for the Flyers this season, but I digress.
Regardless of Farabee and Myers, the Flyers will still have a game to play on Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks in Prague. After a disappointing and sobering loss to Lausanne HC on Monday, Alain Vigneault will be keen to ensure that the club starts off the games that matter on the right foot. It appears like he has already been shaking things up after the loss in Switzerland, as we learned from this Adam Kimelman tweet:
Flyers shuffled up all 4 lines and 3 of 4 D pairs for practice today:— Adam Kimelman (@NHLAdamK) October 1, 2019
This tweet was an early premonition of Farabee and Myers’ status, though at the time I thought nothing of it. Additionally, it gives us a potential insight as to how the Flyers could line up in Prague. Though I don’t think the combinations in the tweet will be the exact lines, I can take an educated guess as to how I think they’ll set up on Friday:
Giroux - Couturier - Konecny
Though Vigneault had paired Giroux with Hayes and Voracek, I think that in the end, he will stay attached to Sean Couturier’s hip. The pair have always been successful, and I would bet that they find themselves together yet again. I would hope as well that Travis Konecny is placed on this line as well, given that he produced at his highest clip with Couturier and Giroux. I also think that Konecny has looked good in preseason play. I thought he’s had a real stride in his step, and am excited to see what he can do.
Van Riemsdyk - Hayes - Voracek
Hayes and Voracek have been a consistent duo in Vigneault’s lineups so far, so they’ll obviously stay together. Hayes has looked very good in preseason, and his positive play-driving style compliments Voracek, who is a master at carrying the puck across into the offensive zone. As for the left wing, I think with the current roster as it is, that James Van Riemsdyk gets the nod at 2LW instead of Lindblom. This is because I think Lindblom is a more dimensional player than JVR. This isn’t to say that I necessarily think Lindblom is better, but that JVR is more of a pure goalscorer and could use playmaking line-mates like Hayes and Voracek.
Lindblom - Laughton - Twarynski
To that end, I think Lindblom could help take this line from “oof” to “adequate”. Laughton is able to play up in the line-up, but I don’t think he should be there (when everybody is healthy). Twarynski I’m not entirely convinced by. He may be better than Pitlick, but I wouldn’t be so sure for a player who hasn’t yet figured out the AHL. Lindblom, to me, can make this line work somewhat by his ability to do the little things right and drive play.
Raffl - Bunnaman - The endless void of nothingness
Pitlick may or may not be back to play 4RW, but as of right now, they only have 11 forwards rostered. Raffl and Bunnaman I’m confident can be above average to great 4th line forwards, though I wouldn’t expect much more than that.
Provorov - Sanheim
This may be too good to be true, but I really hope this is true. During the Flyers’ last practice, Provorov and Braun were skating together, but I don’t believe they will end up on the same pairing. Provy and Sanheim are clearly the best defensemen on the team, and I think Vigneault recognizes this too. They had skated together in the Lausanne game as well.
Gostisbehere - Braun
I’ve liked what I’ve seen from them. Braun provides a solid defensive cover for Ghost when he decides to activate in the offensive zone, and hopefully this means the Flyers won’t get caught out as often. Gostisbehere has still made some defensive mistakes in coverage, but I’m thinking he’ll get more steady as the season progresses.
Hagg - Niskanen
Yep. I think this is gonna be a thing. I still am not fully on board with the idea that the organization is in love with Morin, so I think they are legitimately planning on sticking with Hagg for the time being. I think this pair could really get torched considering both Niskanen and Hagg don’t provide the most solid value in d-zone coverage. Well, we can’t have hockey without bad choices sometimes!
Hart - Starter
No brainer. He had a rough night in Lausanne, but he’s the #1 for a reason.
Elliott - Backup
Oh hey, finally a good game from Brian Elliott! He played well in relief of Hart on Monday, but I don’t think this will be enough for him to oust Hart as the opening day starter. Just a hunch.