After a disappointing stretch of four games without a win, the Flyers decided to shake things up a bit by sending down the rookie pair of Connor Bunnaman and Carsen Twarynski, replacing them with Joel Farabee and Mikhail Vorobyev. Both Farabee and Vorobyev have played well in the AHL so far, so it is energizing to see them enter the team. Personally, I expected as many others did, Farabee to make the roster out of camp after the Flyers essentially admitted they were leaving a spot open for a prospect. Well, after six games, Farabee has arrived, and we could not be more excited. Here’s how Vigneault and the Flyers could piece things together with the new additions:
Giroux - Couturier - Konecny
Alain Vigneault reunited this line and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. Against the Dallas Stars, the line yet again looked good, and registered a 75.00% Corsi-For percentage. Their pressure lead to the Flyers first (and only) goal early on in the first period. While at the beginning they split up Giroux and Couturier, I don’t think the Flyers will do this again with how well this line is playing. It may help with depth to split them up, but my word this line simply obliterate their competition.
Lindblom - Hayes - Voracek
This line broke even against Dallas, and to their credit played admirably. I think it was unfair to expect that this line would play as well as well when Giroux and Lindblom were swapped. Couturier and Lindblom are the two best play-drivers on this team, so naturally they were going to put up ridiculous Corsi-For statistics. This doesn’t mean that they’ve played poorly at all, quite the contrary. They drove play better against Edmonton (60.00 CF%) and all of the individual players on the line have had good seasons thus far. Kevin Hayes, for me at the least, has been spectacular early on and is doing a lot of little things right. When the team overall starts getting results, expect this line to continue driving play effectively.
Van Riemsdyk - Laughton - Farabee
I have a feeling that the Flyers desperately want to push Scott Laughton back to 4C, though this won’t happen until Nolan Patrick is back. For the moment, they’ll leave him on the third line. The addition of Joel Farabee will certainly help spark this line. Farabee has been electric in the AHL, and his hockey smarts translates in all of the little things that he does very well. I also theorize that Farabee will help James Van Riemsdyk end his snake-bitten run. JVR has done everything right but hit the net, and giving him better line-mates will hopefully result in more goals.
Raffl - Vorobyev - Pitlick
Vorobyev has played well for the Phantoms. Will that translate to better play than we saw from Connor Bunnaman? Maybe, but I think it will. I imagine that Vorobyev will want to leave a lasting impression, given he has flopped in his previous call-ups. The fourth line, made up of Raffl, Twarnyski and Chris Stewart, only played 3:12 against the Stars, yet they somehow broke even from a Corsi perspective. I would imagine that putting Pitlick and Vorobyev with Laughton will lead to the line significantly outplaying competition in their limited ice time. That’s an advantage that isn’t terribly noticable, but any advantage is a good thing, especially given the value of goals from depth talent.
Reporting on the Flyers morning skate, Adam Kimelman tweeting the following:
Flyers at morning skate:— Adam Kimelman (@NHLAdamK) October 21, 2019
Pitlick, Morin the extras
This...is certainly a change. It pretty much flies in the face of all my predictions.
We see here that Vigneault has re-united the Lindblom, Couturier, Konecny line that played incredibly well early on, and may be specifically designed to nullify Vegas’ top tier talent (which are their two ‘first lines’). Giroux returns to center with JVR and Voracek on his wing. The Flyers experimented with Giroux at center again during the preseason, though it became evident they weren’t planning on implementing it right away. Moving Hayes down to 3C with will make that line very scary if they are matched up against one of Vegas’ bottom six lines. Pairing him with Laughton on the left as well will hopefully make this a memorable NHL debut for Joel Farabee. The most surprising thing is to see Chris Stewart back in. Well, maybe it isn’t that surprising. It is hockey after all. Pitlick hasn’t played very well, but he’s been measurably better than Stewart.