Philadelphia Flyers: Power Ranking Claude Giroux, Forwards for 2012-2013
The Flyers have a young, talented roster full of both up-and-coming stars and grizzled veterans. Their forwards corps is one of the best in the league, but even the best teams have a best and worst on their depth chart.
I didn't include Tom Sestito or Jody Shelley, because I don't think they will be on the opening day roster.
I also didn't take into account what lines they might play on this upcoming season, just their current and projected ability. Here is my ranking of the Flyers forwards.
12. Eric Wellwood
It's actually pretty encouraging that Wellwood is last on this list. He's one of the fastest, shiftiest players I've ever seen in person, and is a great energy guy.
He doesn't score a ton, but he's pretty decent with the puck and can be disruptive defensively. A real asset to any team, he should be a fourth-line guy for Philadelphia this year.
11. Zac Rinaldo
Rinaldo is a scrappy kid who plays a vital role in Philly's game plan. He defends his teammates, antagonizes the opposition, and fights anyone who crosses him.
He's not big and slow like many traditional enforcers, and that allows him to play more minutes because he can actually skate and handle the puck a little bit.
10. Ruslan Fedotenko
Fedotenko hasn't been with the Flyers since 2002, but he will be welcomed back with open arms. A gritty team guy, Rusty will be a solid veteran presence for the younger forwards.
He can also still play a bit too, and will probably get some looks on the third line and fourth line.
9. Matt Read
It's a testament to the Flyers' depth that Read is ninth on this list. He led all rookies in goals scored last year with 24, and hopefully will continue his scoring streak this season.
He's a fast winger with a good wrist shot, and is more mature than most rookies due to his late start in the NHL. If the 25-year-old continues to develop, he could touch the 30-goal mark in 2013.
8. Max Talbot
Talbot quickly became a fan favorite after Philadelphia fans got over his former allegiances with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He's a leader, a great locker room presence, and an underrated player on the ice.
Talbot can skate and forecheck with the best of them. He's more heady than people give him credit for, and is one of the best penalty killers in the game.
7. Brayden Schenn
Schenn had a bit of a rocky first half of last season, but he turned it up after scoring his first NHL goal in the Winter Classic. The 21-year-old could be in store for a breakout sophomore campaign.
He was one of the Flyers' best players in their playoff series against Pittsburgh, showing the speed, aggression, passing, and scoring touch that made him such a highly regarded prospect.
6. Danny Briere
Briere slumped through much of last season, but turned it up in the playoffs like he always does. His leadership is essential to the Flyers and their young stars.
He's still one of the most skilled puck-handlers and passers in the league, and should be considered for the vacant captaincy in Philadelphia.
5. Sean Couturier
A year from now, Couturier could very well be No. 2 on this list. He has all the tools to become a superstar in the NHL. He's big, fast and skilled; most importantly, he's extremely smart and composed on the ice.
He moves extremely well for his 6'4" frame, and does everything well. He can shoot and pass, but his real talent is in the defensive zone. He shut down Evgeni Malkin in the playoffs, and is already one of the best penalty killers on the Flyers. And he's not even 20 years old yet.
4. Jake Voracek
Voracek reminds me a lot of Briere. He's not big, but is really quick and smooth on his skates and doesn't lose the puck.
He has great vision, and could develop into an elite playmaker. He has a tendency to disappear at times and needs to shoot more, but the talent is there. People also forget that Voracek is just 23 years old.
3. Wayne Simmonds
Some people may question Simmonds being this high, but I think this spot is well deserved. The Flyers just locked him up with a six-year deal, and for good reason.
Simmonds is big, athletic and aggressive. He contributes on both ends of the ice. He scored 28 goals last year, and could easily hit 30 next year. He's also still only 24 years old.
2. Scott Hartnell
A lot of people attribute Hartnell's success to his linemate Claude Giroux, but you can't take away from Hartnell's scoring ability. It's not like he just scored 37 goals by accident with Giroux on the ice.
As is evident from the video above, Hartnell has a wicked shot that allows him to be a threat from anywhere on the ice. He's also very scrappy and a great team guy that everyone wants on their side.
1. Claude Giroux
There's not much to say about Giroux that hasn't already been said. He's planted himself firmly in the discussion of who the NHL's best player is, and has emerged as a leader on the Flyers at just 24 years of age.
He's a great passer, scorer, skater and he is underrated defensively as well. Giroux has a phenomenal future ahead of him.
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