Philadelphia Flyers: Analyzing Potential Forward Lines If Lockout Ended Tomorrow
There isn't a lot of hope right now for an NHL season, but you never know when the two sides could decide to start making money and playing hockey again.
Federal mediators are now involved in the discussions, so there's at least a little bit of reason to think a deal may get reached soon.
If that doesn't happen, the Flyers would actually be one of the least affected teams, because of how many young guys they have, some of whom are just developing and gaining confidence now in the AHL.
But if a deal is reached, those guys would get called right up to the big club. With so much talent across the board for the Flyers, it's worth looking at how their forward lines might get arranged if the lockout ends soon.
Scott Hartnell-Claude Giroux-Jake Voracek
This would be one of the best lines in the league. Last year, Giroux and Hartnell were a dynamic duo supplemented by Jaromir Jagr on the left side.
As good as Jagr is, Voracek is pretty skilled himself, and if nothing else, he is younger and will bring some extra energy.
This line would be deadly from a scoring standpoint. The biggest element to this combination would be the necessity of Giroux shooting more.
Voracek is more of a setup guy than a scorer, meaning Giroux would have to take on a bigger scoring role.
Wayne Simmonds-Danny Briere-Brayden Schenn
The biggest question with this line is whether Briere or Schenn should play center. Both are very good centers, so to me it comes down to who is more capable at wing.
That answer, as of now, is Schenn. He is younger, faster and plays more aggressively at this point than Briere does. Briere is much more effective defensively as a center, so at this point, he starts the year in the middle.
Either way, Briere and Schenn would play off each other well, and Simmonds is one of the most underrated wingers in the league. Simmonds would mix things up and get in front of the net, allowing Schenn and Briere to create chances in the offensive zone.
Rusty Fedotenko-Sean Couturier-Matt Read
This would be one of the best third lines in the league. Couturier could develop into the Flyers' second best player in the next year or two. He has the size, skill and hockey sense to become a really special player.
With Fedotenko providing the grit and leadership on this line, they would be a solid group on both ends of the ice. Read has the speed to stretch the ice, leaving more room for Couturier to occupy the middle.
I'm not sure if Read would be able to match his production from last year on this line, but he doesn't necessarily have to, as long as he does his job and finishes as a "plus" at the end of the season.
Eric Wellwood-Max Talbot-Zac Rinaldo
This line has everything you want from your checking line: toughness, speed, experience and a willingness to forecheck and do some dirty work.
Talbot would be the league's best fourth line center, and while I wish he could see the ice more, there just isn't room for him anywhere on the first three lines. The silver lining in this is that he'll be more fresh for penalty killing, which is what he's best at.
Wellwood is a phenomenal skater, and would be able to fly up the boards and keep the opposition on its heels. Combined with Talbot, he could bring a little offensive spark.
Rinaldo is definitely not afraid to mix it up, and would be the one to drop the gloves or deliver some big hits. He's not a bad player though, and is more than capable of getting up and down the ice and contributing a bit.