Philadelphia Flyers That Have the Best on-Ice Chemistry
Training camp for the Philadelphia Flyers begins Monday with preseason contests set to begin at the end of the week.
And while Philly has a host of new faces (Vincent Lecavalier, Mark Streit, Ray Emery) to incorporate into the lineup, there are also quite a few familiar names patrolling the frozen surface for the Orange and Black this season.
Here's a look at three pairs of returning Flyers who have the best on-ice chemistry.
Claude Giroux & Jake Voracek
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Two players who will return instant chemistry from a season ago are Flyers' captain Claude Giroux and blossoming winger Jakub Voracek.
Giroux and Voracek finished first and second respectively in team scoring last season and were the only two Flyers to register more than 40 points a year ago.
Philly's captain has now paced the Orange and Black in overall scoring each of the last three seasons while Voracek is coming off a career-high 22 goals despite the abbreviated 48-game schedule.
Both are dynamic, savvy offensive talents with the blazing foot speed and above-average hockey sense to not only think but execute the game at the same brisk pace.
One of the premier set-up men in the NHL, Giroux has not only led the Flyers in scoring each of the last three years, he's paced the squad in assists during each of those campaigns as well. He sees the game as well as any and perfectly complements a budding sniper like Voracek.
The former Columbus Blue Jacket was the only Philadelphia skater last season to record more than 20 goals and Voracek has seen his goal totals increase in each of the last three campaigns.
He established an initial career-best 18 goals during his first season in the City of Brotherly Love and topped that with 22 conversions last year thanks to extensive playing time with Giroux.
To that point, Giroux garnered an assist on 12 of Voracek's 22 tallies last year.
At 25 and 24 years old respectively, Giroux and Voracek are entering their NHL prime, and the early chemistry they displayed last season could be on display in Philadelphia for many years to come.
Claude Giroux & Scott Hartnell
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While Giroux and Voracek will be looking to renew their on-ice chemistry from a season ago, Giroux and Scott Hartnell will be aiming to rediscover their chemistry from two years back that made them one of the most feared combinations in the NHL.
Injuries forced Hartnell to miss 16 games last season and as a result, the 31-year-old power forward was never really able to get on track.
He managed just eight goals in 32 games and was shuffled throughout the lineup after rejoining the team at the season's midpoint. That's a far cry from the astounding 37 conversions he punched in during the 2011-12 season.
Now, in the 2013-14 campaign, Hartnell will likely begin the season back on the Flyers' top line alongside the team's dynamic centerman.
Two years ago, the 6'2", 210-pound Hartnell finished tied for sixth in the league in goals after posting the second 30-goal campaign in five seasons in Philadelphia. One of the biggest reasons for Hartnell's success (and a 13 goal increase from prior season) was, of course, Giroux.
The then-23-year-old center finished second in the NHL that season with 65 assists including helpers on 21 of Hartnell's career-best 37 goals that year.
Unlike Giroux and Voracek, Giroux and Hartnell complement one another by bringing completely different talents to the frozen surface.
Giroux is a fleet-footed playmaker who has the kind of exceptional vision that could have him pacing Philadelphia in assists every year for the next decade. He's an unselfish superstar who is just as happy setting up a teammate as he is at finishing a scoring opportunity himself.
Meanwhile, Hartnell is a bruising power forward who may not always be able to play at Giroux's pace but has a nose for the net.
The Regina, Saskatchewan native is a finisher and doesn't shy away from the tough areas to produce offense. Finally, Hartnell has outstanding hands in and around the net front to quickly deposit rebounds into the back of the opposition's goal.
If Giroux and Voracek can re-establish their chemistry from a season ago and Giroux and Hartnell can rediscover their phenomenal chemistry from two years back, the Flyers could be well on their way to an explosive offensive season.
Kimmo Timonen & Luke Schenn
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While Giroux, Voracek and Hartnell account for some of the best on-ice chemistry offensively for the Flyers, Kimmo Timonen and Luke Schenn provide a similar role on the back end.
Both are very different types of blueliners and that's what helps them complement one another so well defensively for the Orange and Black.
At 38 years old, Timonen is a proven, veteran defenseman who isn't overly flashy but just simply gets the job done year after year.
At just 5'10" and 195 pounds, he doesn't provide much physical intimidation for the opposition but skates well enough to put himself in solid defensive positioning each and every shift. He has a good stick for disrupting scoring opportunities in his own end and has possessed one of Philadelphia's best outlet passes from the defensive zone in recent years.
Once on the attack, Timonen has above-average offensive acumen for a defender and is capable of quarterbacking the squad's top power play unit.
Meanwhile, Schenn is a 23-year-old tower of power.
At 6'2", 230 pounds, Schenn has the physical stature to provide the kind of intimidation Flyers' hockey is known for. In just five NHL campaigns, Schenn has already led the league in hits three times compiling a bone-crushing 708 collisions over just the last three seasons.
He's a prototypical stay-at-home defensive defenseman who can clear bodies at the net front and routinely finishes opposing skaters into the boards. However, he struggles with the first pass out of the zone and has produced just a modest 86 points in 357 career NHL outings.
As a pair though, Timonen and Schenn provide outstanding defensive chemistry for Philadelphia.
They both excel in different aspects of the game while Timonen serves as a perfect mentor for the budding Schenn.