The Flyers boast one of the deepest wing cores in the NHL. This is one area that needs very little work or improvement. Below is the list and analysis of Flyers wingers heading into this season.
Last year was a career season for Giroux. “G” saw his career revitalized after a move to the wing, and it looks like a long term placement. He played like a man free of the burden of responsibility. Moving to the wing means less responsibility, and Giroux seemed relieved with the role. Claude scored over 100 points last season, and he was included in the NHL MVP discussion. I would expect more of the same this season, especially with Dave Hakstol keeping the Flyers top unit together. It is, however, unlikely that he will put up another 100 point season. I would expect a slight regression, around the 90 point range. Regardless, look for Giroux to be in the Flyers’ MVP conversation once again.
Voracek continued his excellent play last season as a solid playmaking winger. He has the joy of riding shotgun to Giroux and Couturier on the top line. Voracek has proven he is one of the top playmaking wingers in the league. Look for another season around 50 assists and 70 points for the skilled winger.
James Van Riemsdyk
JVR makes his return to Philadelphia this season, and the timing couldn’t be better. JVR is a consistent goal scorer that always ends up up with around 30 goals. He is a powerplay specialist who does his best work in-tight. Look for another 30 goal campaign from the power-forward.
Simmonds is another power forward on the Flyers’ roster. Last season was a bit of a struggle for Simmonds. However, he is still one of the top powerplay point-getters in the league. Simmonds does his best work in front of the net on the power play. With the signing of JVR, Simmonds may see his powerplay ice time decrease. However, he is likely still a solid bet for 20 goals and 40 points, regardless of where he plays in the lineup.
Konecny is a key member of the Flyers’ offense and defense. A two-way threat, Konecny boasts a versatile skill set. He excels on the powerplay, and he can play the penalty kill. Konecny is also excellent at drawing penalities and getting under the skin of opponents. A fan favorite, look for Konecny to continue his offensive progression this season.
Lindblom got into a handful of games for the Flyers last season. The jury is still out on what kind of player Lindblom will be. He put up decent numbers in Sweden and in the AHL last season. Most scouts have Lindblom pegged as a two-way third liner. This is where Lindblom started the season this year, and it’s a good place for him to learn the NHL game. Look for 10 goal, 30 point numbers from Lindblom this season.
Raffl is an underrated Flyers defensive forward. While rarely putting up offensive numbers, Raffl is excellent in the defensive zone. Dave Hakstol can rely on Raffl for overall dependability and strong penalty killing. Look for similar fourth line numbers (10-20 points) from Raffl this season.
A confusing player of sorts, Laughton has had an up-and-down career in the NHL so far. A former first round pick, Laughton often shows flashes of offensive brilliance, but not consistently. At this point in his career, Laughton is likely a third/fourth line pest type player with limited offensive upside. Laughton can play center, so if/when the injury bug hits the lineup, he may find himself moving up and down the line-up. Regardless, look for him to once again finish around the 20-point range.
Weal continues to be an intriguing player for the Flyers. A year ago, Weal was dubbed by many to be the next Yanne Gourde or Jonathan Marchessault. Weal’s game was similar to both Gourde and Marchessault, and like both players, Weal appeared to be a late bloomer who struggled to make NHL rosters because of his size only. However, the jury is still out on if Weal could be this type of player. Weal was used sparingly by Hakstol at times last season. While Weal was often utilized in the offensive zone, Hakstol moved him up and down the lineup. Weal possesses excellent offensive instincts and individual skill, but with a loaded team on the wings, it has been difficult for him to break through. Weal started this season as a healthy scratch and may find difficulty entering into the top six this season. If he is once again used sparingly, this may be his last season as Flyer.
Weise is a player of the past. Not necessarily because of his age (though he is over 30), but because of his style of play. Weise is what coaches were looking for 3-4 years ago as a bruising fourth liner. However, as coaches continue to use skill on these lines today, Weise has found himself frequently struggling to enter the lineup. When in, Weise adds momentum to his team through his physical play, but he has regressed offensively as he has aged. Look for minimal minutes from Weise this season.
Leier did not make the Flyers this season while playing sparingly last season. Leier has put up decent offensive numbers in the AHL and the WHL before that. However, he projects to likely be a fringe NHL player. Leier posseses a strong two-way game but looks like he is limited offensively. If the Flyers have injury problems, look for Leier to be a call-up. Otherwise, he is unlikely to find himself in a Flyers uniform this season.