When the Flyers acquired Wayne Simmonds this summer, the one guy that didn’t figure to see his playing time get affected by that was Scott Hartnell. After all, Simmonds came over as a right wing and Hartnell plays primarily on the left side. Things are changing in Philly, however, as the Flyers’ depth is giving Peter Laviolette reasons to tinker with the lineup all over the ice.
Simmonds has been taking Hartnell’s time on the power play and earning the right to help on the man advantage thanks to his aggressive play up front. For those hoping Hartnell can be a 25-30 goal-scorer again this season, you might want to change your focus on who to watch for the time being.
Laviolette says that the Flyers’ depth allows him to switch guys around and in and out of the special teams situations as needed. We’ve seen rookie Sean Couturier start the year killing penalties (with major praise from Laviolette), a role you generally don’t see 18 year-old players filling.
With the host of new faces in Philadelphia you knew there were going to be some different faces doing different things, but these sorts of changes are a bit much to wrap your head around to start the season. With the Flyers off to a great start going 2-0-0 including a shutout of the Devils on Saturday night, perhaps Laviolette is pulling the right strings.