Claude Giroux

Is Lecavalier headed back to left wing?


Yesterday, reports broke that Ryan White would miss Philly’s training camp while recovering from pectoralis surgery. While not a huge story — no offense to Ryan White, but he’s Ryan White — it did underscore the remarkable depth the Flyers have down the middle.

Once healthy, White will be battling the likes of Scott Laughton, Chris VandeVelde, Blair Jones and Nick Cousins for whatever minutes are left at center behind the big four of Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier and Vincent Lecavalier.

Assuming, of course, that Lecavalier sticks at center. From the Courier-Post:

With training camp set to open next week, Lecavalier is still waiting to see what the new normal will be. Will the Flyers keep him at center, where he played his entire career? Will they try to let 23-year-old Brayden Schenn flourish in the middle instead and ask Lecavalier to get more comfortable at left wing?

“I don’t know the answer to that,” Lecavalier said. “I guess we’ll see what happens the first day of training camp.”

Moving the 34-year-old veteran to the outside full-time might work out for all parties involved. As mentioned, the Flyers moved Lecavalier around plenty last season, including time at LW (which Lecavalier acknowledged he’d never played before) and an ill-fated stint as a fourth-line center (which neither Lecavalier or Flyers coach Craig Berube seemed to think worked.)

But Lecavalier’s game is predicated on offense and making plays, and a full-time move to the left side — where Matt Read, Michael Raffl and R.J. Umberger currently top the depth chart — could provide more consistent opportunities to generate offense.

Moving Lecavalier away from center could also benefit Philly’s two brightest young stars, Schenn and Couturier. GM Ron Hextall’s already on record saying the club wants more offensively from Couturier this season, which probably means a bit more time on the power play (Couturier finished 12th on the team in PPG TOI last year, averaging 1:16 per game.)

Schenn, meanwhile, has also flip-flopped between center and wing, but said midway through last season he’s “real comfortable” playing down the middle.

Another youngster that might benefit from the move? Laughton, who’s looking to crack the roster this year and could be a nice energy guy in a fourth-line center role. Though he does have offensive ability — evident by his 40 goals in 54 games with OHL Oshawa last season — Laughton’s best chance of sticking with the big club might be to crash and bang.

“Whatever happens, happens,” Laughton told “I’m ready for any situation they put me in.”

PHT Morning Skate: Is retirement the right choice for Brodeur?


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

The Hockey News’ Rory Boylen believes that Martin Brodeur should retire. (Post to Post)

Fifteen things to know about NHL 15, which is out in North America today. (Sportsnet)

The owners who failed the Atlanta Thrashers seem to be failing the Atlanta Hawks, too. (Grantland)

Alex Ovechkin shares his take on the unsettling political situation between Russia and Ukraine. (ESPN)

The Edmonton Oilers defense might fall victim to faulty play by their wingers. (The Score)

Plenty of funny stuff from Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds making an appearance at the NHL Store on Monday, but it’s unlikely anything will top this:

Hey, Henrik Lundqvist can’t cook. See, he’s not per…forget it. (ESPN)

Patrick Kane swindled journalists into thinking he knew his Corsi rating:

… While Sidney Crosby didn’t bother:

PHT Morning Skate: Reinhart brothers hope to all make NHL teams

1 Comment

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Will this be the year that the three Reinhart brothers play in the NHL? (

As one of the longest active members of the Montreal Canadiens, Tomas Plekanec is regarded as a candidate for the captaincy. (Montreal Gazette)

Claude Giroux’s freak golfing injury last summer hasn’t scared him away from the game, although he has been making sure each swing is a “nice, easy shot.” (CSN Philly)

What should Arizona Coyotes fans expect from Max Domi this season? (Five for Howling)

Hall of Famer Jean Beliveau, 83, has been battling pneumonia, but he’s getting better. (

Here’s an all-star team comprised solely of players signed to bad contracts. (SBNation)

Workhorse goalies, forwards from last season


It’s Labor Day, so this seems like an appropriate time to consider hard work in hockey.

Sure, these players are all well-compensated for their efforts, but perhaps this will provide a little thematic entertainment. We took a look at the “hardest working” defensemen in this post, but now let’s consider goalies and forwards.

A few ground rules before you get too angry on your day off:

1. This is based on 2013-14 stats.

2. Quantity generally beats out quality in many cases, so players who logged 70+ games have a much better chance than someone who was injured but faced tough assignments when healthy.

3. By no means is this a comprehensive list and this isn’t meant to judge subjective things like “effort.” It’s mainly based on how a player was deployed. In other words, team styles and coaching in general made a big impact.

Got it? Let’s roll:

Anze Kopitar

At this point, leaving the Los Angeles Kings’ center off any “best forward in hockey” discussion is foolish. SB Nation’s Adam Gretz does a great job summarizing his all-around brilliance:

Since the start of the 2011-12 season with Kopitar on the ice at even-strength, the Kings have attempted 60 percent of the shot attempts (the third best mark in the NHL, behind only Kopitar’s teammate Justin Williams and Bergeron) and scored more than 61 percent of the goals. He’s also averaged more than two minutes of shorthanded ice-time per game over that stretch (tops among Kings forwards) and has 53 power play points.

Sean Couturier

Much like overall shorthanded time leader Braydon Coburn, playing for the league’s most penalized team probably inflates Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier’s PK numbers … but they still tower above other forwards expected to chip in at least some offense (sorry Manny Malhotra). Couturier’s only competition in total penalty killing time among forwards was Jay McClement, but Couturier logged more than four minutes of total ice time per game than the former Toronto Maple Leafs defensive specialist, giving him more all-around duties.

(Flyers fans are justified in smiling at the fact that his cap hit will only be $1.75 million for the next two seasons.)

Tomas Plekanec

It’s tempting to place Patrice Bergeron here being that he’s arguably the best two-way forward in the NHL (with a handful of others making a strong argument). Just look at this chart, which is one way of showing much opposing shooters struggle to score when Bergeron’s on the ice:

So consider that a mention of sorts, but the Boston Bruins probably share the defensive burden better than most (Bergeron averaged just under two minutes of shorthanded time per game, a healthy but not outrageous average). One might look to Boston’s hated rivals in Montreal for a guy who carries a remarkable workload for a quality scorer.

Tomas Plekanec wasn’t all that great at draws, yet he won the most shorthanded faceoffs in the league for a good reason: he was on PK duty a lot. Plekanec averaged 2:57 shorthanded time per game, not all that short of Couturier’s daunting 3:25 average. On top of that, Plekanec began only 38 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, which essentially places him alongside “defensive specialists.”

His offensive output of 20 goals and 43 points looks pretty solid considering all of that heavy lifting.

Sidney Crosby, Claude Giroux, Ryan Getzlaf and other scorers under pressure

While Erik Karlsson carries a staggering amount of offensive responsibilities in Ottawa, there are plenty of forwards who are expected to score on a nightly basis. Sidney Crosby was involved in 42.9 percent of the Pittsburgh Penguins 242 goals while Claude Giroux (36.9 of Philadelphia’s tallies) and Ryan Getzlaf (33 percent of Anaheim Ducks’ 263 goals) weren’t far behind. Getzlaf boasted one of the better alternate Hart arguments when you consider his 2:07 shorthanded time per game combined with his second-best scoring output.

Semyon Varlamov

It’s easy to see why the Colorado Avalanche’s No. 1 goalie pushed Tuukka Rask in the Vezina voting, as Varlamov was crucial to his team’s surprising season.

Varlamov easily topped all goalies in save attempts (2,013) and saves (1,867) as Kari Lehtonen came in distant second with 1,888 attempts and 1,735 saves. Varlamov’s 63 games played wasn’t short of the largest workload, finishing just two contests behind Lehtonen. All things considered, it’s really impressive that Varlamov topped all goalies with 41 wins while generating an impressive .927 save percentage.

(In case you’re wondering, Rask made 1,568 saves with an outstanding .930 save percentage.)

With a nod to Ryan Miller absorbing buckets of shots in Buffalo, it’s hard to make an argument for any goalie’s job being tougher than Varlamov’s last season. Should the Avs be worried about the goaltending equivalent of the NFL running back “Curse of 370,” then?


Maybe even more than the defensemen list, omissions are likely here in part for space reasons (Ryan Kesler’s an honorable mention, for one). Feel free to add some names to consider in the comments, then.

Poll: Who will replace Hartnell on Philly’s first line?


When the Flyers traded Scott Hartnell to the Columbus Blue Jackets, it left a gaping hole on the left wing on their top line. While Philly got R.J. Umberger back in return, the question left to ponder is just who will slide in on the left side of Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek?

Randy Miller of pondered this same situation and picked out Brayden Schenn, Michael Raffl, and Umberger as the three main candidates. Schenn has been discussed here a bit as GM Ron Hextall said they’re expecting more from him. Miller suspects Raffl may get a shot with Umberger as an outside possibility.

So who do you think gets the job? If you’ve got another, better idea feel free to yell at us in the comments.