The Columbus Blue Jackets aren’t the only team with issues at center.
With captain and top center Claude Giroux sidelined for two weeks with a lower body injury, the Philadelphia Flyers have moved forward Brayden Schenn from the wing to the middle on the team’s top line.
“I’ve got to be ready for whatever is thrown at me,” Schenn told CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio. “I’m a versatile guy who can play center or wing and I feel comfortable at both. I’ve had enough reps and games at left wing and I’ve played center my whole career.”
Additionally, forward Michael Raffl has moved up to the team’s top line at training camp.
As coach Craig Berube’s line juggling continued, R.J. Umberger moved to left wing on Vincent Lecavalier’s unit with Jason Akeson.
“I got to look at Akeson with Lecavalier which is always of interest to me to see because (Akeson) passes the puck well and Vinny is a finisher,” Berube said. “It’s good that Schenner gets reps in the middle, too, because there’s a good chance he’ll play center at some point.”
Schenn is no stranger to playing the center ice position; he spent parts of last season in the middle when he wasn’t playing alongside Lecavalier, but linemate Jakub Voracek knows there’s no replacing Giroux.
“They are different players,” Voracek said. “Schenner is a power forward and G (Giroux) is a guy who makes everything happen on the ice. Schenner is a smart kid. He sees the ice well, he has a great shot and he understands the players he is with.
“We’ve just got to click. I don’t know how the lineup is going to be for the next, few games or on opening night. But we’re professionals and we have to find a way.”
Training camp and preseason are a time for coaches to juggle, mix-and-match and see what he has in terms of chemistry. Schenn certainly isn’t going to be the team’s top line center when Giroux returns, but should the Flyers be in a situation, which requires line juggling down the road, Berube will know how Schenn fits in on the top line.