The Philadelphia Flyers lost again this afternoon, falling 7-4 on the road to the New York Islanders.
Based on the box score, the line of Sean Couturier between wingers Matt Read and R.J. Umberger had a particularly tough outing. Couturier and Read each finished minus-5; Umberger was minus-4.
Now, granted, plus-minus is an extremely flawed stat; however, when a trio is that deep in the red, it’s going to be a topic of conversation. (And that it was on Twitter.) The line also had poor Corsi numbers, and in the non-statistical department, left coach Craig Berube questioning their effort level.
So far this season, Couturier has played around 80 percent of his five-on-five minutes with Read and just over half of them with Umberger, who of course was traded to Philly for Scott Hartnell in June.
There’s an argument to be made that Umberger, 32, has dragged Couturier, 22, and Read, 28, down. Last season, Couturier played mostly with Read, but also spent a good deal of time with Steve Downie, now with Pittsburgh.
Both Couturier and Read had better possession numbers last season.
Anyway, feel free to chime in, Flyers fans. Do Couturier and Read need to be freed from Umberger, or do they just need to play better?