Jake Voracek: zero goals. Sean Couturier: zero goals. Matt Read: zero goals. Scott Hartnell: zero goals (and injured). Claude Giroux: zero goals. Greg Paone: zero goals. Enrico Campitelli Jr: zero goals. Nick Menta: zero goals.
Ok, so the last three people on that list write for this website and do not play for the Flyers so that should get the point across that the Orange and Black’s offense has struggled immensely so far during the young NHL season.
Through the new campaign’s first eight games, the Flyers have netted just 11 goals, which ties them with Thursday’s opponent, the New York Rangers, for the lowest total in the league.
It should come as no surprise that the Flyers’ record stands at 1-7 and they have a league-worst two points.
It’s pretty safe to say that Philadelphia’s offense needs some type of spark to finally get going. And that spark needs to come from the team’s secondary scorers. Pronto.
You’re probably thinking, “No one is scoring. How can anyone be a secondary scorer?”
Touché. But I’m referring to the guys that were considered secondary scorers heading into the season. I’m talking about the Reads, Couturiers, Brayden Schenns and Wayne Simmonds of the world.
These guys have to get their respective offensive games going to not only get the team some goals, but to relieve some of the immense pressure off the Flyers’ supposed-to-be premier scorers Giroux and whoever plays alongside him, which, heading into Thursday’s visit from the Rangers, looks to now be Vincent Lecavalier and rookie Michael Raffl, and Voracek.
Even though he hasn’t really showed it much through eight games and may or may not still be feeling the effects of offseason hand surgery, Giroux is an elite NHL player. Voracek also hasn’t played like he’s capable of and may still be dealing with a back injury. They will still have to go up against the opponent’s top defensemen throughout the majority of a game. That’s not great news for guys that have been struggling out of the gate.
Take tonight's Rangers game for example. Even though they sit at minus-7 and minus-8 respectively because of New York’s similarly slow start, Dan Girardi and/or Marc Staal will likely be on the ice most of the time against Giroux and Voracek. Ryan McDonagh, who isn’t having as bad a start as his fellow New York defensemen, will also likely see time against Giroux and Voracek. Those Rangers blue-liners are still capable of playing like top-level shutdown defensemen despite their slow starts to the season.
The fact is Giroux and Voracek are going to get a ton of attention even if they are struggling. That’s where the secondary scorers have to step up, especially with those guys struggling.
Schenn has two goals but one was a gift into wide-open net after Florida goalie Tim Thomas misplayed a bounce off the boards on a dump in. Simmonds scored his first goal of the season last week against the Penguins but he’s fanned and whiffed on a season’s worth of passes and shots through eight games. Read has come close with a few posts hit but still hasn’t found paydirt. And Couturier really hasn’t done anything noticeable thus far.
Let’s face it. Through eight games, Tye McGinn leads the Flyers with three goals. McGinn has played in just three of those eight games. Good for McGinn but… Oof, Flyers. Oof.
With the Flyers’ top guys not playing the way they’re capable of, it’s time for these secondary scorers to get going and give the team the offensive punch and spark it so desperately needs. They are going to get their chances as teams continue to focus on Giroux and Voracek.
Schenn, Simmonds, Read and Couturier have all shown in the past that they’re capable of putting the puck in the net somewhat consistently and have shown they can get on hot streaks. Now is the time for one or two or all of them to do so and spark the Flyers’ sleepy offense. The talent is there to do so.
Maybe a visit from the almost-equally lousy Rangers is just what the doctor ordered.
This was a guest post by Greg Paone