Though the trade deadline looms Monday, the Philadelphia Flyers have already worked on assimilating their newest additions into the lineup.
Defensemen Pavel Kubina and Nicklas Grossman have been forced to adapt quickly after being recently acquired by the Flyers, who are in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference.
“Everything is new,” said Kubina, who will protect projected starter Ilya Bryzgalov Saturday night against Calgary. “New team, new system. You’ve just got to work on it. It’s a little different style then we’ve played in Tampa. You’ve got to learn quick.”
The biggest adjustment may be mental for Kubina. Previously a member of the 12th-place Tampa Bay Lightning, the 6-foot-4 defenseman now has the playoffs directly in his crosshairs.
“It’s always good to have a chance and be in the playoffs,” Kubina said. “I remember we won a Stanley Cup in Tampa, we made it to the playoffs the next year after that but I wasn’t in for five, six years after. It’s always special to have a chance to be in the playoffs.”
Adjusting to new partners won't be a problem for current Flyers defensemen. They’ve been forced to do it all season, Matt Carle said.
“With all the injuries we’ve had this year it seems like you’re always playing with a new partner,” Carle said. “That’s the one positive. It’s helped to make these adjustments when bringing new guys in. We’ve had our fair share of new faces on the back end so it’s nothing new for us to bring someone new into our d-core.”
Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette likes what he sees out of his two newest additions that combine for almost 13 feet and nearly 500 pounds between them.
“They’ve been good,” he said. “They’re big units back there – both of them. They’ve done a pretty good job since being here trying to put some size back there behind our forwards and in front of our goaltender and clear things out in front of our net.”
Here's the Flyers' projected lineup:
Scott Hartnell – Claude Giroux – Wayne Simmonds
Danny Briere – Matt Read – Jaromir Jagr
James van Riemsdyk – Brayden Schenn – Jakub Voracek
Eric Wellwood – Max Talbot – Jody Shelley
Kimmo Timonen – Braydon Coburn
Matt Carle – Pavel Kubina
Nicklas Grossman – Andrej Meszaros