Philadelphia Flyers forwards Vincent Lecavalier, Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier were subject to criticism from former coach Craig Berube last season, but new coach Dave Hakstol will enter his first training camp with an open mind on how they will fit into his lineup.
"You can learn a lot from video, but you can't learn everything from video," Hakstol told CSNPhilly.com on Thursday in his first comments since the 2015 NHL Draft. "To me, it's about the performances you see firsthand during training camp and it's in discussions with our staff."
A subject of frequent trade rumors, Lecavalier, 35, has three seasons remaining on a five-year, $22.5 million contract. After he had 20 goals and 37 points in 69 games in 2013-14, Lecavalier's numbers declined to eight goals in 57 games last season.
"You can overanalyze things. I'll be blunt," Hakstol said. "That's why I think I want to be careful about how much video ... I'm trying to get familiar. I'm not trying to make decisions with video. I don't like doing that. I'm trying to get a baseline of knowledge of everybody, but at the same time, I don't want to overanalyze things. That's just not my style. That's not the way I want to do things."
Hakstol, 46, was hired by the Flyers on May 18 after winning 289 games in 11 seasons as coach at the University of North Dakota while reaching the Frozen Four seven times. Berbue was fired at the end of last season after Philadelphia failed to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
After reviewing video from last season, Hakstol said he has "more than a million" lines and defensive combinations in pencil, but nothing set in stone.
"We've started to talk about those things," Hakstol said. "That comes down to part of a discussion about training camp. How many different things with how short the time period is. How many things can you efficiently look at?"
If forward Sam Gagner, acquired in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on June 27, makes the transition from center to right wing, that could shift Schenn back to center. Schenn, 23, is in the final year of a two-year contract worth $5 million. He had 18 goals and 29 points in 82 games last season.
"From my perspective, he's played a lot of games, and he's a young player that is growing and developing," Hakstol said of Schenn. "I think I am going to allow that proof to be decided in his performance. I'm not making any decisions on anything that's happened in the past. I think it's about what you do from this point forward and that will be the case in this situation."
Couturier, 22, is in the final year of a two-year, $3.5 million contract. He had 15 goals and 37 points in 82 games last season.
"One of things you are going to find from me is not a lot of labels in terms of lines," Hakstol said of where Couturier could potentially fit. "We're going to try to put together four good lines that work together well and help us be successful.
"He's a tremendous young man. Very reliable player on the ice. He is another young player who has played a lot of games at this level, but he is still growing and developing at this level. I'm looking for him to take another step forward."