|Danny Briere – With Jeff Carter out for what is likely the remainder of the regular season, head coach Peter Laviolette has moved Briere back to his natural position at center to compensate. We’ll see how long the switch will last, as Briere is scoreless with a minus-4 rating over his past four games. He is one tally short of his sixth career 25-goal campaign. When Briere is at the top of his game he is difficult to defend with his speed and skating style which allows him to get low and dart in and out of defenders. |
Simon Gagne – Whether you like the Flyers or not, and let’s face it, in these parts, it’s probably not, you have to respect a guy like Simon Gagne and give him props for the way he has come back the past two seasons from a potentially career-ending concussion. Gagne, who can pick corners with his shot on par with anybody in the game, has 16 goals in 50 games this season after posting 34 in 79 games last season. He is a two-time 40-goal scorer.
Claude Giroux – Giroux’s game might be up-and-down right now, but his skill level and past performance indicates the Flyers have a real building block to carry the team down the line alongside Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Giroux, who is only 22, has a great pair of hands and can dangle the puck as well as anyone. Moving forward he has to find that consistency to his game. He has gone pointless in 11 of his past 13 games following a stretch which saw him pick up nine points (3G-6A) over a 10-game span. Giroux also had a stretch in early January where he notched just three helpers over the first 12 games of the New Year.
Scott Hartnell – With three weeks remaining in the regular season it’s pretty safe to conclude Hartnell is not having a typical Scott Hartnell season. His goal scoring numbers are down from 30 last season to 14 this year. Barring a dramatic late-season scoring spree he will come up shy of the 20-goal mark for the first time since ’03-04 with Nashville. Hartnell has just two goals over his past 21 games. However, Hartnell does continue to make the Flyers a tough team to play against on a nightly basis. He has 136 penalty minutes through 73 games, giving him a shot at surpassing his career-high total of 159 set two seasons ago.
Mike Richards – After watching the way Richards can make a difference with his all-around game at the 2010 Olympics with Team Canada, it’s hard to not give the guy a little more respect. Yes, he might not be the most popular opposing player in Pittsburgh, but Richards’ ability to affect a hockey game with his goal-scoring touch, defensive prowess and physical play makes him as good as any player in the NHL. He currently leads the Flyers with 13 power-play goals.
James van Riemsdyk – Van Riemsdyk, 21, began the season as a house-on-fire for the Flyers, picking up 18 points (3G-15A) over his first 16 NHL games, but has hit the rookie wall over the second half of the season. He has currently gone 13 straight games without a point and has just two goals and zero helpers over his past 21 contests. Still, at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, van Riemsdyk will be a force to be reckoned with for a long time thanks to his ability to shield off defenders on the cycle and take care of loose pucks in the paint. He scored twice against the Penguins during the Flyers’ 7-4 victory at Mellon Arena on Jan. 7.
Danny Briere Simon Gagne
Scott Hartnell Mike Richards
| ||G ||A ||Pts ||+/- |
|Carter ||33 ||27 ||60 ||+3 |
|Richards ||28 ||30 ||58 ||-1 |
|Briere ||24 ||23 ||47 ||-4 |
|Hartnell ||14 ||28 ||42 ||-5 |
|Giroux ||14 ||27 ||41 ||-7 |
|Gagne ||16 ||21 ||37 ||-5 |