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Scouting Report: Flyers Lineup

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

See below for scouting reports on Philadelphia's forwards, defense and goaltending heading into Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

LW SCOTT HARTNELL – Hartnell has carved an identity as one of the National Hockey League’s most abrasive players. But Hartnell hasn’t just talked the talk this season; he’s walked the walk as well. The veteran winger, who turns 30 this month, experienced a career renaissance on a line with Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr – finishing the regular season among the league leaders in goals (37) and power-play tallies (16). Hartnell recorded those numbers while also posting 100-plus penalty minutes for the fifth straight season.
2011-12 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 82 GP | 37G-30A-67P

C CLAUDE GIROUX – Giroux completed his evolution into an elite NHL talent this season, finishing third in the NHL with 93 points. The 24-year-old’s greatest strength is his playmaking ability. He has excellent hands and great vision, and though he also possesses finishing skills, team MVP Giroux feeds his teammates with the kind of passes that only the truly special players can pull off. Additionally, he’s an asset on special teams, as his 38 power-play points led the league and his 2:14 shorthanded minutes ranked second among team forwards.
2011-12 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 77 GP | 28G-65A-93P

RW JAROMIR JAGR – This will be Jagr’s first NHL postseason experience since 2008, when he was a member of the New York Rangers. Jagr, who finished the year as the Flyers’ third-leading scorer with 54 points (19G-35A), enters the postseason leading all active players in career playoff goals (77). The 40-year-old winger has embraced a veteran leadership role in his first year with the Flyers, mentoring and helping his teammates to the best of his ability, and continues to display the tireless work ethic he’s had throughout his career. Look for him to be a potential difference maker against his former team.
2011-12 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 73 GP | 19G-35A-54P

LW/C BRAYDEN SCHENN – Schenn was part of the package the Flyers received from Los Angeles last summer in return for former captain Mike Richards, and the highly touted prospect has lived up to his reputation in his rookie NHL season. The fifth-overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft is a defensively responsible forward who also chipped in 12 goals through 54 games. Though he’s just 20 years old and still needs to get bigger and stronger, Schenn has shown he’s feisty, competitive and not afraid to rough it up on the ice.

C DANNY BRIERE – After a lengthy second-half slump, the veteran center regained his scoring touch and confidence with nine points (2G-7A) in four games before missing Philly’s last three regular-season games. Briere should be back for Round 1, which bodes well for the Flyers as he’s one of the NHL’s best active postseason performers (29 goals and 57 points in 57 career playoff games for Philadelphia).
2011-12 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 70 GP | 16G-33A-49P

RW WAYNE SIMMONDS – The lanky forward had a breakout year in his first season with the Flyers, as his career-high 28 tallies goals tied Claude Giroux for second-most on the team. He’s an integral part of the Flyers’ power play, tasked with establishing a net-front presence. He isn’t a finesse player, instead getting the job done by providing an energetic, physical presence that can always be found in and around the blue paint.
2011-12 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 82 GP | 28G-21A-49P

LW MAX TALBOT – As Penguins fans are well aware, Talbot enters beast mode during the spring. He was a key member of Pittsburgh’s 2009 Stanley Cup championship run, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over Detroit in Game 7 of the Final. And who could forget his infamous “Shhhh” gesture to the Philadelphia crowd that same postseason? But this year, Talbot raised his game offensively during the regular season by scoring a career-high 19 goals. He is also the Flyers’ best penalty killing forward and plays on their shutdown line.
2011-12 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 81 GP | 19G-15A-34P

C SEAN COUTURIER – Entering last summer’s NHL Draft, Couturier was lauded as a smart, two-way player with NHL size – as the 19-year-old checks in at 6-foot-3 and just under 200 pounds. The Flyers took him eighth overall, and all of the scouting reports on the teenaged forward have proven true. Couturier has been outstanding defensively for the Flyers, centering Philly’s shutdown line between Max Talbot and Zac Rinaldo, and ranking third among rookies with 2:41 shorthanded minutes per game. He’s also seen his offense take off as he continues to get comfortable.
2011-12 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 77 GP | 13G-14A-27P

C ZAC RINALDO – Rinaldo epitomizes the term ‘Broad Street Bully,’ as the Flyers rookie embraces the role of agitator/fighter – finishing second in the league with 232 penalty minutes. Though his role continues to grow as he matures, what Rinaldo brings right now is a wealth of energy and the ability to get opponents off their game. While there’s no question he spends plenty of time in the box, he has toned down his game after building a reputation for being undisciplined in juniors and the minors, and ranked second on the team with 175 hits through 66 games (2.65 per game).

RW MATT READ – Read isn’t as young as the other rookies on this Flyers team, as he’ll turn 26 years old in June. But it’s still his first season in the league after spending four years at Bemidji State, and he’s produced an exceptional one. His 24 goals led all NHL rookies, and the versatile forward possesses explosive speed and two-way ability. He sees time in all situations for the Flyers, as he is one of Philly’s best penalty killers (2:35 minutes per game) and is on the second power-play unit (2:25).
2011-12 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 79 GP | 24G-23A-47P

– Voracek has had a career year with the Flyers after coming to Philadelphia in the trade that sent Jeff Carter to Columbus with 18 goals and 49 points. The high draft pick (seventh overall in 2007 by the Blue Jackets) is a big-bodied winger with excellent offensive and passing skills and power-play acumen. He possesses creativity and the ability to produce in the clutch, and it will be evident soon enough if he can bring those strengths to his first-ever postseason.
2011-12 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 78 GP | 18G-31A-49P

LW Jody Shelley ... LW Eric Wellwood ... LW Harry Zolnierczyk.

NICKLAS GROSSMANN – Grossman will be counted on to shoulder much of the duties that Chris Pronger performed prior to the captain’s exit from the lineup with severe post-concussion syndrome. Grossmann is a positionally sound defensive defenseman who can log big minutes and excel on the penalty kill. While he doesn’t have Pronger’s offensive capabilities, the hulking blueliner (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) is a tremendous asset in his own zone and will be matched up against Pittsburgh’s top players.

BRAYDON COBURN – Coburn’s biggest asset is his size, as he stands a towering 6-foot-5 and weighs 230 pounds. He anchors Philly’s top pairing alongside another big defenseman in Nicklas Grossmann, and the two players ranked third (tied) on the team with 164 hits. Coburn sees most of his minutes even strength and shorthanded.

KIMMO TIMONEN – At 37 years old and 5-foot-10, 194 pounds, Timonen isn’t the youngest or biggest player in this league. But this veteran defender’s value to this Flyers squad cannot be understated. Timonen, who is arguably the team’s most offensive defenseman, is especially important when it comes to special teams as he quarterbacks Philly’s top power-play unit (and has chipped in big goals on the man-advantage with his accurate shot) and averages 3:28 shorthanded minutes per game.

MATT CARLE – This former Hobey Baker winner as the top player in college hockey makes up the Flyers’ most offensive-minded defensive pairing with Kimmo Timonen. Carle makes a good first pass, and that paired with his skating ability allows him to jump into the play and contribute at the other end of the ice. He’s also steady in his own zone and was the team leader in blocked shots (164).

Marc-Andre Bourdon ... Pavel Kubina ... Andreas Lilja

ILYA BRYZGALOV – Bryzgalov does have a Stanley Cup ring in his possession that he won back in 2007 with Anaheim. But Bryzgalov served as the backup to Jean-Sebastien Giguere during that run. As a starter, he has yet to make it past the first round of the playoffs. He’ll be looking to bury a disappointing opening-round sweep last season with Phoenix when he goes to battle this year as a Flyer. He certainly buried his rocky start in the city of Brotherly Love over the last few weeks of the regular season, as Bryzgalov finished on an 11-3-1 run. Though he was derailed for three games by a foot injury, the big netminder is healthy again and seems locked in, focused and ready to go.
2011-12 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 33-16-7 RECORD | 2.48 GAA | .909 SVPT

SERGEI BOBROVSKY – While Bryzgalov is expected to be the starter throughout these playoffs, it’ll be interesting to see if coach Peter Laviolette utilizes Bobrovsky in any way. The Russian netminder is 5-2-1 in his young career against the Penguins, but isn’t very playoff tested as he appeared in just six postseason games last season for Philly. He’s struggled with his consistency this year, but when he’s on, he’s on. He’s quick, athletic and doesn’t get rattled.
2011-12 REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART: 14-10-2 RECORD | 3.02 GAA | .899 SVPT

Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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