More Power On The Power Play?

David McLeod
October 1, 2022  (7:48 PM)

No, the Flyers power play cannot get any worse, even with the departure of Claude Giroux.
The Flyers man advantage last season was abysmal. In 239 attempts, The Flyers only managed to score on the power play 30 times. Their success rate, and I use the term success lightly, was 12.55%. What were the issues and what will change?

With the departure of two of the Flyers five top power play unit players, Claude Giroux and Keith Yandle, the Flyers will have a new look for teams to defend against this year. That look should be more difficult to defend and utilize more options.
One of the main problems with the Flyers power play last year was Keith Yandle. Keith Yandle was signed specifically to extend his Ironman streak, sorry, to be the Flyers swingman on the power play, adding a veteran point producer at the top of the umbrella. That experiment failed. Yandle was ineffective, scoring one goal late in the season and only contributing 11 assists.
Having a D on the power play that does not have the ability to score means the penalty kill can cheat and key on the other four players. Even to a casual observer, Yandle's go-to fake slap shot, wasn't fooling anyone, let alone NHL PKs. He was simply a swing man to move the puck from one wall to the other. The Flyers didn't move the puck quick either, but did so in a slow, telegraphic fashion and rarely came off the wall.

Another confusing setup, was Travis Konecny in the bumper spot, or slot area. Teams like Washington and Boston use that position well and generate quality shots from the slot (Oshie and Bergeron). The Flyers however, did not use it as a shot generating position, rather as a decoy or touch pass option to try and pull defenders to the middle and free up time and space for Giroux and Hayes on the wall. TK can shoot the puck, so it was puzzling that he wasn't given more looks to shoot from the slot.
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If you have two players on your power play who aren't a threat to score, or aren't utilized effectively, how efficient will it be?
Chuck Fletcher did add to the Flyers power play in the off-season, acquiring controversial Tony DeAngelo. There is little debate DeAngelo can generate opportunities with his shot and his ability to move the puck. Provorov, Sanheim, and York also have undeniable offensive instincts and can create from the back end too. Any of those four players will be more threatening on the power play, as they have the ability to walk the blue line and get shots through to the net, something that was lacking with Yandle last year and the Flyers stagnant PP.
Rocky Thompson appears to be developing a system that has flow to it and players hitting seams, with a focus on quicker, less predictable puck movement. They still have a relatively traditional setup, but the flexibility for players to attack soft spots, cycle the zone, and be more creative appears to be a significant difference to the previous years.
Kevin Hayes and Sean Couturier can quarterback from the half wall and both can fire the biscuit on a one timer. Konecny can be a threat from the slot and natural shooters, Joel Farabee and Cam Atkinson, will likely be the trigger men. James Van Riemsdyk always contributes down low. Love JVR or hate him, he is one of the best in the NHL at tipping pucks and getting greasy goals around the crease. Don't be surprised if Wade Allison contributes on the power play from JVR's office on PP2.

A fresh system. Shooting threats from the point. Quicker puck movement. It can't hurt. After all, was there another team in the NHL last year, who used their worst statistical defenseman on the power play 60-70% of the time?!
More Power On The Power Play?

Who will score the most goals for the Flyers on the power play this year?

Joel Farabee1719.5 %
James Van Riemsdyk2731 %
Kevin Hayes1517.2 %
Cam Atkinson2832.2 %
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