PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Before the season even began, questions regarding the Philadelphia Flyers offense was put into question with the trades of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. Twenty-Three games into the regular season and those questions have been quickly been put to rest. The Flyers lead the league scoring with 80 goals (3.48 per game). Only five other teams have 70 or more. Let’s take a look at how the Flyers have been doing it without their two former top scorers.
Claude Giroux – Former Flyers General Manager Bob Clarke had a hard time remembering Giroux’s name at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft when the Flyers went to the podium to call his name but no one can’t forget who he is these days. Giroux is currently second in the league in scoring with 29 points, one behind Phil Kessel. His 13 goals is third overall behind Kessel’s 16 and one behind Steven Stamkos. Giroux’s career high in goals is 25 at the pro level and 48 at the junior level.
Scott Hartnell – If someone would have told you that Hartnell would have 9 goals in 23 games people might have said you need therapy, but not these days. Fans and media types have a tendency to forget that Hartnell scored 30 goals for the Flyers back in 2008-09 and has scored more than 20 four other times in his career. AT this pace he could surpass his career highs after a slow start to the season.
Matt Read – Flyers fans, and hockey fans in general have had to ask themselves, “Matt Read? Who is Matt Read?” After scoring 9 goals in 20 games he is only second to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the rookie goal scoring lead and is fourth in scoring. Read has been a goal scorer at every level of competition and has played himself into position to be a potential candidate for the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie.
James Van Riemsdyk – JVR hasn’t quite picked up where he left off in the playoffs but after a slow start, and a bit of public criticism from Head Coach Peter Laviolette, Van Riemsdyk is starting to play his way into becoming that player again when he looked dominant. It is possible his new contract is part of the reason for the added pressure of having to live up to the billing but no one should question his ability. JVR is currently out of the lineup with an injury but he should only be out another week or two. In the mean time the Flyers could use his production. He has 8 goals and 8 assists in 20 games.
Danny Briere – Say what you want about Briere when push comes to should he produces when the team has needed him most. Currently he has 7 goals in 21 games and is usually the teams top scorer come playoff time. With JVR out of the lineup he will be needed more in the next week or two.
Jaromir Jagr – Despite a recent groin problem Jagr is playing like the Jagr the rest of the NHL was use to before heading overseas. Jagr is tied for sixth on the team in goals with 6 just as importantly he is tied for fourth on the team with Chris Pronger in assists with 11. When healthy he is tough to move off the puck and has been a pleasant surprise in the locker room.
Maxime Talbot – If Flyers fans were wondering why Pittsburgh Penguins fans loved him as much as they did they are finding out in a hurry. Talbot is playing great hockey and is playing some of the best hockey of his career. A former goal scorer in juniors where he once put up 46 goals for Hull in the QMJHL, Talbot has never scored more than 13 in his NHL career. Currently he has 6 goals 6 assists in 23 games and is clearly on pace to set career bests in both categories.
While the Flyers might be struggling in other areas of their game, the offense is in good hands these days. Carter and Richards might be gone but if the Flyers are raising the cup at the end of the season they won’t remember either that’s for sure.