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Poll: Who will replace Hartnell on Philly’s first line?

Aug 20, 2014, 6:45 PM EDT

Brayden Schenn Getty Images

When the Flyers traded Scott Hartnell to the Columbus Blue Jackets, it left a gaping hole on the left wing on their top line. While Philly got R.J. Umberger back in return, the question left to ponder is just who will slide in on the left side of Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek?

Randy Miller of NJ.com pondered this same situation and picked out Brayden Schenn, Michael Raffl, and Umberger as the three main candidates. Schenn has been discussed here a bit as GM Ron Hextall said they’re expecting more from him. Miller suspects Raffl may get a shot with Umberger as an outside possibility.

So who do you think gets the job? If you’ve got another, better idea feel free to yell at us in the comments.

  1. broadstreetbeatdown - Aug 20, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    Evander Kane.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 20, 2014 at 10:10 PM

      And just how would that come about?

      • broadstreetbeatdown - Aug 20, 2014 at 10:24 PM

        Uh, magic? Abracadabra!!!

  2. lowenni - Aug 20, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    I know he’s got chemistry with other players, but what about Simmonds? That line could potentially tear it up with Giroux’s playmaking, Voracek’s skill, and Simmonds’ net prescence. He plays a very similar style to Hartnell and while his handedness is different and Giroux would have to adjust, I think he’d be a great fit there. Could easily put up 30 goals. Depends on how they want to balance out scoring though.

    Also, I think they should give Lecavalier the first ten games of the season in the top-six to either prove himself for the Flyers, or prove himself as trade-worthy material. I think he can still produce.

    • lowenni - Aug 20, 2014 at 10:30 PM

      Got some thumbs down, which is fine, I admit I only watch 10-15 Flyers games a season, but would be interested to hear from any Flyers fans why that wouldn’t be a good fit if any of you care to share

      • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 21, 2014 at 4:58 AM

        I think for short stretches it would be an effective trio but IMO they need Simmonds on the 2nd line to keep the top-6 forwards balanced. You take Simmonds off that 2nd line and it leaves a gaping hole. There’s really no one else who could take his place; Umberger would probably be the top choice but he’s a far better fit (to me) on the 3rd line with Couturier and Read. Giroux, Voracek, and Simmonds do get a good amount of time together on the lethal 1st PP unit but like I said scoring balance is a huge asset for this forward corps.

      • sndflyers - Aug 21, 2014 at 6:06 PM

        Well said phanatic… simmer would fit but we need the balance. I think pierre Marc eduard is a dark horse pick. Look up his highlight vid. Great skater, powerful shot with a quick release, nose for the net and plays a 2 way game.

      • sndflyers - Aug 21, 2014 at 6:07 PM

        I’m sorry I meant pierre Marc bellemare sorry for the mix up

    • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 21, 2014 at 5:04 AM

      Completely agree on Lecavalier by the way. He was the Flyers best forward for the first 22 games (9 goals) last season, then he hurt his back and it clearly bothered him the rest of the year. If I’m Berube I atleast start the season with a top-9 like this:
      Raffl-G-Voracek
      Schenn-Lecavalier-Simmonds
      Umberger-Couturier-Read

      If it doesn’t work then you can always switch it up. Can’t be any worse than how the offense started the first month+ last season.

  3. jacketsfan7 - Aug 20, 2014 at 7:09 PM

    Thinking umby because if they want production out of him his best shot is on the first line, schenn will do fine on the second and raffl will be great on the third

  4. blackandorangeforlife - Aug 20, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    Jason Akeman

    • isithockeyseasonyet - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:22 PM

      Akeson, and I like the idea of giving a shot to one of their young guys on that line. Really don’t see us doing much this year as far as a playoff push with the team currently constructed but I don’t think they’re THAT far off the pace but it’s finally looking like the organization is understanding the need for patience

    • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 21, 2014 at 4:47 AM

      I know Akeson was one the few impressive skaters against the Rangers last season but (and this is purely my opinion) he still doesn’t seem like more than an AHL-NHL tweener. He’s not fast or quick enough to truly create his own shot. He’s greatly undersized/not strong enough. And he brings essentially nothing to the defensive side of the ice. With poor defensive instincts he needs to produce a lot of offense and I don’t see it. Akeson doesn’t fit in the bottom-6 and he’s not good enough for consistent top-6 minutes either. I’d say Raffl, Schenn, and Umberger are all better options to slot in next to G and Jake.

      Keep Akeson as a 13th forward/top call-up who can provide short stretches of offense when necessary (injury/ineffective play from others). But no way should he get a top line place permanently.

  5. titalph - Aug 20, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    A mop on skates?

  6. luvusa1 - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:37 PM

    Well said! Nice to see a GM with a plan and patience! Hexy deserves some of the credit for the young talent in LA.

  7. parkway4 - Aug 20, 2014 at 9:31 PM

    Matt Read

    • blackandorangeforlife - Aug 20, 2014 at 9:50 PM

      Would love to say Read……But him and Coots are way too good in their current roles together,,,,,And if no Akeson on the top line then definitely on the 3rd with these 2

  8. phillyphanatic77 - Aug 20, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    I personally believe Raffl deserves a shot up there. He has the mobility to keep up with both G and Voracek. His two-way game is something special (atleast defensively) and with a little puck luck he would’ve had close to 15 goals last season. Put him with two premier playmakers and he should be an 18-20 goal guy who’s responsible up and down the ice. On top of it he didn’t look out of place playing with Giroux last year. Give him 10-15 games and if he doesn’t gel he can slide in anywhere else in the lineup.

    • sndflyers - Aug 21, 2014 at 6:11 PM

      People also forget that when G and Jake were slumping early on last season raffl got his chance on the first line and immediately got them out of the slump. Go back and look if anyone doubts me.

  9. kastout11 - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    I think Raffl would be the best choice. I would keep Schenn at center on the #2 line and Umberger on the 3rd. Although, Raffl would rake up a lot of ice time playing on the 1st line. I don’t think Philly needs a player bursting with talent to play alongside G and Voracek. I agree that although Akeson had a solid postseason, he is not the answer either.

  10. ju8686 - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    The fastest / best skater left on the team. One of the big problems for the 1st line last year is it was consistently out maned in the zone with Voracek and Giroux waiting for Hartnell to catch up or pick himself up off the ice.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      That’s a main reason why Raffl would fit well. Hartnell sometimes dragged his two linemates down with immobility and a lack of creativity with the puck. Raffl would have no such problem. He’s no offensive wizard but neither was Hartnell who scored most of the garbage goals for the line. Plus, when Hartnell turned the puck over (which happened pretty often) he was never able to recover… that’s not an issue with Raffl.

  11. chrisk61 - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    giroux is a playmaker. voracek is a sniper. the third guy should be a physical guy, ideally out of the tim kerr/mike knuble role. possibly simmonds. maybe b schenn.

    also i agree vinny should start as 2nd line center. first, he is a centerman, not a winger. don’t try to put a square peg into a round hole (or in other words, don’t do an andy reid). and vinny has a pedigree. give him a shot with top 6.

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