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Is too much scoring depth a bad thing?



At first glance of the title people probably think I am losing my mind, but there is a method to my madness. For the whole year I have been saying one thing about the Flyers, this team lacks the correct makeup. While they are surely on the correct path on building this team to be solid there is still work to be done in my mind.

In one of my semesters in college we learned about sports psychology and what the make up of a team is all about. While I do believe the Flyers improved their team bond and comradery amongst each other I still believe team cohesion is not quite there and could be absent because of their scoring depth. To make team cohesion fully blossom each individual needs to know their own identity and their roles to the team (example- Giroux has to put points up for the team, Couturier- used as a defensive specialist).

If we look at teams that won the Stanley Cup from the last 4 years, Detroit 07-08, Pitt 08-09, Chicago 09-10, and most recently Boston 10-11 they each had an identity to their team. They had their top 6 players who would put up their points and their bottom 6 players who knew they were role players and embraced that role for the good of the team. Here are some stats for theses teams during the regular season:

Detroit 07-08: had 6 forwards reach the 40 or more point mark.

Pitt 08-09: had only 4 forwards reach 40 or more point mark

Chicago 09-10: had 6 forwards reach 40 or more point mark.

Boston 10-11: had, the highest, at 7 forwards to reach 40 or more point mark.

Flyers 11-12: had 7 forwards reach 40 or more point mark, and lets face it if JVR was healthy they would have had 8 forwards.

Even the 5 teams still left in the Stanley Cup playoffs this year, benefit from good team cohesion and identity. Their regular season stats were as follows:

LA- 4 forwards with 40 or more points (5 if Carter would have been there the whole season)

PHX- only had 3 forwards with 40 or more points

NJ- 7 forwards with 40 or more points

NYR- 4 forwards with 40 or more points

WASH-5 forwards with 40 or more points

To me those stats are saying you have your first and second lines contributing offensively and your third and fourth lines chipping in offensively sometimes but mainly out their for great energy and defensive reliability, along obviously with good team defense and goaltending. With all this in mind I think the Flyers need to set better expectations on who is going to be their go to guys and who are going to be their role guys and if guys like Read, JVR, Schenn are going to be bottom 6 players I think it would be in the teams interest to trade some of their offensive depth for defense along with some role players to help this team come together.

So I'll ask the question to you, is too much scoring depth a bad thing? Does having players, like JVR who has potential 30 goal scoring ability, being stuck with bottom 6 minutes hurt the team more than help?

Be sure to check in on my blog daily at: http://toughbrotherlylove.squarespace.com/

Thanks for reading!


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Last season the locker room was split. And Holmgren removed the issues.

This year the team chemistry was not an issue. It was probably the strongest bonded group in years. I do believe the players knew their roles and really came together as a group especially after the shattering news that Pronger was done for the season.

Don't you think it is possible that the focus on scoring throughout the line-up was more a coaching strategy to help overcome the team weakness, a defense that was completely built around Pronger? They tried, but realistically they couldn't beat other defensively minded teams.

Forwards like Read, Schenn, and Couturier are all defensive forwards, but yeah they can score and yeah it was their first season in the NHL.

Most teams third and fourth lines are made up of veteran players. I don't think so much it was they needed different players, but the players they had needed more experience. They never played an 82+ game season.

So in essence I disagree with the concept in your blog. The team had chemistry, they had an identity, however they lacked experience and they lacked their key d-man. If anything it was Laviolette's strategy to push, push, score to take the pressure off of a weak defense. That strategy works against other teams that were not disciplined to play team defense.

I think they play differently next year with most of the same players. The summer will allow Holmgren to reset the defense.

One other thing to consider here and that is there were a lot of player exchanges within the lines due to injuries throughout the season. Thus players who played on the third and fourth lines were given opportunities to score.

In my opinion when a team needs a goal to get back in the game, or take a lead there is an increase in team energy when a third or fourth line score.

JVR played just half a season is it really fair to judge, I'm not sure what role he even played?

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Not that it's super accurate to this years team but I agree with you to an extent that scoring depth is not always a key factor in success. Scoring depth leads to a more balanced ice time schedule throughout a roster. Once you start taking away majority minutes from your best guys it can create problems when your best guys slump with those limited minutes. The flyers this year had some great scoring depth but were limited in the second round for many reasons, one being that the devils found their stride and defensive prowess but another being that, like you said, the emphasis on their big six and their grit/cycle game got them clicking and scoring. When the Flyers are forced to use inexperience and rookies as their big six, successful as they might have been in recent past, its going to catch up to them and max talbot is not going to be you Kovalchuk equivalent.

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