Now Hiring; How to Replace Jagr
As if losing a two-goal lead in Monday’s Winter Classic wasn’t enough, the Philadelphia Flyers also lost one of their top scorers for at least the near future.
On Tuesday afternoon, general manager Paul Holmgren announced that Jaromir Jagr will be out 7-10 days with a groin strain. Jagr appeared to aggravate the injury during the second period of Monday’s game when he aggressively drove to the New York goal.
With Jagr out, several scenarios begin to surface. Not only will the team need to fill the opening left by the star forward on the top line, but it also opens up the opportunity for other players to earn some extra ice time with elevated play.
When Jagr left the classic, both James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek filled in the vacant top line winger position. It only makes sense that one of the two, if not both, will go on to fill the role in Jagr’s absence.
Realistically, whomever you put with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell is going to see a boost in production. For this reason, the struggling van Reimsdyk needs to be considered.
It is no secret that van Riemsdyk hasn’t been playing up to his potential, even being demoted to the fourth line in recent games.
With that being said, he has found success at certain points this season, most notably scoring eight points in four games at the end of October as well as registering five multi-point games this year.
However, those high points have been few and far between and the young forward has been unable to consistently produce. Playing with Giroux and Hartnell may be the spark he needs to get back on track.
If coach Laviolette is looking to stimulate the line’s production, then Voracek is the best option.
Voracek has been one of the most consistent producers on the team. He has yet to go more than three games without registering a point, a feat that puts him in the company of only Giroux and Jagr.
Voracek largely looks to pass first and shoot second. This is made evident by the fact that 13 of his 18 assists are primary, the second most of any one on the team other than Giroux. This means that Voracek can help facilitate both Giroux and Hartnell and continue to help the line score goals.
The relationship could prove to be mutually beneficial.
Of Giroux’s team-leading team leading 28 assists, 20 have been primary. He is obviously the best player on the team and is a magician with the puck. All Voracek has to do is get into position and Giroux will find a way to send him a pass. Voracek could use the help.
He has scored one goal in his last 15 games.
With Voracek on the top line, van Riemsdyk could move to the third line to make space for Zac Rinaldo on the fourth line, who in all probability will fill the empty roster spot left by Jagr. With Brayden Schenn’s return to the lineup, the third line may actually be a good spot for van Riemsdyk as well.
If Schenn’s play in the Winter Classic carries over, he may be the spark that the struggling winger has needed.
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