Flyers Believe Third Line Can Provide Scoring
VOORHEES — Dale Weise has played up and down NHL lineups in his career so he knows all too well the difference in responsibilities depending on what unit he’s playing on.
To start this season, the Flyers’ new right-winger is on the third line with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Nick Cousins. He’s played on the fourth line in the past also, but that’s not an insult any more like it once was.
All four lines have to be able to play. The bottom trio can’t be three thugs who do nothing but fight.
“Yeah, there’s no such thing as that anymore,” Weise said. “It’s gone by the wayside. I don’t think there’s really a difference between third and fourth line. Second and first, obviously your top guys are going to play a little bit more.”
And perhaps scoring more, although the reigning champion Pittsburgh Penguins proved it takes three lines to score. A trio of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel scored 20 of the Pens’ 73 goals in the postseason.
With Weise, who scored 14 last season, and Cousins, who scored six last season in 36 games in the NHL, the Flyers see scoring potential. Bellemare, last year’s fourth-line center, is feeling like he’s in a position to do more.
“I assume that you’re supposed to bring a little bit more offense,” said the third-year NHLer, who had 14 points in 74 games last season. “The defensive part doesn’t change for any of our lines. The offensive part, the third line the expectations are a little bit more, otherwise I’d be playing on the fourth line.”
“It's real early. We're just coming out of training camp,” coach Dave Hakstol added, “but I see a little bit of potential chemistry developing there with the fit of those three guys offensively."