Flyers Giving Michael Raffl a Shot on Power Play
When he first came to North America Raffl was killing penalties, not playing on the power play. He would watch what the Flyers’ man advantage was doing well, with a special attention paid to Hartnell’s position in the top of the slot, ready to fire at will.
These days that spot belongs to Raffl. For now.
“I actually worked on it a couple times with Hartsy even though I was never on it,” said the Austrian in his third NHL season. “I think I know when to pop and how to shoot it. It’s going to be fun.”
Sunday marked the first time the Flyers practiced special teams in training camp and Raffl is the only change to the top unit from last season. Brayden Schenn, who was in the same role last year, is now on the second unit.
“We’re looking at a lot of different things,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “I thought Brayden did a good job in the spot he was in today. We’ve got a lot ways to go here.”
Putting Raffl in that spot keeps the first line together on the power play, with Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek also fixtures on the man advantage. Wayne Simmonds is the “net guy,” who plants himself in front of the opposing goalie looking for tip-ins.
“That guy is going to get some pretty nice passes from G and he’s gonna have to help me out down low,” Simmonds said of Raffl in the high-slot position. “I think it’s kind of a job where you’re an extension of the power play. A lot of relief goes through that guy. Pucks go to him to outlet it to other guys, but at the same time you’ve got to be ready to take that shot because at any given moment you get a pass from G or Jakey there and they tend to not give you much warning when you’re going to get a pass. You’ve got to be sharp.”