The first thing that was changed as of this morning, was that we’d see Michael Del Zotto in the lineup for the first time in 9 games. At a first glance this looks completely positive, right? Wrong. Craig Berube has decided that MDZ will replace Luke Schenn (+5 over the last 9 games) due to him wanting more speed against a fast team like Colorado. Now why would Schenn sit and Grossmann still be in? Well I’m not quite sure but let’s just see if we can get into Berube’s head.
Del Zotto, who has played in 24 games so far this season (2G, 4A) will be paired with Andrew MacDonald on the “third” pairing. MDZ has been one of our better defenseman when he gets the chance to play. These are the 10 defenseman we’ve had play with the Flyers this season and how they’ve played 5v5;
Besides Colaiacovo’s five games he’s played here, Luke Schenn has been able to put up the best CorsiFor% at almost 50% and the same can be said about the guy replacing him, Michael Del Zotto. The real confusion here is the fact that Nicklas Grossmann has a 43.7% while his partner, Mark Streit is at 49.2%. If Mark Streit had a more mobile defenseman I think we’d see his name at the top of that list over Schenn. I’d much rather see the Schenn/MacDonald pairing stay in tact and see how well MDZ and Streit can work together.
Defense wasn’t the only change however, we got some rather surprising (to me, at least) news that Giroux and Voracek would have a new left winger joining them. That winger would be Matt Read. Read, who has been playing next to Couturier just about every game since the lockout year, has played with Giroux very little in the past but this could work out well. Berube’s main reasoning for the switch, much like adding MDZ to the lineup, is he wants more speed throughout the lineup. This newly formed Read-Giroux-Voracek line is very intriguing when you think of what Matt Read is capable of. He’s had a down season, and it’s obvious but remember the 2011 all-star game when he was a rookie? He was shooting almost as well as Jamie Benn was in the shot accuracy part of the skills competition. He only has 3 goals in 36 games this season but just last season he put up 22. Read’s career high in goals was 24, which he got in his rookie season (led all rookies in goals that season). His new line mates have been struggling over the past two games; Giroux scored vs the Predators, but nothing was working vs the Coyotes and Voracek went two games in a row with no points for the first time this season, so it makes sense to make a change to that top line.