Flyers 4th Line is Breath of Fresh Air


(Kate Frese/SB Nation)

By Matt Mastrogiovanni, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

Every NHL team should able to constantly roll through four lines of forwards. Each line usually has their strong suits and gets put on the ice for certain situations.

The Flyers fourth line has really been the turning point for the Flyers in their early-season success.

The fourth line for the Flyers has been turning heads so far with their play. As compared to last season's mediocre fourth line, this year's trio is breath of fresh air. 

Philadelphia's fourth line consists of Scott Laughton at center with rookie Taylor Leier on left wing alongside Michael Raffl on the right. The three forwards have brought speed, grit and scoring to the line already.

Laughton recorded two goals against the Capitals on Saturday, boosting his early season point total to three. Leier has an assist in the first few contests while Raffl has yet to get on the score sheet.

Regardless of the numbers, it's the energy that is become noticeable and contagious. The three have brought energy every shift. They've thrown the body, forced turnovers and overall just played very well over the first five games. 

Last season, the Flyers fourth line was just plain hard to watch. Chris VandeVelde, Roman Lyubimov and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare seemed invisible at times. The group had their moments from time to time, but usually were scapegoats for the Flyers poor play more than anything else. Their continued presence in the lineup despite very limited results was a pain for fans.

A lot has changed for the Flyers fourth line since last April. Bellemare has found his new home with the Vegas Golden Knights. Lyubimov returned to play in the KHL in Russia. VandeVelde is currently a free agent after a failed tryout with the Ottawa Senators.

Going forward, there's lots of potential for the newly revamped fourth line. Laughton is a new man after spending the majority of last season with the Phantoms. Leier is an up-and-coming talent. Raffl has consistently been a solid player ever since he started with the Flyers.

If things keep up, the trio could solidify themselves as one of the most effective fourth lines in the league. 

Each team's fourth line isn't necessarily its worst. In the case of the Flyers, at least early in the season, the fourth line has sometimes been their best.

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