Flyers 2015-16 Redux: Forwards – Part 2

Flyers Insider Tim Panaccio concludes his 2015-16 reviews with Part 2 of his breakdown of the Flyers' forwards, following Part 1 on Thursday. He's already looked at defensemen (Part 1 and Part 2), as well as goaltenders.

Michael Raffl
Age: Turns 28 on Dec. 1
Stats: 82GP, 13G, 18A, 31 Pts., +9, 14:17 MIN
Cap hit: Jumps to $2.350 million from $1.1mm

Raffl played his 200th career game in March. The Austrian forward has proven to be valuable and inexpensive. He can play multiple positions for coach Dave Hakstol and seems to move up and down the lineup rather easily. Raffl is one of the few players on this team whose point production has gone up in each of his three seasons, even though his goal production fell from 21 in 2014-15 to just 13 this past season. He was the only Flyer to play all 82 games, and spent much of the season with Sean Couturier and Sam Gagner but figures to have at least one new linemate next fall.

Matt Read
Age: Turns 30 on June 14
Stats: 79GP, 11G, 15A, 26 Pts., -5; 15:15 MIN
Cap hit: $3.625 million

One of the nicest players in the league who always has something cheery to say. The fact remains, he continues to both baffle and frustrate the fan base. So much more was expected from Read when then-general manager Paul Holmgren signed him out of college five years ago. He had 24 goals that first season (2011-12) as expectations soared he would become a 25-goal-or-better player. Since then, Read has mustered just one season with plus-20 and just 19 goals in total over the past two seasons. He went 22 games this year without a goal. Given the Flyers' need for more scoring on the wing, his tenure here may very well end this summer if GM Ron Hextall can find a suitable trade partner. Unlike 2014-15, Read was healthy all season and still disappointed.

Brayden Schenn
Age: Turns 25 on Aug. 22
Stats: 80GP, 26G, 33A, 59 Pts., +3, 16:53 MIN
Cap hit: RFA who earned $2.5 million last season

Last offseason, Hextall challenged a number of Flyers to up their ante on the ice and Schenn was among them. Well, no one can say this 24-year-old didn’t answer the bell, posting career highs in all offensive categories, while finishing second on the club in goal scoring. He played his 300th career game in December and proved he was effective at both wings and center. He’ll get a nice raise this summer but won’t hit the jackpot because he’s restricted. Played some of his best hockey on the wing with Claude Giroux as his centerman and rightfully earned the team’s Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy as the most improved Flyer.  

Wayne Simmonds
Age: Turns 28 on Aug. 26
Stats: 81 GP, 32G, 28A, 60 Pts., -7; 17:14 MIN
Cap hit: $3.975 million

Played his 600th career game in March. In many ways, Simmonds defines the heart and soul of the Flyers. Always has a positive attitude, carries the right amount of chip on his shoulder and has filled Scott Hartnell’s old role as a net presence guy at less cost. Still has a tendency to take bad penalties, but atones for it with his offensive contributions. Led the Flyers in goal scoring (career-high 32) and also tied his career high in points (60). He was second on the team in scoring, overall. Won the Yanick Dupre Class Guy Memorial Award as the standup player to meet with the media on a regular basis. Flyers could use another Simmonds on their roster.

R.J. Umberger
Age: 34 
Stats: 39GP, 2G, 9A, 11 Pts., +1, 10:09 MIN
Cap hit: $4.6 million

The Pittsburgh native had a legit excuse for his poor season in 2014-15 because of injury, but he was completely healthy this season and still could do almost nothing with the puck on his stick. Hakstol benched him 24 of the club’s final 25 games. Umberger expects to be bought out and Hextall seems to be leaning this way given the club can shave $3 million off its cap by doing so.

Chris VandeVelde
Age: Turns 30 on March 15
Stats: 79GP, 2G, 12A, 14 Pts., -7, 13:33 MIN
Cap hit: $712,500

He has become an effective role player on Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s fourth line, which was the Flyers' most consistent unit in postseason. The Flyers would like to see more goals from him — 12 is not a stretch. He gets opportunities on the penalty kill but fails to cash in. Effort and overall play as a Flyer is consistent on a nightly basis.

Jakub Voracek
Age: Turns 27 on Aug. 15
Stats: 73GP, 11G, 44A, 55 Pts., -5, 18:55 MIN
Cap hit: Jumps to $8.25 million from $4.25m

After a career season in 2014-15 when he posted 81 points in 82 games, plus his offseason mega-contract signing (8-year, $66 million), the expectations were 90 points and 30 goals this season. Yet the weight of that contract, which kicks in this fall, seemed to engulf Voracek, who started the season going 16 games without a goal. His goal total was the worst since his rookie season (9). While he had 23 power-play points, 22 of them were assists and the Flyers needed goals from him on the PP. Voracek started to get his game in gear in late February, then suffered a left foot/ankle injury that was believed to be a small bone fracture. His Iron Man streak ended at 286 games and when he returned in late March, his speed and his shot weren’t there. Item: The Flyers were 7-1-1 in his absence. The injury lingered into the playoffs but he did not have postseason surgery. Played his 600th career game in April and scored his 400th career point in January. Voracek is due for a major bounce-back season.

Jordan Weal
Did not play enough games to warrant an opinion.  

Ryan White
Age: Turns 29 on March 17
Stats: 73GP; 11G, 5A, 16 Pts.; -9; 12:03 MIN
Cap hit: UFA who earned $800,000 last season.

Another bargain player the Flyers picked up at Walmart although he should get a nice raise to $1 million this summer. Played his 200th game last December. A very strong fit on Bellemare’s line, this was his best season in the NHL. White plays hard, always has an edge to his game and can score a few goals here and there while willing to throw down.  He's worthy of being re-signed. He was one of Ed Snider’s favorite players.

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