Flyers

Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. — Jakub Voracek has all types of skill and wizardry to his game.

He'll weave and dazzle through traffic with the best of them, a true threat to make a highlight-reel play whenever the puck touches his stick.

But the bag of tricks James van Riemsdyk carries in front of the net will even make Voracek scratch his head. A magician like himself can appreciate another one's work.

That's why Voracek was brimming with excitement Wednesday at Flyers Skate Zone over the addition of van Riemsdyk's power-play prowess. All signs point to van Riemsdyk making his highly anticipated return Thursday from a lower-body injury that knocked the winger out of action in the first period of the season's second game.

The Flyers' big summer splash joined Voracek on the first-unit power play Wednesday, an area the Flyers hammered away at during practice and for good reason. The man advantage is 3 for 39 since Oct. 13, last in the NHL at 7.7 percent. Overall, it ranks 28th in the league at 13.6 percent.

Here comes van Riemsdyk ready to roam the blue paint.

Talk about a sight for sore eyes. The Flyers' power play will welcome van Riemsdyk with open arms. 

Voracek sure is and here's why:

He's got really, really soft hands and he's got a really good touch. He can make the plays out of nothing, which is really important. He can raise the puck under the bar from impossible angles. He kind of gives the goalies a little bit more respect. Like if I'm standing in front of the net, one foot from the pad, I'm not going to raise it anywhere, but he will.

 

He's a big body in front of the net, he's a great player that can score goals. Obviously we missed him over the period of time, especially on the power play. He's a really smart player around the net and he's going to help us a lot.

With van Riemsdyk rejoining the picture, the Flyers can now see what they envisioned when they signed JVR for five years, $35 million on July 1. Dave Hakstol and company will roll out a 30-goal scorer on both man-advantage groups. 

Wayne Simmonds, who has made the net-front role his M.O., will try to bolster the second unit. Since the 2011-12 season, his first with the Flyers, Simmonds owns 88 power-play goals, second in the NHL to only Alex Ovechkin's 137.

Here's how the Flyers' man-advantage groups should look Thursday night against the Devils at the Wells Fargo Center:

First
• Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, Shayne Gostisbehere

Second
• Wayne Simmonds, Nolan Patrick, Travis Konecny, Jordan Weal, Ivan Provorov

In 2017-18 with the Maple Leafs, van Riemsdyk buried a career-high 11 power-play markers en route to a 36-goal season.

"He's just going to go and do what he does," Hakstol said.

And the Flyers need it.

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