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An addition Tortorella sees as a 'huge plus' for Flyers

July 23, 2022

One of the Flyers' biggest goals is to cut down on their goals against.

Over the last two seasons combined, the Flyers were tied with the Devils for the NHL's most goals allowed per game (3.56) and they owned the league's worst penalty kill percentage (74.6).

Before they start worrying about scoring more goals, which they also need to do, they must first start preventing them.

That will be Brad Shaw's mighty task as he reunites with John Tortorella in Philadelphia, in a pressure-filled spot.

"Brad Shaw is probably one of the most intelligent coaches I've ever been around and have been fortunate enough to work with the past five or six years," Tortorella, the Flyers' new head coach, said Wednesday in a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Shaw was hired by the Flyers earlier this month as an associate coach. He'll oversee the club's defensemen and penalty kill units.

The 58-year-old worked on Tortorella's Blue Jackets staff from the 2016-17 to 2020-21 seasons. Tortorella and Shaw stress defensive pressure and structure away from the puck.

The Flyers' primary objective heading into 2022-23 is stability on their back end. They're hoping Ryan Ellis will be able to return and potentially bolster their depth. They traded for Tony DeAngelo and brought back Justin Braun. Ivan Provorov is 25, Travis Sanheim 26 and Rasmus Ristolainen 27. Cam York, at 21 years old, will be pushing for full-time NHL duty, while Nick Seeler and Ronnie Attard are vying for playing time, as well.

"I think he's going to do great stuff for our young defense and trying to develop some of these kids, see if they can play in the league and see if they can progress," Tortorella said of Shaw. "He has great communication skills, he's a veteran guy, he's played the position in the league."

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Shaw's most critical work will be with the Flyers' PK. Only the Canadiens surrendered more power play goals (104) than the Flyers (102) over the last two seasons.

During Shaw's five seasons in Columbus, the Blue Jackets were tied for the NHL's 12th-best penalty kill at 80.9 percent. In 2018-19, they finished in a three-way tie for the league's top-ranked PK at 85 percent.

"One of the best penalty killing coaches I've been around as far as some of the things he looks for and how he teaches," Tortorella said. "I think that's a huge plus for us.

"He knows me and I think sometimes it takes a little time for players to adjust to me and understand me a little bit. I think he's going to be a pretty good conduit that way, for them to understand me and how I go about the business a little bit quicker also."

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