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RAFFL BACK IN LINEUP

After sitting out the last eight games, the young Austrian will get another chance to show what he can do.
Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 4:41 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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RAFFL BACK IN LINEUP

TAMPA – Since the Flyers signed Michael Raffl to a free agent contract back in May, I’ve been touting him on this blog as a legit prospect who would not only make the team out of camp but have an impact on the season.

Technically, he didn’t make the team out of camp, missing the first five games while in the AHL, nor has he had a real impact yet.

So if you say today that I was wrong, then I must say that I am guilty as charged.

However…

If you are willing to give it more time to see if, in fact, Raffl can still have a decent impact on the team this season, then I will say the verdict is still out on my assessment of him – and it should be.

Because I still believe, he will make a name for himself this season with the Flyers.

Everyone I talk to likes his game. There are some people who think that he could play regularly as a top six forward and be productive.

He is versatile. He has played on all four lines for the Flyers in his 11 games so far. He has just one assist, but has played well enough that many people around the organization feel that it’s a matter of time before he starts producing.

He even took regular shifts yesterday in practice on the power play working in the high slot area.

I talked privately with Flyers Craig Berube about him, and I think it’s safe to say, he likes Raffl.

Raffl came out of the lineup because of illness. It was bad timing for the young forward as it coincided with the Flyers getting on a bit of a run, and Berube said when things are going well, he won’t touch the lineup, so Raffl had to sit and be patient.

However, even though he’s used Raffl on the fourth line before, and could well do it again, Berube believes Raffl is better suited for a top nine forward slot because he is good in the offensive end of the ice.

“He’s a smart offensive player,” Berube told me. “He knows how to score. He’s got a nice shot. He hasn’t figured out how to score at this level yet, but he’s close. He will. He just needs another opportunity.”

And that opportunity will come tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Raffl will replace the injured Matt Read, who didn't practice Monday nor skated at the morning skate today.

Read is dealing with a lower-body injury. According to General Manager Paul Holmgren, Read is day-to-day.

“[Raffl's] the type of player who can move up and down the lineup,” Berube said. “He played with [Claude] Giroux for a while and looked good there and Giroux liked playing with him. He’s been on the checking line, on the fourth line… Whatever line he’s on he’s helped out the line.

“He’s been very good. He’s a positive kid and a happy kid who works hard and loves being around the team. We really like him and we’re going to get him in there. Everybody wants to play and contribute but sometimes you have to be patient.”

The Flyers did consider sending him down to the Phantoms for some game action, but felt that he was still benefitting plenty from practicing regularly with the team.

“He’s our only extra forward and we need an extra forward up here,” Berube said. “I think he’s still developing even though he’s not playing. He’s doing a lot of good stuff in practice. He’s getting used to the pace – even if it’s just practice. Right now I don’t see [him having been out of the lineup] being a problem.”

It wouldn't surprise me if Raffl is back in the lineup to stay. I just get that sense from a lot of decision-makers in the organization.

If not, I'll take my sentence, your honor.

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @InsideTheFlyers

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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