Bruise or Bust – Filling out the Forwards

When cross-referencing the Flyers official roster on their website with Capgeek’s breakdown it looks like there are six forwards that will be vying for the final 2 spots within the 12-man forward committee.

So who would you like to see filling out the bottom of the bench to provide the occasional spark for your team (assuming there is a season)? Let’s take a look at some of the candidates.

The list (by alphabetical short name order – how weird is that?): Ben Holmstrom, Tom Sestito, Zac Rinaldo, Eric Wellwood, Jody Shelley, Harry Zolnierczyk

Ben Holmstrom: 7 NHL GP (over 2 years), 0 pts, 7 PIM, 25 yrs old, 6-1 / 197 lbs

In re-signing with the Flyers this summer, the Phantoms get their captain back. While that alone might be enough to keep him out of the lineup, it would seem others once again overshadow Holmstrom with slightly more unique skillsets. Still there is much to like about Holmstrom’s game.

Holmstrom

Ben Holmstrom would like to carve his niche with the Flyers.. pic c/o nhlbeat.blogspot.com

A one time award winner in college for his defensive prowess, the versatile forward has leveraged his size into a good two-way game at the AHL level, compiling 15 goals and 36 points in the process last season for the Phantoms. His versatility would fit right in with the Flyers bottom six, possibly even filling in on the PK (as he did in his NHL debut). However, he needs to be more consistent in the NHL to carve a niche for himself.

His most recent stint in the NHL was a 3 game stretch in January, where he compiled a mere 2 shots and 6 hits in 19:39 of ice time. That’s not a gruesome stat line, but it won’t necessarily keep you around.

Tom Sestito: 27 NHL GP (Since 07-08), 5 pts, 147 PIM, 24, 6-5 / 228 lbs

One of the sleepers to make the NHL roster with a disciplined preseason, it shouldn’t be surprising that he isn’t much of a sleeper at all – he’s the biggest guy on the roster. Yielding just a mere two lbs to Shelley and standing a quarter of a foot taller than any guy you want fighting on your roster (again, not named Shelley slice), Sestito is a bruiser in training with limited opportunity since he tasted the NHL four seasons ago.

Tom Sestito

Tom Sestito should hope to stand out for more than his size.. pic c/o phlyinhigh.blogspot.com

Though it goes without saying, his biggest asset is his size. He needs to be smarter with his penalties in order to minimize the risk he represents while being on the ice, because having a man his size backing Giroux would be a nice chip for the Flyers to have in their corner. He is easily the biggest man the Flyers have in their arsenal; he needs to smarten up his game to develop into the weapon he can become.

With the right opportunity, he might even have the ability to kick in on the offense. Before being traded to the Flyers, he ended his career with the Blue Jackets in 10-11 with points in 3 of 4 and 2 goals in 7 games.

Jody Shelley: 626 NHL GP, 54 pts, 1538 PIM, 36, 6-3 / 230 lbs

Jody Shelley might be the beneficiary of a week offseason for the Flyers. With ample cap room compared to what has become the status quo in Philly, the Flyers can afford an expensive press box and locker room MC to serve as the 13th man and extra body that rarely sees the light of day.

Having only played 30 games last season (the fewest since he started his career), this might be a best-case scenario for the bruiser turned expensive accessory. It would appear his personality is irreplaceable in the locker room, but younger players are waiting in the wings to take his place.

Look for Zac Rinaldo, Eric Wellwood & Harry Zolnierczyk soon! Until then, find me on twitter!