Philadelphia Flyers Could Do Without Zac Rinaldo

By Steven Smith
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no questioning the fact that this season has had its share of ups and downs for the Philadelphia Flyers. Strong play at times has unfortunately been accompanied with injuries, inconsistent play and lack of discipline. Look, we all know that Philadelphia prides its style of hockey from a rough and tough state of mind. However, if that state of mind, or “identity” as some like to refer to it, is costing a team games, wouldn’t you think that its time for a change?

From what most fans will tell you, it’s the lack of discipline that has been costing the Flyers games. We saw it very early in the season when the Flyers went a pathetic 3-8 in October. Perhaps no player lacks discipline more for the Flyers than Zac Rinaldo. Hold on a second, though. What’s that? You’re telling me that’s just the kind of player he is? Well let me break things down for you and tell you why Rinaldo is highly overrated. In fact, he’s almost pointless.

Speaking of almost pointless, let’s start with his offense — or lack thereof. In 54 games this season, Rinaldo has a lousy two points (1G, 1A). That’s right. Just two points. Tye McGinn has played eight games with the Flyers this season and still has more points than Rinaldo. In his career, Rinaldo has played 152 games for the Flyers but has only scored six goals and has had a mere 10 helpers. When you’re a forward, a center nonetheless, those numbers are atrocious; and if you ask me, they’re unacceptable.

Rough and tough hockey may be what Philly anchors its game on, but there are times when it’s okay to play by that strategy and times when it’s not okay. Unfortunately, to me, it’s happened a little too much this season. The Flyers have played 38 games this season where they have had 10 or more penalty minutes. In those 38 games, they’re 19-19. Five of those 19 losses involved some penalty participation from Rinaldo.

In no way am I saying that Rinaldo has cost the Flyers any games, but let’s face the facts: He definitely doesn’t help. If you want scrappy hockey, look to guys like Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell. Both guys rank in the NHL‘s top 36 players with the most penalty minutes. The catch is they both have at least 40 points. They get down and dirty but still contribute offensively.

Then there’s the argument that Rinaldo barely spends eight minutes on the ice per game. Do I really have to answer this? Don’t you think that if he spent more time worrying about scoring and putting points on the board and less time trying to take a guy’s head off he would have more time on the ice?

Being raised as a Flyers fan I like a good fight just as much as the next guy, but for crying out loud, I want a parade.  That won’t happen if players don’t have their heads on straight.

As Philadelphia sports fans, we wear our hearts on our sleeves. We tend to get attached a little more easily than most cities. We’ve seen it with guys like Donald Brashear and Dan Carcillo. What was the end result though? Nothing.

Steven Smith is a Philadelphia Flyers writer for  Follow him on Twitter and “like” him on Facebook.

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