Zack MacEwen and Nic Deslauriers, throwback wingers who play with an edge and like to drop their gloves, could find themselves on the same line this season.
MacEwen is all for it.
“I think it would be a really good fit,” MacEwen said Thursday after an informal on-the-ice workout in Voorhees. “He’s someone who plays a similar style as me and we’ll try to build some chemistry together, so it’s exciting. We’ll see what happens, but obviously it would be a pleasure to play with him.”
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound MacEwen, 26, is starting his second season with the Flyers, having been plucked off waivers last year from Vancouver. Deslauriers, 31, who is 6-2 and 220 pounds, was signed as a free agent (four years; annual cap hit of $1.75 million) in July.
They were among the NHL leaders in fights last season. Deslauriers was tied for second with 13 fights. MacEwen was fourth with 12 bouts.
If they were on the same line, “we’d be hard to play against. That’s the biggest thing,” MacEwen said. “We could definitely feed off each other in that sense. I think we’d make it tough on teams if we were playing together — the way we both forecheck and are relentless. Obviously we have the ability to take care of anything that kind of goes down on the ice. It’s what the Flyers fans really like, and I think it could be a lot of fun.”
Flyers fans love MacEwen’s feisty play. The fan club named him the winner of the Gene Hart Award last season as the player who showed the most heart.
“That was a great honor for me to receive that,” he said. “I couldn’t be more appreciative of the people that made that happen. Just to get that and just to be there for one year, it meant a lot to me. I give everything I’ve got when I’m playing, and to feel that love and support from the fans here is a great feeling.”
The team’s expectations are simple, MacEwen said.
“Everybody wants to be a hard team to play against, a hard-working team,” he said. “There’s definitely going to be changes made this year, as happens when a new coach comes in. The expectations are to be a competing team, and have a lot more to be happy about than last year. We have to move on from that, build a team, build a culture, and get as many wins as possible.”
MacEwen played a career-high 75 games last season and had nine points (a personal best) and 110 penalty minutes. Before that, he played a total of 55 regular-season games in the NHL, all with Vancouver.
He said he still feels he has to prove himself.
“Nothing is given in this business,” said MacEwen, who signed a one-year, $925,000 deal. last month. “Obviously I want to give myself the best chance possible … I’m not expecting anything (given to him), but I’m going to do everything I can to solidify that for myself.”