Opinions among Flyers fans about Rinaldo have been polarizing in his first three NHL seasons. He is admired for ability to strike fear in opposing puck carriers with his thundering hits. He is reviled for his play along that thin, teetering line, which often earns him a seat in the penalty box.
No player in the NHL has been called for more individual penalties over the last three seasons than Rinaldo. Quite a few calls, it seems, are whistled based on reputation alone - or the loud crash from the boards, or the ooh and aah of the crowd after a hit.
Last season, Rinaldo was called for the second-most individual penalties in the NHL, behind only Buffalo's John Scott. His on-ice discipline dropped, especially compared with the previous, lockout-shortened 2013 season.
Last year, Rinaldo took an average of 3.0 penalties per 60 minutes, compared with the 1.7 penalties per game he drew out of opponents, according to BehindTheNet.ca. In 2013, Rinaldo actually drew more penalties per 60 minutes (3.2) than he took (2.3).
With Rinaldo now under the full-time tutelage and mentorship of assistant coach Ian Laperriere, the Flyers hope he can harness his speed and tenacity into a valuable fourth-line position. Under Laperriere last season, Rinaldo earned nearly 30 seconds of shorthanded play per game, compared with the 31 seconds he received in the entire 2013 campaign.
Rinaldo ranked second on the Flyers in hits last season (231) despite averaging only 7 minutes, 41 seconds in ice time per game. In other words, he threw approximately 2.23 hits for each minute he was on the ice.
He will embark on his fourth NHL season when training camp opens on Sept. 18. The Flyers open their preseason slate with split squad games on Sept. 22 in London, Ontario, and the Wells Fargo Center. The puck drops on the regular season on Oct. 8 in Boston.
Online gambling house Bovada.lv released its latest odds for the NHL season yesterday. The Flyers have the 15th-highest odds (middle of the pack) at 28-1 to win the Stanley Cup. Chicago (13-2) has the best odds to win; Peter Laviolette's Nashville Predators (75-1) have the worst.
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