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2015-16 Canadiens season review: Brian Flynn struggled on the fourth line

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Brian Flynn was Montreal's Swiss Army knife this season.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

All things considered, it was a tough season for Brian Flynn. The 27-year-old signed a two-year contract last summer, which came with a paltry cap hit of $950,000 per season.

His versatility came in handy, especially considering Montreal's injury woes. He spent time on both wings, as well as a few games as a centre, mostly relegated to the fourth line.

The vast majority of his ice time came alongside Torrey Mitchell and Devante Smith-Pelly, and the trio struggled to perform to say the least. Their 47.3% Corsi-for percentage was the worst result among all lines that played more than 50 minutes this season. The line was broken up at after the 10th game of the season, and from that point on Flynn was subjected to an endless rotation of linemates. From their initial breakup to the time he would be reunited with Smith-Pelly and Mitchell in February, Flynn did not spend more than three games with the same line.

Unfortunately, that's the harsh reality of a journeyman in the NHL. Consistency is non-existent, points are hard to come by, and more often than not you're given tough zone starts.

Which brings us to Flynn's performance this season.

Image credit: Corsica

Among all Habs forwards that played over 250 minutes at even-strength, Flynn finished last in Corsi-for percentage  (47.4%), goals per 60 (0.22), points per 60 (0.66), high-danger scoring chances for (41.5%), scoring chances for (40.0%), goals for (13), and goals-for per 60 (1.44). He also finished with the toughest zone starts relative to his teammates, and the 14th-toughest among all forwards in the NHL.

Essentially he was put in a tough situation as depth players often are, and he got mauled on most nights.

That raises the question of whether or not Flynn fits on the roster next season.

A quick look at his three-year HERO chart reveals that we shouldn't expect much from him going forward.

We all know Michel Therrien has an affinity for veterans, but it's worth considering that several young players could probably perform at a higher level than Flynn.

As it stands, the Habs have a glut of fourth liners: Lucas Lessio, Paul Byron, Stefan Matteau, Phillip Danault, Jacob de la Rose, Michael McCarron, and Mitchell could all end up vying for a spot on the bottom grouping next season, which makes Flynn expendable. There's a very legitimate argument to be made that a lineup that included Lessio and Danault could probably help the team win more than one involving Flynn.

To further complicate matters, since Flynn is scheduled to be paid $950k next season, his entire contract can be stashed in the AHL without the Habs incurring any type of cap hit penalty.

There's no need to worry about Flynn. Either he starts the season as a 13th forward and plugs holes whenever an injury arises, or he makes way for a more productive youngster.