When a team struggles in the National Hockey League, conversations regarding promoting players in the American Hockey League tend to arise. Though the Philadelphia Flyers have experienced recent success, it is hard to ignore the failures of the season thus far. Therefore, discussions about players in Lehigh Valley deserving of a call up are common. Of course, there are obvious individuals that inhabit these talks. We are constantly conversating about Philippe Myers, Nic Aube-Kubel, Mikhail Vorobyev (until recently), and Mark Friedman (to a lesser extent). However, are we doing some individuals, such as Mike Vecchione, a disservice by not adding them to the discussion?
There are valid reasons to both sides of this debate. It is imperative to address all of them before we reach a conclusion. Let’s dive in!
Reasons Why Mike Vecchione Deserves a Call-Up
At 25-years-old, Vecchione is no longer considered “young” by NHL standards. Now in his second season with Lehigh Valley, Vecchione shows flashes of the offensively-gifted two way forward that experienced a successful college hockey career. This season, he has 10 goals and 15 assists through 45 games. Similar to last season, Vecchione has had slightly more success dishing out the puck then putting it in the back of the net. This, of course, is not a knock. Any contributions to the offense are positive. Vecchione currently finds himself just outside the Phantoms top-five in point production, which is a nice place to be.
After this season, Vecchione is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Although the Flyers find themselves on a hot streak, it is imperative for the organization to determine what they have in their young players. It could be beneficial for Philadelphia to give Vecchione a shot on the roster for a string of games and assess whether he is worth hanging onto. No harm would be done if he were to replace someone, such as Phil Varone, who is not expected to have an extensive career at the NHL level.
Reasons Why Mike Vecchione Doesn’t Deserve a Call-Up
This argument is a bit more convincing. The simple fact is Vecchione’s play has been far from the extraordinary variety. Yes, he’s been an effective member of Lehigh Valley’s roster but nothing stands out as amazing. Chuck Fletcher might have already made up his mind on Vecchione’s future with the franchise. Vecchione could be viewed as a nice-enough piece for the AHL roster but not someone with much of a future at the top level. If this is the train of thought the Flyers have, there is no benefit to calling him up.
Listen, I like Mike Vecchione and was pulling for him to have a stand-out campaign with the Phantoms this season. In my mind, he has not reached that level. He’s a nice piece to Lehigh Valley’s roster but I struggle to see that translating to the Flyers. With Philadelphia’s deep prospect pool, Vecchione’s value to the organization is minimal. Fletcher is going to focus on promoting prospects with legitimate shots at successful NHL careers. If those youngsters aren’t ready, he’s going to fill those spots with proven NHL-talent. Unfortunately, that leaves no place for players such as Vecchione on the Flyers roster. Personally, I’d be quite shocked if Philadelphia awards him with a call-up this season.
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