A rocky past couple of games forced the Flyers to make much anticipated moves in calling up a few aces from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. After a crushing losses to the New York Islanders (5 – 3) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (7 – 1), the Flyers brass has clearly felt the frustration shared by the fans and media alike.
On Thursday morning, Sam Morin and Mikhail Vorobyev have both been sent down to the Phantoms and replaced by three of the best talents the Flyers have in their system. Luckily, Morin is only on a conditioning stint and that helps keep him waiver exempt and in the Flyers organization. Odds are that a 6’7 defenseman taken 11th overall in the draft would get taken in a waiver claim. Even with his limited experience, there are a few teams who would be interested in adding him to the lineup for no cost. The conditioning stint means his time in the AHL is limited to 4 games. The Flyers will most likely use this to buy some extra time for additional roster moves. GM Chuck Fletcher, is in a bind as he awaits Nolan Patrick’s return to the lineup from a migraine disorder. Mikhail Vorobyev might of had his last call up as a Flyer. He’s had a lot of success among the AHL’s finest, but when forced to play against men in the NHL level, his game has regresses into mediocrity. With several call ups behind him, he has had a chance to make an impression, but continues to leave more to be desired from his game. It does not mean he doesn’t have an NHL future, but it does mean that the names behind him in the pecking order now get priority.
With the demotions, the Flyers have called up center German Rubtsov, right-handed defenseman Phil Myers, and winger Carsen Twarynski to join the big club. All three players have all had strong AHL seasons so far with the Phantoms, who are only into their third week of the season.
Rubtsov has had a very strong start with 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists) and a +4 rating in 7 games and continues to play in all situations for the Phantoms. He’s going to most likely play on the 3rd or 4th line for the Flyers as they try to improve the performance of the bottom 6. German is a player who fans should grow to love over time as he brings a lot of the same skills that Mike Richards brought to the table years ago. Rubtsov is less physical player than Richards, but he has all of the swagger and poise of a skilled two-way center. Without Nolan Patrick and Scott Laughton in the lineup, the center depth is really getting tested.
Phil Myers hasn’t scored a goal yet for the Phantoms, but he’s been the guy every game. With 4 assists and a +8 rating Myers has been outplaying his counterparts in all situations and continued his strong AHL performance from 2018-19. It was only a matter of time until Myers got the call up and after the Flyers recent struggles, it makes perfect sense. Coach Alain Vigneault wants the team to move the puck out of the defensive zone quicker and with more authority. That’s something Phil Myers can definitely bring to the table immediately. Myers has all the tools of a top pairing defenseman and a bright future ahead of him in the NHL. It’s time for AV to take advantage of it.
Carsen Twarynski has worked his way back into a call up and honestly I’m not convinced he should of been sent down to begin with. With no points in 2 games and a -1 plus minus, it’s clear he wasn’t sent down because of production issues. He didn’t need to produce to get called up and that’s not the only thing that makes Twarynski valuable. If the Flyers didn’t lack the depth at center it would of been much easier to keep Carsen around as he was effective in most of the games he’s played at the NHL level. He had a strong NHL start and even recorded a very nice goal in the early season. Twarynski brings the physical edge and the energy that could help right the issues with the 4th line performance. Of late the Flyers, depleted 4th line, has been taking a beating and consistently ineffective against other teams. Twarynski never stops competing. He has the physical gifts to punish NHL regulars and the speed to catch NHL youngsters trying to get by him. Let’s hope Twarynski can show he’s here to stay because he has potential to be a truly effective two-way player at the NHL level. Production aside, his mindset and physical gifts are welcome to a team who’s playing like it needs a spark.
The Flyers lines are not set yet for their game on Friday, November 1st against the New Jersey Devils. However expect that all three players will be given important roles, as Vigneault has not been shy about using younger players in difficult situations. Look for the Flyers to rebound with a youthful, but hungry lineup that has a lot to prove.