The move comes on the back of a disappointing start to the 2021 campaign. Aube-Kubel only had one point through 7 appearances at the time of his waiving and continued his decline after a step back in 2020. NAK isn’t a bad player at all and does have some upside as a 25-year-old who brings a ton of energy and physicality to the ice. It just seemed to hurt the Flyers more than it helped them.
After earning a consistent spot on the team in 2019, NAK put up 15 points in 36 games before enjoying a very solid bubble performance. In 2020, his production tailed off massively. His reliance on physical traits often led him into the penalty box. He ended the year with 12 points in 50 games and 44 penalty minutes. His aggressiveness definitely helped a fledgling Flyers offense to find an identity and sparked some intense play from his teammates, but it came at the expense of unnecessary penalties. This year, those penalties seem to keep coming at the worst possible times.
Chuck Fletcher found Zack MacEwen and Patrick Brown not too long ago. Partnering them with Nate Thompson on the fourth line does make sense, but there is plenty of rotational value there. With Ryan Ellis and Kevin Hayes nearing their returns, NAK was simply the weakest link.
On a middling PK unit, NAK has been unable to stand out. There will come a time when Morgan Frost eventually earns a call up, it’s hard to facilitate regular minutes for NAK. Nate Thompson figures to be the next best option and someone who won’t hurt the team in key situations. There’s a good chance that he gets poached by another team, but Philadelphia is just not the right environment for Aube-Kubel at the moment.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre