Flyers

Future Flyers Report: Rubtsov, Vecchione, Martel and more

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Future Flyers Report: Rubtsov, Vecchione, Martel and more

Before this week begins, it’s time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers’ prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

In this edition, we’ll take a look at a trade at the junior level with Flyers ties, a former Hobey Baker finalist and plenty more. Let’s get this thing going.

German Rubtsov, C, 19, 6-0/187, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
We had a trade involving one of the Flyers’ top prospects and a team with direct ties to the Flyers. Rubtsov was acquired by Acadie-Bathurst last week from Chicoutimi. Rubtsov joins Antoine Morand as the only two NHL-owned players on the Titan roster. Sean Couturier, the Flyers’ top-line center, is part of an investor group that bought Acadie-Bathurst in 2013, while Couturier’s dad, Sylvain, is the team’s general manager.

It may be obvious, but Rubtsov’s trade has no impact on the Flyers. They still own his rights. It’s strictly a QMJHL transaction. It happens often in junior. In January 2016, Ottawa traded Travis Konecny to Sarnia because it felt Konecny would be in the NHL.

Rubtsov will turn 20 in June and will either be in the AHL or NHL next season, which may have factored into Chicoutimi’s openness to moving him. Another factor could be the Saguenéens’ start, as Chicoutimi is near the bottom of the Q. Either way, Rubtsov has a new home in the Quebec League. Rubtsov adjusted quickly with the Titan.

On Friday, Rubtsov picked up an assist in his first game with Acadie-Bathurst, a primary helper on Morand’s game-winning goal in the Titan’s 6-3 win over Cape Breton. Then, in another 6-3 win Saturday over Cape Breton, Rubtsov recorded a goal and an assist. It took Rubtsov no time to mesh with his new teammates, a testament to his skill set.

Mike Vecchione, C, 24, 5-10/194, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
Vecchione’s seven-game point streak ended last week but he still had a productive weekend. He had a two-assist game Saturday after his point streak snapped and then was pointless Sunday. The 24-year-old was honored last week for his performance in October. Vecchione last Wednesday was named the AHL Rookie of the Month and second star after posting 10 points in 10 games in October. It’s been quite the start for Vecchione.

“I’ve been taught to never put a ceiling on anything,” Vecchione said in September. “The sky’s the limit and I’ve broken a lot of ceilings that people put on me before. … I’ll do whatever it takes to move up and be an impact player for whatever team I play for.”

He’s proving to be just that for the Phantoms thus far: an impact player.

Danick Martel, LW, 22, 5-8/161, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
Get used to seeing Martel in this report. He may not be a high-end prospect, but what he's doing is ridiculous. Martel had a goal Friday, a goal and an assist Saturday, and then a goal Sunday. He has six goals during his five-game goal streak. He leads the AHL in goals (13) and points (17). He's averaging a goal per game. Bonkers.

Wade Allison, RW, 20, 6-2/205, Western Michigan (NCAA)
Allison had himself a weekend for the Broncos, who swept No. 1 Denver with wins Friday and Saturday. Allison played a big part of the victories with a four-point weekend. He scored WMU's first goal and picked up a secondary helper on the game-winning goal Friday in the Broncos' 6-5 win. Then Saturday, he recorded a hat trick in a 7-4 win.

With Denver up 3-0 in the second period, Allison scored two goals in 1 minute and 13 seconds to get the Broncos within one. Denver went up 4-2, but then WMU sprung off five unanswered goals. Allison scored the team's sixth goal, a power-play tally.

A huge night for Allison gave him the first hat trick of his collegiate career. He's second on WMU in goals (six), points (14) and points per game (1.56), and tied for the lead in assists with eight. He has just two pointless games and five multi-point games.

Cooper Marody, C, 20, 6-1/185, Michigan (NCAA)
He was featured last week, and after another big weekend, he's back. Marody continued to stay hot for the Wolverines this past weekend as Michigan split with Ferris State. Marody racked up a goal and two assists in UM's 7-2 win Friday. It was his third straight three-point game. In Michigan's 3-2 overtime loss Saturday, Marody had a goal and an assist. The junior leads Michigan with nine assists and 12 points.

Quick hits
Carter Hart returned to action last week for Everett after sitting out with mono. It was a pretty busy weekend for Hart, too. He stopped 23 of 24 shots in a 3-1 win Friday over Prince George and 39 of 41 shots Saturday in a 3-1 loss to Portland.

Philippe Myers’ groin injury forced him to leave the Phantoms’ 6-5 shootout loss Friday night to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He missed games on Saturday and Sunday.

Morgan Frost had a three-assist game in Sault Ste. Marie's 5-4 win over Sudbury last Wednesday. He then had an assist Sunday. Frost has 15 assists and 22 points in 18 games.

Oskar Lindblom added two more assists Friday night against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. It was his third consecutive two-point game.

• It’s been a rough stretch for Lehigh Valley goalie Alex Lyon, who’s allowed nine goals in his last two games. Lyon allowed four goals Saturday before being pulled. He’s allowed three or more goals in five of his nine games this season.

Tanner Laczynski earned the NCAA's First Star of the Week for the week of Oct. 23 after a breakout performance. This past weekend, he had one assist in two games.

Mikhail Vorobyev scored his first AHL goal in the Phantoms' 6-5 shootout loss Friday night to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

• Kitchener captain Connor Bunnaman has had a big two weeks. Bunnaman had his third two-goal game of the season Friday against Erie and then another goal Saturday against Guelph. Bunnaman has nine goals and 13 points in 15 games this season.

• Clarkson's Terrance Amorosa had a two-assist game Friday against Rensselaer. Amorosa, a senior, now has seven assists and nine points in 10 games.

Felix Sandstrom remains out for Brynäs IF because of an injury.

Noah Cates snapped a seven-game pointless streak with his second goal of the season Saturday night in Omaha's 3-2 overtime loss to Madison.

Pekka Rinne notches milestone in Predators' rout

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Pekka Rinne notches milestone in Predators' rout

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Pekka Rinne made 33 saves in his 300th career win and the Nashville Predators routed the San Jose Sharks 7-1 on Thursday night.

Nick Bonino, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson each had a goal and an assist, and Scott Hartnell, Kevin Fiala and Mattias Ekholm also scored for Nashville, which has won three straight. The Predators moved within one point of expansion Vegas for the Western Conference lead.

Nashville defensemen Roman Josi and P.K. Subban each had two assists.

All of Rinne's wins have come with Nashville. He tied former Predators goalie Tomas Vokoun for 33rd place in NHL history.

Logan Couture had the San Jose goal. The loss snapped the Sharks' three-game winning streak (see full recap).

Wild use big 2nd period to top Devils
NEWARK, N.J. -- Joel Eriksson Ek and Chris Stewart scored in a 39-second span during Minnesota's three-goal second period, and the Wild rallied from two down to beat the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Thursday night.

Wild defenseman Mike Reilly also scored in the second period and Eric Staal iced the game with an empty-net goal, his 900th NHL point. Backup goalie Alex Stalock made 38 saves as the Wild moved into third place in the Central Division after winning for the 11th time in 17 games (11-3-3).

Taylor Hall and Stefan Noesen scored for the Devils, who have lost two in a row after a four-game winning streak. Eddie Lack made 21 saves.

Hall's 13-game point streak is the longest in NHL this season, one more than David Pastrnak of Boston.

Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau made the right moves in this one, inserting Reilly and Stewart into the lineup and electing to give No. 1 goaltender Devan Dubnyk a night off (see full recap).

Matthews exits Maple Leafs’ SO victory with injury
TORONTO -- Tyler Bozak scored the shootout winner and the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the New York Islanders 4-3 on Thursday night.

Auston Matthews tipped in Jake Gardiner's shot to tie it 3-all with 3:29 remaining in the third period, but later left the game favoring his right side after taking a hit from Cal Clutterbuck and did not return. The 20-year-old Toronto star missed six games in December with a concussion and another four games with an undisclosed upper-body injury.

Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly had the other Maple Leafs goals, and Frederik Andersen made 32 saves. Toronto (38-20-5) has won eight straight at home.

Ryan Pulock, Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle scored for the Islanders (29-26-7), and Jaroslav Halak turned aside 28 shots. New York, one point out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, dropped to 4-6-2 since the All-Star break and 13-15-3 on the road this season.

With his three points, Barzal has a team-leading 65 and a 14-point lead over Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL's rookie scoring race (see full recap).

Here comes Nolan Patrick, just in time for Flyers

Here comes Nolan Patrick, just in time for Flyers

BOX SCORE

When Dave Hakstol was hired on May 18, 2015, to become the 19th head coach of the Flyers, there was an underlying belief that given his collegiate pedigree, Hakstol was the perfect bench boss to handle the team's homegrown prospects.

However, as we’ve seen over the course of three seasons, the progression of a young player doesn’t always continue on an upward trajectory from the moment they start their NHL career.

As he juggles a roster that is now the youngest in the Eastern Conference following injuries to Brian Elliott and Wayne Simmonds, Hakstol appears to be pushing all of the right buttons, including those connected with the organization’s most prized prospect, Nolan Patrick.

Thursday night’s 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets further exemplified that as Patrick scored a power-play goal in his second straight game (see observations). With the injury to Simmonds, Hakstol believed Patrick could slide seamlessly into Simmonds' net-front role on the top unit, and the rookie has yet to disappoint his coach or teammates.

“I think there’s a little less pressure,” Patrick said. “You don’t have the puck on your stick as much. I think my shots are something I need to improve on. It’s kind of nice for me to be there and not try and beat goalies with my shots. I like it there.”

Hakstol recognized early in the opening month of the season that Patrick wasn’t quite ready to handle the role of being a top-six forward, but over the course of an 82-game season, he has gradually given the 19-year-old center more responsibility and Patrick has proved he’s deserving of the coach’s trust.

“His approach, his hockey sense and his intelligence is what gives him an opportunity to be successful in any situation,” Hakstol said. “Each time we’ve been able to give him more of an opportunity, he’s taken advantage of that. Nolan is doing a lot of those little things on a nightly basis — up and down the middle of the rink, playing a good 200-foot game, and the fact he’s taken pride in that is the foundation of his game.”

“He’s been great,” Patrick said of Hakstol. “When I first got here, they made me work for everything. They didn’t put me in situations I wasn’t ready for. Even now, when I’m not playing great, he does what’s best for the team. He’ll hold me back or not put me out there when I’m struggling on faceoffs. He notices that and he’s been huge for me.”

And Patrick has been huge for the Flyers. He’s now scored a goal in three straight games. 

You’re never quite sure when the future will eventually catch up to the present, but with the help of his head coach, it’s coming at just the right time for Nolan Patrick.