Flyers

Flyers recall Mikhail Vorobyev, send down German Rubtsov

Flyers recall Mikhail Vorobyev, send down German Rubtsov

Updated: 2:12 p.m.

Mikhail Vorobyev is back and German Rubtsov’s taste of the NHL is done for now.

The Flyers on Wednesday recalled Vorobyev from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley and sent Rubtsov to the Phantoms.

Rubtsov, a 21-year-old forward, made his NHL debut last week and played three games with the Flyers in limited fourth-line minutes. It’s not that he didn’t play well; the Flyers likely just want to see him continue to develop in a much bigger role in Lehigh Valley, where he was handling the puck and playing in all situations.

However, head coach Alain Vigneault was not pleased with his fourth line Tuesday night, which Rubtsov centered in a 4-1 win over the Hurricanes.

"[Playing more with the Phantoms] had something to do with it, but really it had more to do with giving our team the best chance to win," Vigneault said Wednesday after practice. "He looked … I don’t want to say … overwhelmed is not the right word, but he was fighting it a little bit with and without the puck."

Carolina outplayed the Flyers through the first two periods, often pinning the Flyers in their own end. Rubtsov ended up playing no more than two minutes in the third period.

“I thought for the first 40 minutes, Ruby’s line spent most of their time in our zone," Vigneault said.

In another effort to boost the fourth line, Vigneault shifted Michael Raffl down to the unit and bumped up Carsen Twarynski to the third line.

“I just didn’t feel we were getting what I needed from our fourth line, especially when we’re playing four games in six nights," Vigneault said. "I talked to Raffy about it, I told him I was looking for balance, I want to be able to play four lines right now and I think this gives us a better chance to do that.”

Vorobyev, a 2015 fourth-round pick, has played five games with the Flyers this season and is expected to center the fourth line. He has skill and penalty kill ability and the Flyers will want to see more consistency.

“Misha, originally when he got here, I thought I liked the way he was playing, his energy," Vigneault said. "It slipped a little bit, so we just made an easy change and hopefully Misha will be good for us [Thursday].”

It doesn't hurt, either, to let Rubtsov continue his development offensively in the AHL. With the Phantoms, he had six points in seven games. He opened the season in Lehigh Valley and has always been regarded for his defensive focus.

"The idea with him going to Lehigh Valley was to allow him to get more offensive puck touches, maybe play some power play, try to develop the offensive part of his game," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said last week. "That’s something we’ll want to be mindful of while he’s up here, but certainly we’re very confident that he can come in and play well away from the puck, compete and use his size and hockey sense to his advantage."

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2020 NHL draft lottery: Rangers win No. 1 pick, also known as the Alexis Lafreniere sweepstakes

2020 NHL draft lottery: Rangers win No. 1 pick, also known as the Alexis Lafreniere sweepstakes

The Metropolitan Division was pretty loaded in 2019-20.

On Monday night, it got even better for the 2020-21 season.

That's because the Rangers won the first overall pick in Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL draft lottery. Alexis Lafreniere, a 6-foot-1, 193-pound winger, is the consensus No. 1 pick. The 18-year-old is a dynamic scorer who put up 112 points (35 goals, 77 assists) in 52 games for the QMJHL's Rimouski Oceanic during the 2019-20 season.

In the 2019-20 NHL regular season, four Metropolitan Division clubs (Capitals, Flyers, Penguins, Hurricanes) had top-10 point percentages and six (Capitals, Flyers, Penguins, Hurricanes, Islanders, Blue Jackets) finished among the top 15. The Rangers, not exactly lacking talent (Artemi Panarin is a Hart Memorial Trophy finalist and Mika Zibanejad scored 41 goals), were in the top 20 but bowed out of the NHL's return-to-play 24-team tournament during the best-of-five qualifying round.

Not only is the Metropolitan Division deep, but it has also landed some big picks in recent past. In the 2019 draft, the Devils took Jack Hughes No. 1 overall and the Rangers selected Kaapo Kakko No. 2 overall. In the 2018 draft, the Hurricanes nabbed Andrei Svechnikov with the second overall pick, while the 2017 draft saw Nico Hischier go No. 1 to the Devils and Nolan Patrick No. 2 to the Flyers.

With the 2020 draft tentatively scheduled for Oct. 9-10, the Rangers are expected to add Lafreniere to a young, building picture. For Flyers fans, New York landing the No. 1 pick was probably the lesser of two evils. The Penguins had as fair of a chance (12.5 percent) at Lafreniere but the Rangers were the lucky ones to have their ping-pong ball selected.

The Flyers are happy to not be worrying about the lottery. They open the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday as the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed.

Below is the 2020 draft order for the first 15 picks, while the remaining 16 first-round selections will be determined by the results of the playoffs.

1. Rangers
2. Kings
3. Senators
4. Red Wings
5. Senators
6. Ducks
7. Devils
8. Sabres
9. Wild
10. Jets
11. Predators
12. Panthers
13. Hurricanes
14. Oilers
15. Penguins

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Flyers Talk podcast: What to like and dislike about Canadiens matchup

Flyers Talk podcast: What to like and dislike about Canadiens matchup

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Brooke Destra and Jordan Hall discuss everything about the team's first-round matchup with the Canadiens.

From our series X-factors to the importance of Jakub Voracek's status, let's dive in:

1:30 — We know the Flyers' first-round schedule; what sticks out?

4:05 — Could we see Brian Elliott during the series?

7:30 — Picking our Flyers X-factor

12:05 — Picking our Canadiens X-factor

16:50 — Analyzing the Voracek situation

20:15 — Why we like the Flyers' chances in this series

 26:00 — Why there could be some concerns about this matchup for the Flyers

 28:55 — The start of the series will be crucial

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