Flyers

Future Flyers Report: German Rubtsov's season is over

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Future Flyers Report: German Rubtsov's season is over

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.

• Just when German Rubtsov was again making waves down on the farm, it’s all over. Rubtsov will have shoulder surgery and miss the rest of the season, per the Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi.

Rubtsov suffered the injury on this hit during the Phantoms’ 5-4 win Nov. 16 in Providence:

With that, Rubtsov’s first season in the AHL ends after just 14 games, and it was a productive 14 too. He scored six goals and 10 points and finished with a plus-3 rating. It’s a shame because the 20-year-old started to flash the offensive flair to his game that we didn’t really see during his time in major juniors after his 2016 draft year. Now, Rubtsov will rehab and recover and shift his focus to 2019-20. But his brief showing should leave us optimistic about Rubtsov’s future.

• Felix Sandstrom is quietly having a solid rebound season with HV71, though the overall numbers suggest otherwise. But once you peel away at the onion, you can see the progress.

Sandstrom allowed two goals on 25 shots in a 2-1 loss Thursday and his season save percentage is now .897, which is not fantastic by any means. But he does have a respectable 2.53 goals-against average in nine games, and if we break down his numbers by game, we can see why his percentage is as low as it is: two games in which he allowed five goals, on Sept. 20 and Oct. 25.

Take those two performances out and Sandstrom rocks a strong .927 save percentage in seven games. In those seven games, he’s allowed just 13 goals — two goals in six and one in the other.

The overall view paints a better picture for Sandstrom, and while Carter Hart gets the spotlight, we can’t count Sandstrom out as being the savior in the net this Flyers team so desperately needs.

• To cap off the featured section of this report, we’re going to talk a little bit about Morgan Frost because times right now in the NHL have everyone frustrated and disinterested.

Frost again is having a dominant season in the OHL and on Saturday night, the centerman recorded a junior career-best five assists in Sault Ste. Marie’s 7-4 win over Owen Sound. He had more assists than the Attack had goals. Frost was the first Greyhounds forward to have a five-assist game since Dustin Jeffrey did it Oct. 7, 2007.

The 19-year-old has 10 points during his current four-game point streak, 13 in his last seven and 46 points in 26 games. He’s in a three-way tie for the lead in the OHL scoring.

Quick hits
• Wisconsin defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk has now gone four games without a point but still leads the Badgers with 11 points this season. ESPN’s John Buccigross sung high praise of not just Kalynuk’s offensive game but his defensive game too, via the Courier-Post’s Dave Isaac:

He’s been Wisconsin’s best player! Skating is a huge strength. He’s calm on the ice and has a great hockey sense. Offense is what people notice, but he’s sneaky tough. Tough around the net and has a great willingness to block shots. Awesome on the power play. Has great knack for getting pucks thru traffic — not easy to find blueliners that don’t just bury them into the shin pads.

• Some positive news on the Jay O’Brien front as the 2018 first-round pick returned to the ice Friday after his second injury of the season kept him out three weeks. Both injuries are believed to be concussions, which is a scary start to his collegiate career. He’s pointless in seven games.

• Tanner Laczynski’s three-game point streak ended Saturday. Laczynski recorded five points during the streak. The Ohio State forward has 12 points in 11 games in his junior season.

• Isaac Ratcliffe had two goals Friday, another Saturday and Sunday. He has 19 goals and 30 points in 25 games.

• Matthew Strome had a three-point game Saturday eight points in his last four games. The Hamilton winger has 28 points in 25 games this season.

• 2018 fourth-round pick Jack St. Ivany had a two-assist game Saturday for Yale and now has five points in seven collegiate games.

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2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Maple Leafs, Golden Knights can clinch on home ice

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2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Maple Leafs, Golden Knights can clinch on home ice

Four first-round playoff series remain alive.

Two of those four series could end Sunday.

Both the Maple Leafs and Golden Knights can advance to the second round if they win their respective Game 6s on home ice.

Below is the full schedule for Day 12 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. You can watch the entire playoffs on the networks of NBC. 

Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs (TOR 3-2)
Game 6, Eastern Conference first round
3 p.m. ET | TV: NBC | Live stream here

San Jose Sharks at Vegas Golden Knights (VGK 3-2)
Game 6, Western Conference first round
7 p.m. ET | TV: NBCSN | Live stream here

Old acquaintances, new acquaintances and Flyers flavor as Alain Vigneault gets head start

Old acquaintances, new acquaintances and Flyers flavor as Alain Vigneault gets head start

These are chaotic times for Alain Vigneault.

Exciting, of course, but chaotic — much different than last April and throughout the 2018-19 season when he was without a job.

"After a year off and figuring out I'll never be the golfer that I thought I would be, it's time for me to get back to work," he said Thursday with a smile.

Back into the workforce in full force.

Not only does Vigneault have a new job, he's got two of them … starting at once.

He was introduced as the Flyers' new head coach Thursday. He is also the bench boss for Team Canada in the 2019 IIHF World Championship from May 10-26.

As busy as it is, coaching in the worlds will give Vigneault a head start on getting to know two of his most important players with the Flyers: Sean Couturier and Carter Hart.

Team Canada will also provide a unique situation with plenty of Flyers ties.

The tournament will serve as a job interview of sorts for Flyers goalie coach Kim Dillabaugh. The statuses of the team's assistant coaches Dillabaugh, Kris Knoblauch (power play), Ian Laperriere (penalty kill) and Rick Wilson (defensemen) appear nebulous with a new head coach in town.

Because of his time with Hart, Dillabaugh will join Team Canada.

"Right now, we have a solid, young goaltender that all I've heard about were positive things," Vigneault said of Hart and the Flyers' situation in net. "We're going to be able to work with him at the world championships. We decided [Wednesday], with Hockey Canada, to also bring a goalie coach — we're going to bring the Flyers' goalie coach to the world championships. He's worked with Hart and he's had real good progression with him."

On Thursday, near the top of Vigneault's to-do-list was to discuss the Flyers' staff with general manager Chuck Fletcher and meet the current assistant coaches. Fletcher said: "We're going to talk a little bit more today and a little bit over the next week or two. I don't think it's going to be a rush to hire or a rush to judgment here."

Couturier will be playing for his new coach and his old coach Dave Hakstol, who is on Team Canada's staff. Former Flyers general manager Ron Hextall is also a part of Team Canada's management group.

Don't expect Vigneault to seek out advice from Hakstol regarding the Flyers. That would be a tad bit awkward.

"I'm going to lean on him for the tournament but I'm not going to ask Dave or Ron Hextall anything about players with the Flyers," Vigneault said. "I've said to Chuck that I want to come here with everybody fresh, clean, no preconceived notion. Players are going to come and they're going to show me what they can do. 

"Those would be two great sources for me to ask, but I'd rather trust my eyes, talk to the guys, get to know them and get a personal feel for who they are, what they can do and what they can bring."

Players like Couturier, Hart and Claude Giroux shouldn't have a problem showing what they bring to the table. They're three of the Flyers' surest bets right now.

Giroux chatted with Vigneault on Thursday at Flyers Skate Zone.

"Everything I've heard about him is this passion to win," Vigneault said of the Flyers' captain.

As for Giroux on his new coach: "Very excited," he said via text message to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Marc Farzetta. "Heard a lot of great things."

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