Andy Andreoff

How Flyers' fourth-line carousel has continued with Andy Andreoff called up, Mikhail Vorobyev sent down

How Flyers' fourth-line carousel has continued with Andy Andreoff called up, Mikhail Vorobyev sent down

The Flyers have given their kids a chance.

Now they're ready to give Andy Andreoff a shot.

The Flyers called up the 28-year-old forward Friday and loaned Mikhail Vorobyev back to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. Head coach Alain Vigneault and general manager Chuck Fletcher clearly didn't think Vorobyev showed enough to stay with the Flyers as he was sent back to the Phantoms after one game.

The Flyers want more consistent energy in limited minutes from Vorobyev, a 22-year-old center who has played six games with the club this season. The 2015 fourth-round pick played fourth-line center Thursday, a position the Flyers have opened up for the taking through 15 games.

"Our fourth line played seven, eight minutes, they're important minutes," Vigneault said after Thursday night's 3-2 OT win over the Canadiens. "I thought that line tried to get pucks deep and tried to spend some time in the other end."

The Flyers have played seven rookies so far this season. Vorobyev, Carsen Twarynski, Connor Bunnaman and German Rubtsov have seen auditions on the bottom unit.

Andreoff will offer the Flyers experience and positional versatility. He has played 242 career AHL games and 159 in the NHL.

"A key to my game is just being ready to play any position," Andreoff said during training camp. "Wherever they throw me out.

"They play tough, they play hard. ... That's my type of game."

His game has a blend of skill and physicality. If anything, he'll understand what the Flyers are looking for on their fourth line. The team also won't mind if he's its extra forward, rather than carrying a younger prospect and sitting him.

With the AHL's Syracuse Crunch last season, Andreoff scored 55 points (26 goals, 29 assists) and totaled 150 penalty minutes. Through 10 games with the Phantoms this season, he had seven points (three goals, four assists). Per Lehigh Valley radio broadcaster Bob Rotruck, Andreoff had been the Phantoms' most consistent forward.

"He's a physical, competitive, team-oriented kind of guy," Fletcher said during training camp. "There are some different elements he brings. ... We feel he's clearly a guy who can play."

Andreoff or Michael Raffl will center the Flyers' fourth line. Both can play center or winger. If Andreoff plays and shows well in a tough back-to-back set on the road this weekend against the Maple Leafs Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and Bruins Sunday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP), he could stick for longer than just a few games.

 

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2019 NHL free agency: Flyers sign 8 depth players

2019 NHL free agency: Flyers sign 8 depth players

Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher made his depth moves on Day 1 of NHL free agency Monday by signing Andy Andreoff, Andy Welinski, Kurtis Gabriel, Nate Prosser, Tyler Wotherspoon, Jean-Francois Berube, Chris Bigras and Kyle Criscuolo.

Andreoff's contract is a two-year, one-way deal with an average annual value of $750,000. Welinski's is also a one-way deal for just one year, $750,000. For Gabriel (one-year, $700,000 AAV), Prosser (two years, $700,000 AAV), Wotherspoon (two years, $700,000 AAV), Berube (one year, $700,000 AAV), Bigras (two years, $700,000 AAV) and Criscuolo (one year, $700,000 AAV), the deals are two-way contracts.

The Flyers were not expected to do much Monday given Fletcher's work ahead of free agency, acquring Kevin Hayes, Matt Niskanen, Justin Braun and Tyler Pitlick, while parting ways with Radko Gudas, Andrew MacDonald, Ryan Hartman and David Schlemko (see story).

Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov, Scott Laughton and Nicolas Aube-Kubel are the Flyers' remaining restricted free agents.

Let's look at each player they acquired Monday:

Andreoff

The 28-year-old forward has played 232 career AHL games and 159 in the NHL. With the AHL's Syracuse Crunch last season, Andreoff scored 55 points (26 goals, 29 assists) and totaled 150 penalty minutes.

His best NHL season came in 2015-16, when he played 60 games for the Kings and scored 10 points.

Welinski

The 26-year-old defenseman has played 146 career AHL games and will help a young Phantoms team that needed blueliners. Last season, the righty shot played a career-high 26 games for the Ducks.

He was a third-round draft pick by Anaheim in 2011.

Gabriel

Flyers fans probably remember Gabriel — and not too fondly.

While with the Devils last season, the right winger boarded Nolan Patrick and received a one-game suspension. He made for plenty of theatrics against the Flyers.

He was drafted by Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr back in 2013 while the two were with the Wild. The 26-year-old played a career-high 22 games last season for the Devils and totaled 59 penalty minutes.

Prosser

The 33-year-old defenseman played under Fletcher from 2009 to 2018. He has appeared in 354 career NHL games, 353 of which have come with the Wild.

Over his 10-year career, Prosser has 47 points (10 goals, 37 assists).

Wotherspoon

The 26-year-old defenseman owns a career plus-58 in 355 AHL games. The lefty shot was a second-round draft pick of the Flames in 2011.

He hasn't played in the NHL since 2016-17. In 2013-14, he played a career-high 14 games with the Flames.

Berube

With Berube, the Flyers added some goaltending depth. The 27-year-old is 9-10-4 with a 3.39 goals-against average and an .898 save percentage in 34 career NHL games.

In 2014-15, he won the Calder Cup with the Manchester Monarchs. During the regular season that year, he won 37 games and put up a 2.18 goals-against average.

Bigras

The 24-year-old defenseman was a second-round draft pick of the Avalanche in 2012. He had a career year in the AHL last season, scoring 22 points in 52 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack.

The lefty shot has played 46 career NHL games, all with the Avalanche.

Criscuolo

The 27-year-old forward is from South Jersey and played at Saint Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia. He had a great college career at Harvard. He also won the 2017 Calder Cup with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

There's a connection to Fletcher, who is a Harvard guy himself.

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