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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