Mikhail Vorobyev

With injured Michael Raffl out a month, Flyers call up Mikhail Vorobyev

With injured Michael Raffl out a month, Flyers call up Mikhail Vorobyev

Updated: 2:13 p.m.

VOORHEES, N.J. — Mikhail Vorobyev, and the Flyers, are hoping a third time is the charm.

The 2015 fourth-round pick has been recalled on three occasions this season, with the most recent call-up coming Wednesday. With Michael Raffl out approximately four weeks because of a broken right pinkie finger suffered Tuesday night, Vorobyev is back and could center the Flyers' fourth line.

Raffl was placed on long-term injured reserve.

Vorobyev, a 22-year-old center with skill and penalty kill ability, has played six games with the Flyers this season. Down in Lehigh Valley with the AHL affiliate Phantoms, Vorobyev had 14 points (five goals, nine assists) through 19 games.

The Flyers will want to see him show consistent effort in limited minutes. That will have to be evident if he's going to stick in Raffl's absence.

“Misha, originally when he got here, I thought I liked the way he was playing, his energy," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said Nov. 6. "It slipped a little bit."

Vigneault said Wednesday after practice that the Flyers may play 11 forwards and seven defensemen Thursday when they host the Coyotes (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP), while 19-year-old rookie Joel Farabee will likely jump into the penalty kill rotation.

The Flyers have significantly improved their goal prevention and Raffl has always been a key piece to their defensive focus. His injury comes a week and a half after Scott Laughton, another important role forward, returned following a 13-game absence from a broken finger.

"It sucks, kind of a similar injury to mine with the finger, but just a sh---y scenario and a sh---y play," Laughton said of Raffl's injury. "It sucks, for sure, but guys are going to have to step up — that's what you have to do and that's what guys did when I was out.

"It definitely sucks to lose him on the ice, but off the ice, as well. He's huge for this group, for the young guys."

The Flyers are allowing 74 goals in 28 games after permitting 101 goals over 28 games last season. During their season-best five-game winning streak, the Flyers have surrendered 1.60 goals per game.

Raffl is one of the team's better puck possession forwards who helps control pace and has played the Flyers' third-most shorthanded minutes among forwards.

Vorobyev will get the first chance to fill the void.

 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

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.

 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the 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."

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers