It’s been a long time coming for the 2014 second-round draft pick. Nicolas Aube-Kubel has finally found his place on the Flyers roster.
The Flyers drafted Nicolas Aube-Kubel in the second round of the 2014 draft. He was ranked fairly average by most places, coming in as the 40th ranked North American skater. He was known for his quick skating and high-energy play. It was his offensive game that was inconsistent.
That inconsistency was a big reason he found himself unable to stick around on the Flyers when he debuted during the 2018-19 season. He skated in nine games, unable to stick out enough to stay. He was averaging just over five and a half minutes per game. Some games he even fell under the five-minute mark.
During those nine games, he was credited with just two shots overall. He was sent back to the American Hockey League where he spent the rest of the season. It was beginning to seem as if he was falling out of favor with the Flyers. He was in his third season in the AHL where the numbers weren’t bad, but they also didn’t stand out.
The 30 points he posted that season were less than the 46 he grabbed in his second season. The stint in the NHL was likely part of the reason as he played in 54 games for the Phantoms as opposed to the 72 the season prior. But he was taking a step in the wrong direction.
Under a new management group, Aube-Kubel was given another chance this season. He wasn’t able to impress enough in the pre-season as the team took the chance to waive him and send him back to the AHL. He worked hard with the Phantoms and grabbed eight points in 26 games before he was called up in December.
He never looked back from there. Being sent down during the preseason may have been a wake-up call for Aube-Kubel. He would finish the season with the Flyers, appearing in 36 games. He grabbed his first NHL goal and collected 15 points overall. Aube-Kubel seemingly solidified his place on the NHL roster.
Aube-Kubel finished second on the team among rookie forwards in goals and points. He was third overall as Philippe Myers had him in both categories. Along with Joel Farabee, the two were the only rookie forwards to get consistent playing time. The Flyers did ice six other rookie forwards, but with less playing time than the two above.
Using Hockey Reference and Natural Stat Trick to look at more advanced numbers, Aube-Kubel finished his first full season with exactly a 50.0 CF%. That was 14th on the team. His -1.1 rel CF% had him ranked 13th. Averaging just over 11 minutes per game, he was posting 0.19 goals per game and 0.42 points per game.
Looking at his numbers per 60 minutes, Aube-Kubel was collecting 1.03 Goals/60 and 2.21 Total Points/60. He averaged around 11 Shots/60, 1.33 per game. That stat alone was much improved from his first chance in the NHL.
Time will tell if he did enough, though. He will be a restricted free agent and will have arbitration rights this offseason. The Flyers do have the first crack at getting him signed. Only making $700K this season, he will likely earn more on his next contract.
With his ice time increasing and the trust to have him on special teams growing, it’s fair to say the team was impressed.