When the Flyers returned to play from their COVID break last Thursday, they were down six regulars in their lineup. So, they were forced to call up the likes of Carsen Twarynski, Sam Morin, David Kase, Andy Andreoff, Maksim Sushko, and Mark Friedman (who they subsequently lost to Pittsburgh) from the taxi squad/ Lehigh Valley to fill the empty spaces.
Now, however, five of those regulars have cleared COVID protocol and should be returning within the next game or two. With their return, the callups are likely headed back to the Phantoms, so now is a good time to evaluate their performance and ask, just how did they do in their three games in Philly?
Offensively, the answer is not very good. In the three games since their return to play, the Flyers have scored nine goals and posted 18 assists for a total of 27 points. Exactly zero of those points came from the aforementioned group of AHLers. The underlying stats aren’t pretty either; Kase was the only one in the group with a non-negative Corsi score (50%). As for the other five, Sushko was a respectable 48%, followed by Friedman (38.5), Andreoff (26.8), Morin (25.0), and finally Carsen Twarynski with a gut-wrenching 12.5 in his one game of action. Yikes!!
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Now, these guys weren’t expected to come in and lead the team offensively, and the fact that they were often forced to play together instead of being mixed with veterans didn’t help, but that group of six really should have been able to put SOMETHING on the board.
Instead, over the course of three games, they had half as many shots between the six of them (4) as Claude Giroux had by himself on Wednesday (8).
The eye test bears the offensive ineptitude of this group out as well. There honestly were almost no moments from these guys that stood out to me and if you go back and watch the highlights of those three games, you’ll barely see any of them.
Their invisibility cuts both ways though because while it does mean they were as effective as trying to break a brick with spaghetti on offense, it also suggests that they did a reasonable job preventing high-danger chances on defense.
While none of them were on the ice for any of the Flyers’ goals, two of them–Kase and Twarynski– were not on the ice for any opponent goals either and the others were all -1.
In fact, the only goal I could find where more than one of them was on the ice, was Trent Frederic’s on Sunday–which if you’ll recall was a harmless point shot that Hart whiffed on. These guys were definitely pinned down in their own zone a lot, but it feels like they at least did a good job limiting the really high-danger opportunities.
It really did feel like the majority of the really high-danger chances the Flyers gave up were the fault of their top lines, but this is likely due in large part to the tougher competition–such as Boston’s perfection line– that they had to face.
Still, although the process and underlying numbers weren’t pretty, you really can’t argue with the fact that the Flyers only gave up one goal when these guys were on the ice together, especially considering the team gave up 12 goals total over that stretch.
Ultimately, I think it’s fair to say that while the Taxi squad call-ups added absolutely nothing to the team, they didn’t really cost the Flyers anything either. Honestly, that’s probably all we should have hoped for these guys to do all along, eat up ice time between shifts for the scoring lines, and don’t do anything to cost the Flyers the game. Let’s just all be thankful that our regulars are returning though.