If you were a young player in the Flyers system, this could’ve be a good year for you. Several guys came up and showed that they could be part of the Flyers’ future. Cam York had a fairly good rookie season as a mid-year callup while Noah Cates really impressed everyone with his style of play. Egor Zamula showed flashes in his brief call ups. Morgan Frost, and Owen Tippett had breakout seasons. Even Wade Allison, when healthy, had his moments.
Then there is Tanner Laczynski.
Laczynski played in 32 games this year with two goals and two assists. He averaged 9:31 minutes of ice time per game; mostly on third or fourth line roles. He’s been called out by John Tortorella as being “out of shape“.
Now, to be fair, Laczynski had been recovering from an ankle injury and had been taking it slow. Anyone who’s ever dealt with an ankle injury knows that you can feel fine one minute and then one wrong move….BAM….you can barely walk….or in this case, skate. He had missed three months with the sprain and has been slowly trying to work his way back. But when he was healthy, he apparently didn’t impress the coach with his efforts.
Laczynski was a sixth round pick in 2016; a draft that has become one of worst draft classes in Flyers history. Despite his lower pick status, he was praised for being an intelligent two-way forward. He was projected as a bottom-six forward who can help defend and move the puck. In reality, that hasn’t happened so much.
When you look at Flyers’ players who were scratched this year, you may think of Justin Braun, Kieffer Bellows, or Tony DeAngelo first. And rightfully so…they’ve all contributed in some way this year. Laczynski hasn’t made much of an impression.
And that’s his problem. If Laczynski wants to stick around, he needs to show that he can contribute. He needs to show that there is something unique about his game that the Flyers need and only he can bring. Most importantly, he needs to show Tortorella that he is worth keeping around.
Somehow, someway Laczynski ended up in Tortorella’s doghouse. While it is not as well publicized as DeAngelo or Kevin Hayes, he fell out of favor with the coach. Is it his style of play? Does he not listen to the coach? Is it his hustle and effort? Who knows. But he needs to show that he belongs here as his time is running out.
If he can’t do this, then perhaps his time is up and he needs to find another team. Maybe he’d flourish in another system. Perhaps he can still flourish in this one. Either way, he’s probably “on the clock” and needs to turn his game around if he wants to stay employed.