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Analyzing Nicolas Aube-Kubel’s 2019-20 debut

Congrats to NAK for his first NHL point!

NHL: SEP 23 Preseason - Flyers at Bruins Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In order to fill the vacancies caused by the injury bug that has hit the Flyers as of late, in preparation for yesterday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, the Flyers called up both Carsen Twarynski and Nicolas Aube-Kubel from the Phantoms.

Twarynski, who has three points in twelve games in the AHL, had seen NHL time earlier this season in place of popular candidates Joel Farabee and Morgan Frost. Aube-Kubel, however, had not played in the NHL since his nine game stint during the 2018-19 season. Analysts who keep up more regularly with the Phantoms (shoutout Maddie and Brad) had been questioning whether or not Aube-Kubel would get a call up, especially with his play in the AHL getting better recently. Eventually, though not due to the best circumstances, we once again saw the man we call ‘NAK’ come back to the NHL (I will not apologize for the accidental rhyme).

In last evening’s game, Aube-Kubel played on the right wing, with Morgan Frost as his center and Jam Van Riemsdyk on the opposite wing. That right there is a line with considerable offensive upside, significantly more so than NAK’s most common line mates from his nine games last season, Scott Laughton and Jori Lehtera.

Aube-Kubel played 13:07 minutes across all strengths, 10:36 total at just 5-on-5. That is nearly double his average ice-time from last year (5:35 TOI). In those 5-on-5 minutes, Aube-Kubel managed to drive play fairly well, registering a Corsi-For of 52.94%. In context, this stat is even more impressive considering the sudden nature of the call-up and the weariness that a shortened skater corps must have been feeling coming off of a strenuous back-to-back.

Additionally, NAK’s line as a whole played well, putting up a 57.14 CF% in 4:57 minutes of 5-on-5 play, and looked in general to win most of their matchups where the team in wider context did not. Interestingly, Aube-Kubel also spent 3:52 5-on-5 minutes with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier, and that line managed to drive play equally as effectively as the NAK-Frost-JVR line.

Natural Stat Trick

Looking at Aube-Kubel’s event map (courtesy of Natural Stat Trick), at 5-on-5 he managed to involve himself in play quite often, which helped back up what I observed from a simple eye test. He had two shots from around the slot, one of which was blocked, and delivered three hits. He also managed to turn the puck over in his own zone at the circle, though also blocked a Winnipeg chance.

Despite the circumstances in which he had to play, I thought that Aube-Kubel brought a good pace to play and didn’t look at all out of place next to Frost and Van Riemsdyk. In the end, Aube-Kubel was rewarded for his efforts with a primary assist on Shayne Gostisbehere’s goal which only served as a consolation, but nevertheless, will be registered as Aube-Kubel’s first NHL point. Here’s hoping it’s one of many more NAK!

All stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.