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2018-19 Player Review: Nicolas Aube-Kubel gets his cup of coffee

At long last!

Heather Barry / SB Nation

We talked before the little holiday break about Mikhail Vorobyev and how he made his NHL debut this season, but he wasn’t the only Phantom to earn his first cup of coffee with the big club. Nicolas Aube-Kubel also got his chance to show the Flyers what he could do, and it was kind of a weird run. He came up and for whatever reason, didn’t have Dave Hakstol’s trust, and then didn’t get a lot of ice time, and then was sent back down to the Phantoms. Sort of anticlimactic, but it’s still something for us to talk about. Let’s get into it.

By The Numbers

Basic Stats

Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
9 0 0 0 0 2 0

Well, that certainly is a lot of zeros. We kind of understand how that happened—Aube-Kubel was given under 50 minutes total in those nine games he was with the team, so it’s not like he had much of a chance to generate a whole lot of offense. So that’s how we ended up here. Moving right along.

5v5 On-Ice Stats

Score-Adjusted Corsi For% SA Expected Goals For% Goals For % PDO
Score-Adjusted Corsi For% SA Expected Goals For% Goals For % PDO
55.26 51.86 100 105.3

5v5 Individual Stats

Points/60 Primary Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
Points/60 Primary Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
0 0 9.63 0.14

We should start this off by noting that we’re looking at an extremely small sample, here, and that nine games’ worth of advanced stats isn’t a great basis for evaluation. That said, those first nine games’ underlying numbers aren’t too shabby! Aube-Kubel wasn’t on the ice very much, but when he was, the numbers tell us that the Flyers were out-shooting and out-chancing their opponents. And while those chances weren’t always making their way on net, he was also generating a fair number of attempts (eight in total) with the chance he was given. We’re hesitant to make too much out of these numbers because sample size and all that jazz, but if nothing else, these numbers aren’t a bad start, and we’d be pretty thrilled if Aube-Kubel could keep up that good work, going forward.

Three Burning Questions

Did this player live up to our expectations for this season?

Not really but also sort of? He lived up to our absolute barest minimum expectation and at least showed that he could hang at the NHL level. But we also wanted to see a little bit more than that. We wanted to see him be a little bit more dynamic, assert himself as more of a contributor. But he didn’t really have a chance to do that part. He was averaging under six minutes a night. We wanted to see him succeed, and he wasn’t put in the best position to do that.

What do we expect from this player next season?

Well, considering the fact that the Flyers didn’t sign a player to be the third line right wing, it’s likely going to come down to a training camp battle to fill that vacancy. And we’re getting very excited about the possibility that one of the real youngsters (Morgan Frost and Joel Farabee, hello) might be the one to sneak in and steal a spot, but realistically, it’s much more likely that we see Aube-Kubel taking that spot. He’s got more pro experience, plus the Flyers would have to risk sending him through waivers if they wanted to send him back to the Phantoms. He has perhaps the strongest case for a promotion to the big club, and that’s what we’re expecting to happen.

As for from Aube-Kubel himself, we expect that he might have some adjusting to do to playing actual meaningful minutes at the NHL level, but that he’ll be able to take that step forward in his development and carve out an actual NHL role for himself. He looks ready, let’s see what he can do.

What would we like to see this player improve on?

This is a tough one, because it’s not like we saw any real, glaring issues with his play at the NHL level. We didn’t see enough to make any really precise judgements on what areas are in need of improvement. That said, we’d just like to make sure that he’s able to bring the same level of consistency that he found with the Phantoms to his play with the Flyers. We’d also like to see him shooting the puck a little more—he was one of the Phantoms’ best 5-on-5 scorers, and even if he’s not getting as many minutes with the Flyers, we still believe that he can tap into some of that at the NHL level.

All stats via Corsica.Hockey, HockeyDB, and Natural Stat Trick