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2019-20 Player Review: Carsen Twarynski gets a cup of coffee

Another prospect gets a look.

NHL: NOV 10 Flyers at Bruins Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s that time of year again folks! As we sink into the deep, dark days of the off-season, we’re taking some time to look back on the 2019-20 season—which feels like it ended about 40 years ago, if we’re honest—and doing some deep dives into players’ performances. That’s right, it’s season review time!

We’re kicking off our series talking about Carsen Twarynski. After a strong training camp and pre-season run, Twarynski earned a spot with the Flyers and a chance to start the season with them over in the Czech Republic (remember that? That sure did happen). He was a bit up and down between the Flyers and the Phantoms last season, and his NHL time was something of a mixed bag. There’s quite a bit to parse through here, so let’s just get right 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
15 1 0 1 4 14 7.14%

There isn’t a whole lot to break down here, as the table tells us. Twarynski picked up his first NHL goal in his third game in Vancouver against the Canucks, but beyond that, the offense dried up for him, and he wasn’t able to chip in anything further on the scoring front in his next 12 games. He was shooting a little lower than league average, but only a bit, but he also wasn’t really putting himself in the best position to pick up some more goals and help bring that percentage up, as we also didn’t see him shooting much—averaging under a shot per game. And it’s worth noting that his minutes were limited, and we don’t always see the fourth line thrown out there purely to generate offense, and that certainly doesn’t help his case, but it remains that we would have liked to see him generating just a bit more.

One piece we might take away as a positive is that Twarynski did play, on the whole, a disciplined game with the Flyers. He only took two minor penalties in his 15 games with the team, and what that tells us is that, while bringing a physical game, he isn’t jumping over the line and putting his team at a disadvantage, and also that he isn’t struggling so mightily with the pace of play that he’s taking a bunch of grabby penalties or stick infractions. So that’s nice to see.

5v5 Individual Stats

Goals/60 Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
Goals/60 Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
0.39 0.39 6.21 0.26

5v5 On-Ice Stats

Corsi-For% Corsi-For% Rel Expected Goals-For% Expected Goals-For% Rel Goals For% PDO
Corsi-For% Corsi-For% Rel Expected Goals-For% Expected Goals-For% Rel Goals For% PDO
43.61 -9.78 43.86 -12.72 33.33 0.98

We should start this with a pretty massive disclaimer that 15 games still feels like a pretty small sample size—20 or so is when we feel more comfortable beginning to draw some larger conclusions—so we are a bit hesitant to draw any big conclusions and give them a ton of weight just yet. However, if we’re just taking these stats for what they are, well, they’re not very good.

What the numbers tell us is that there wasn’t a whole lot of offense generated for the Flyers when Twarynski was on the ice. And if we’re talking about a fourth line, depending on their deployment, this might not be a bad thing. Fourth lines aren’t always designed to be strong dynamic offensive generators, so it isn’t fair to criticize them when they aren’t that. But where criticism does become fair is when they aren’t playing a particularly strong defensive game, either, and that’s what we saw from the Flyers when Twarynski was on the ice. Not only were they not generating much offense, they were also bleeding a good number of raw chances and high danger chances, and they were getting burned for it, as those chances were going in the back of the net.

And, as we noted, this is a small sample that we’re working with, so these numbers might not be damning just yet, but it’s a shaky foundation, and if we see Twarynski getting more reps at the NHL level and these numbers not improving, then that’s a cause for concern.

Three Burning Questions

Did this player live up to our expectations this season?

Depending on who you talked to, and when, expectations for Twarynski varied for this season. But speaking for myself, who expected him to spend the bulk of the season with the Phantoms continuing to develop, the answer is a pretty sound yes. In some ways, he exceeded expectations—he did make the NHL roster out of camp, but at the same time he didn’t quite run away with the expectations, as he struggled some in that NHL time. So what we got was a player who was close but not completely ready to make the jump to the NHL full time, who still needs to work out some pieces of his game in the AHL, and that’s just about what we got. We shouldn’t think of this as a knock on him, it’s just the reality of where he’s at in his development right now. There’s still some work to be done.

What do we expect from this player next season?

If we’re going into this assuming that there will be a (more or less) normal season happening in the AHL for the Phantoms, it seems likely that Twarynski spends the bulk of the season down with them. And part of this is as a result of the numbers game—Twarynski most easily projects in a fourth line role, and the Flyers already have an abundance of players who are going to be vying for similar positions at the bottom of the lineup, many of whom are either ahead of him on the depth chart, or offer a bit more in the way of polish and (potential for offensive contribution) at present—but also just due to the fact that, as we’ve seen, he still has some finer point to work out in his game, and some more time developing in the AHL would allow him to do that. Maybe he gets another look with the Flyers, I would bet that we see him with the team at some point in the season, even if it’s just a short stint, but it feels likely that the organization gives him some more time to develop with the Phantoms.

What would we like to see this player improve on?

The big thing—and it’s something I’d like to see more from him at the AHL level as well—is him needing to just continue to work on his game generally, adapting to being able to be a bit more consistent, and more effective in limited minutes (and potentially more limited in the NHL than in the AHL). We’ve seen it in flashes, that he can be engaged physically and do well in a checking role, but it hasn’t been totally consistent, and that’s something that’s going to need to come along for him. A smaller detail is that we’d like to see him shooting more and hopefully helping out his on-ice numbers a bit, generating a bit more offense for his line, and while it certainly feeds into it, it does come a bit secondary to the larger issue of consistency.