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2019-20 Philadelphia Flyers prospect review: Carsen Twarynski

A bit of an up and down season (no this is not a pun).

Heather Barry / SB Nation

We’re back with our last round of season reviews, and we’re kicking it off with the somewhat curious case of Carsen Twarynski. After a strong training camp, he made the Flyers to start the season, and when he lost a bit of steam with them, was sent back to the Phantoms to find and refine his game. The season ended up being a weird one, with two more recalls to the Flyers, some injury troubles, and the reemergence of some growing pains. Not quite a sophomore slump, but not quite the settling in at this level that we might have expected, either. We’ve got a lot to parse through here, folks.

By the numbers

Basic Stats

Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM SOG SH%
Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM SOG SH%
31 7 5 12 12 55 12.7

As we’ve sort of alluded to, we’ve got something of a mixed bag here with Twarynski’s season stats. He played in a somewhat limited role with the Phantoms this season, and we don’t expect a massive offensive production from that role, so a 12 points in 31 games total is respectable (and a pace a bit increased over 2019-20’s). But while the total ends up looking okay, it is worth noting that consistency remained something of an issue. For Twarynski’s seven goals on the season, he had two separate two goal games, one goal coming two games after the second two-goal game, and then another weekend where he scored in back to back games, and that was it. So we also had some long stretches where Twarynski was goalless, and he proved to be a bit streaky, and that doesn’t look quite as solid.

5v5 On-Ice Stats

Corsi For Corsi Against Corsi For% Corsi For% Relative Scoring Chances For% Goals For Goals Against Goals For%
Corsi For Corsi Against Corsi For% Corsi For% Relative Scoring Chances For% Goals For Goals Against Goals For%
297 272 52.2 5.6 51.15 14 12 53.85

But moving into these shot impacts, this is probably the biggest area of improvement from his first to second season. His shot impacts were, truthfully, pretty poor in his rookie season, both in general and relative to his teammates, but he was able to turn them to a real plus this season, and came out positive relative to his teammates in CF%, SCF%, and HDCF%, which was nice to see.

And as far as individual shooting rates go, he’s sort of hanging out in the middle—neither a low event player nor a volume shooter, he’s coasting along averaging just under 2.5 individual shot attempts per game. And that’s a fine enough figure, especially considering that he is playing mostly in the bottom-six, but it’s also fair to feel like we want to see a bit more from him, particularly keeping in mind that he was lauded as being a strong offensive player and generally A Shooter when he was coming out of Juniors. So we’d like to see that showing up just a bit more in his pro game.

5v5 Neutral Zone Stats

Entry Attempts Entries Controlled Entry% Possession Entry% Exit Attempts Exits Controlled Exit%
Entry Attempts Entries Controlled Entry% Possession Entry% Exit Attempts Exits Controlled Exit%
85 72 34.72 51.39 50 39 66.67

It was a step forward with the shot impacts, but we’ve got something of a lateral step in these transition numbers. They weren’t particularly strong in his rookie season, and we haven’t really seen much improvement since then. In his 15 games tracked, his 34.72 Controlled Entry% is the lowest among regular forwards, and his 51.39 Possession Entry% second lowest, and those numbers are, frankly, pretty ugly. And this is also troublesome when you consider that he’s averaging a good number of entries per game (just a hair under five). We like volume generators of entries when they’re often making them with control, because that puts the team at an automatic advantage, but when you’re generating a lot of entries but not often doing it with control, that’s creating a lot more work for yourself and your linemates. If Twarynski can just be a bit more consistent in carrying pucks into the offensive zone, that’s going to be a real difference maker, but this is definitely an area to improve.

Three burning questions

1. Did Twarynski live up to our expectations this season?

Not quite, I don’t think. And we’re willing to be a bit extra forgiving of that, because this season was a weird one for him for a number of reasons—outside of the Phantoms’ overall struggles, Twarynski also missed time with injury and spent some time with the Flyers, so that makes it a little harder to establish a rhythm. That we absolutely understand. But we were hoping to see him take a marked step forward in developing his game and figuring out his role at the AHL level, of figuring out how to be more consistently effective in a limited role, and that isn’t quite what we got. We did get some improvement, as he brought up his shot impact numbers, but we still didn’t come away from this season feeling like he took that next, more complete step forward. He certainly didn’t have a poor season, that would be a step too far, but we did still want to see a bit more.

2. What do we expect from Twarynski next season?

Hopefully he’s given a more consistent run with the Phantoms. It was pretty clear from his time with the Flyers that there are still some pieces of his game that he needs to work on, understandably, but that’s really only something that he’s going to be able to work out through consistent reps in the AHL. Hopefully we don’t see the same fourth line carousel with the Flyers next season, and Twarynski’s given a chance to set settled and to work on finding his niche and improving his game before he’s asked to translate that game to the next level.

3. What would we like to see Twarynski to improve on?

This feels somewhat imprecise, and we’ve sort of already alluded to this, but the big thing that needs to come along is just that he still needs to figure out his game at this level. A lot of players are able to carve out roles for themselves in Juniors as scorers, but that doesn’t often translate to the AHL level, and often those players are asked to play fewer minutes and in different situations, and to adjust their game. And that adjustment isn’t always an easy one, but it’s been asked of Twarynski and it seems like he’s still trying to figure it out. We’ve seen some flashes—strong forechecking, some energy, slowly moving towards being a stronger possession driver—but those pieces haven’t yet come together into a meaningful whole, and that means that while we have seen flashes, we also have stretches where Twarynski very much flies under the radar (and in a not so positive way). Now, we don’t want to seem too doom and gloom here, and it’s worth noting that he does still have the potential to find his new game and work it all out, but with how quickly we’ve seen positions within the depth chart shift under the new regime, it’s something he’s going to have to figure out sooner rather than later, if he wants to get back to the NHL.