Coming to any conclusion of any hockey related concept during this weird and sick and sadistic NHL season is not the best thing to do. As we wade through this horrible Philadelphia Flyers season, trying to crack a smile at anything, we welcome a new Wade.
Wade Allison made his long awaited debut on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. In his own way, he contributed to the 2-1 shootout win, but beyond that, he made casual observers aware of what sick ass tattoos he has.
Like, dude, is that the Monopoly Man next to a King Boo? This is all I care about now and I want to know the background on this.
Beside the sleeve unveiling, Allison played a solid game for a 23 year old that has only experienced professional hockey during COVID times — he scored nine points in eight games during with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms this season. Beyond the absurdity that is this entire year and the hypothetical hurdles a professional athlete would need to go over to start their career during all of this, Allison was able to let us get a quick peek into what kind of player he is in the 11:13 TOI he played.
“The description I’m getting from Chuck (Fletcher) is that he’s a power forward who goes to the tough areas. He’s physical and he’s got a good shot,” coach Alain Vigneault said before Allison made his debut.
Focusing on the “good shot” part of Vigneault’s second-hand description, while Allison was on the ice, there were a total of 16 shot attempts between both teams in all situations. Even if the shots were split down the middle for eight attempts each, five of the Flyers’ came off the stick of Allison. Despite it being his first glimpse of the NHL, he was confident enough to let five pucks loose towards Tristan Jarry in the tight game.
Not only did he get the quantity, but the quality as well. Per Evolving-Hockey’s expected goals model, Allison had the two-highest quality chances during his time on the ice, between both teams. Even Sidney Crosby’s second-period goal had a lower probability of becoming a goal than Allison’s two attempts during that same period.
It’s not often that someone making their NHL debut records the highest amount of ixG of the 40 skaters between both clubs, but the 23-year-old former second-round pick did exactly that.
It was no doubt that he fit in well on a line with Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom.
“They’re both pretty sweet players; they both make tremendous plays,” Allison said of his teammates. “They know what’s going on; they play the game right, so it was real easy for me to just slide in there and try to contribute.”
The youthful trio might just signal a new wave of Flyers forwards for the time being. Even if they have an aging veteran core of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, James van Reimsdyk and Kevin Hayes—the next wave that includes Joel Farabee and Travis Konecny in the mix as well—is more than enough to get excited about.
If hope for a bright future is all you can hold on to during this Flyers’ season, then Allison’s debut is certainly something you can build upon. It’s difficult to hold yourself back when someone makes this much of an impression in their first minutes of the NHL, but fuck it, just do whatever you want to do and think of his blaze-colored hair whispering his nameplate and he scores a lot of goals. He’s already done a lot of the hard work, so his first tally shouldn’t be too far behind.