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Flyers 2020-21 Player Grades - The bottom six

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It’s time to talk depth.

NHL: MAY 04 Penguins at Flyers Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the 2020-2021 season in the immediate past for the Orange & Black, it’s time to continue our player grades series and review the performance of the components of this roster. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the forwards that saw most of their action in the bottom six; for the articles concerning the defense and goaltending, click the links here and here respectively.

Scott Laughton

Scott Laughton’s 2020-2021 season is a bit difficult to evaluate thanks to the decided split in his performance surrounding one specific event: the COVID outbreak the team suffered right around the Lake Tahoe game. Before going on the COVID list and suffering through some legitimate symptoms and long-term impact (as detailed in his exit interviews), Laughton was on a solid scoring pace of nine points in 13 games, including a hat-trick against the Islanders. After going 20 days between playing an NHL game, Laughton went on to post just 11 points in the remaining 40 games of his season. It’s pretty evident that he was hampered by his duel with COVID and the ensuing problems with gaining weight that occurred.

Laughton played reasonably well and earned himself a contract extension; he’s consistently been a quality forward who can play up the lineup when in a pinch, and his 5-on-5 results over his recent career have been those of a borderline top six winger. By no means do I think he had a perfect year, and I don’t love the term on his new contract, but he was the best out of the bottom six guys and one of the better forwards on the team. I’m giving him a solid B.

Poll

How would you grade Scott Laughton’s season?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    A
    (48 votes)
  • 54%
    B
    (373 votes)
  • 33%
    C
    (228 votes)
  • 4%
    D
    (29 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (6 votes)
684 votes total Vote Now

Oskar Lindblom

I’m not going to be too hard on Lindblom for obvious reasons, but it was clear this wasn’t the season he wanted. It’s all too evident that COVID made getting back in the swing of things additionally difficult, what with the insanity of the schedule, and Lindblom showed flashes of his breakout stretch from 2019-2020 prior to his absence while battling cancer. He’s tied for the strongest grade in this article, even if his production and on-ice impact didn’t measure up. Full marks for a triumphant return in an awful year; Lindblom gets a well deserved B.

Poll

How would you grade Oskar Lindblom’s season?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    A
    (64 votes)
  • 27%
    B
    (191 votes)
  • 42%
    C
    (295 votes)
  • 18%
    D
    (128 votes)
  • 2%
    F
    (19 votes)
697 votes total Vote Now

Nolan Patrick

I’m slightly inclined to give Nolan Patrick some slack for the year he had, given his extensive absence due to a migraine condition and his return coming at the least optimal time. Still, there’s only so much leeway that should be offered when a player outwardly appears to give zero fucks. There have been rumblings since Patrick came into the league that he possessed a mentality along the lines of “I’ve always been good, so I’ll be good up here.” For much of the year, it appeared that he was totally disengaged from the play, with defensive breakdowns aplenty occurring because he didn’t put much effort into backchecking. I can recall numerous occasions where his puck support or forechecking was nonexistent.

In plain terms, Patrick was invisible or worse for much of the year. It’s been three years since his NHL debut, and little improvement upon his rookie year has manifested. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him moved in the offseason for pennies on the dollar as part of a package. Patrick has all the talent to be a great second line center and possibly even a low-end first line player, but if he doesn’t shift his mentality and approach to developing his considerable talent, none of that will matter. The young center gets a D- from me, only avoiding an F because he did have to return to the game in a rough situation.

Poll

How would you grade Nolan Patrick’s season?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    B
    (8 votes)
  • 9%
    C
    (74 votes)
  • 39%
    D
    (301 votes)
  • 49%
    F
    (371 votes)
755 votes total Vote Now

Nicolas Aube-Kubel

I’ll keep this short and angry, as it ought to be. Last year, Nicolas Aube-Kubel showed the promise of what many in the Flyers community thought he could be at his best: a middle-six forward providing manic forechecking and a bit of physicality to compliment average or slightly plus offensive ability. There was every reason to believe that he would sustain that sort of play, as his results were backed up by underlying numbers.

This season, Aube-Kubel was abysmal, posting the worst xGF% at 5-on-5 among all of the regular forwards the team skated (more than 500 TOI). The forechecking tenacity and success that propelled his game abandoned him, supplanted with boneheaded penalties that forced the team’s mutilated penalty kill out on the ice in critical situations. There’s very little positive that can be said about NAK’s showing this year, especially when considering that this is more in line with his concerns in the AHL (taking stupid penalties has been a consistent trait for him). For all of the above, he gets an F.

Poll

How would you grade Nicolas Aube-Kubel’s season?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (3 votes)
  • 3%
    B
    (23 votes)
  • 16%
    C
    (115 votes)
  • 39%
    D
    (275 votes)
  • 40%
    F
    (286 votes)
702 votes total Vote Now

Michael Raffl

Not much to say here. Raffl wasn’t anything special in his time here in Philly, and his final season was among the worst of his career by underlying results. Arguably the biggest positive moment of Raffl’s season was when he inexplicably commanded a 5th round pick at the deadline. He’s such an average player (which isn’t a bad thing!) that I’m hard pressed to give him anything besides an average grade. He gets a C.

Poll

How would you grade Michael Raffl’s season?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (11 votes)
  • 16%
    B
    (104 votes)
  • 50%
    C
    (323 votes)
  • 25%
    D
    (167 votes)
  • 6%
    F
    (41 votes)
646 votes total Vote Now

Andy Andreoff

Andy Andreoff was a typical “veteran depth player who can fill in if everyone is hurt” guy, and he performed about as well as expected. Posting the second worst xGF% at 5-on-5 isn’t exactly ideal. For a forgettable player, you use a forgettable grade. Andreoff gets a D.

Poll

How would you grade Andy Andreoff’s season?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    B
    (2 votes)
  • 10%
    C
    (60 votes)
  • 43%
    D
    (246 votes)
  • 45%
    F
    (255 votes)
565 votes total Vote Now

Connor Bunnaman

The grade you feel Bunnaman is worthy of is entirely dependent on what kind of player you thought he was entering this year. Personally, Bunnaman’s game always appeared to be around AHL-tweener caliber, and nothing more. While he posted solid results in relief duty during the 2019-2020 season, Bunnaman cratered and had awful an awful xGF% and CF% at even strength, a showing more in line with a borderline NHL player. It wasn’t a positive year for Bunnaman, but it’s difficult to knock him too hard when the expectations for him were already quite low. Bunnaman receives a C for his work.

Poll

How would you grade Connor Bunnaman’s season?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (2 votes)
  • 2%
    B
    (12 votes)
  • 32%
    C
    (183 votes)
  • 46%
    D
    (262 votes)
  • 18%
    F
    (106 votes)
565 votes total Vote Now

Carsen Twarynski

Carsen Twarynski seems like a nice guy, but man did he play 60 minutes or so of unwatchable hockey in the NHL this year. Twarynski was seen optimistically as a possible internal answer to the team’s lack of toughness and size in the bottom six, but all he proved in 2020-2021 is that he’s not ready for the big leagues from a processing standpoint. The decision making was brutal, particularly when it came to the big winger chasing for hits and ending up out of position. Twarynski appears destined to be an extra forward at best unless he can add another dimension to his game. Even with low expectations, he gets a D.

Poll

How would you grade Carsen Twarynski’s season?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    B
    (10 votes)
  • 16%
    C
    (91 votes)
  • 53%
    D
    (286 votes)
  • 27%
    F
    (149 votes)
538 votes total Vote Now

All stats in this article via Evolving-Hockey.com