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Flyers send down leading goal-scorer and it kind of makes sense

Oct 25, 2013, 5:29 PM EDT


After ending their four-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over the injury-depleted Rangers at Wells Fargo Center last night, the Flyers, who have had their goal-scoring difficulties so far this season well-documented, loaned forward Tye McGinn, who leads the team with three goals, to their AHL affiliate in Glens Falls, NY.

So, wait. The Flyers, who are the not-so-proud owners of the second-fewest goals scored in the league with just 13 of them, are sending their leading goal-scorer to the minors?

Say what? You’re kidding, right?

Nope. And the move kind of makes some sense.

Scott Hartnell, who has missed the past few weeks with hockey’s ever-mysterious “upper-body injury,” has been cleared to return to the lineup and will do so tomorrow night when the Flyers travel to Long Island to square off with the Islanders.

Hartnell will fill a top-nine forward spot when he returns. At practice this morning, he reportedly skated alongside Jake Voracek and Brayden Schenn. With the Matt Read-Sean Couturier-Wayne Simmonds line actually scoring a goal last night, albeit by defenseman Braydon Coburn, it’s not expected that line will break apart.

That leaves the left-wing spot on Claude Giroux and Vinny Lecavalier’s line as the only top-nine forward position left and it looks like rookie Michael Raffl has beat out McGinn for the spot at least for now.

Raffl has shown an ability to create some plays since he’s been with the big club.

For one, he’s not afraid to shoot the puck. The 24-year-old Austrian has put nine shots on goal in the four games he’s played so far. That’s more than Giroux, Voracek and Couturier have each put up in those four games.

And shots on goal are something the Flyers desperately need. They average just 27.6 shots on goal, which is sixth-worst in the league. You can’t score if you don’t shoot. Just look at the Flyers’ failed three-on-one attempt in the third period last night where Giroux and Kimmo Timonen overpassed and didn’t even get a shot off, let alone on net.

Raffl is bringing some competitiveness and has shown the ability to use his skill to bring the puck into the zone. He’s just been a tad bit more consistent all-around than McGinn. It’s clear Flyers head coach Craig Berube likes Raffl in that spot too.

Sure, McGinn could have stayed here in Philadelphia with the big club, but it almost certainly would have been as a fourth-liner.

But a 23-year-old developing player like him needs as much time on the ice as he can get. He wouldn’t get that type of ice time here on the fourth line. It would have been a waste for both him and the team.

So, while it looks like a head-scratcher on paper to send the team’s leading goal-scorer to the minors as the team struggles mightily on offense, it makes some sense in the end. Hopefully that clears it up.

  1. BenE. - Oct 25, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    No. It makes no sense. Not now, not ever. There is no reason Raffl should be on this team. He is nothing special. Just another dime a dozen fringe Euro. I swear there’s one on our roster every year. He is this year’s Mika Pyorala. Fortunately, that means McGinn will be back soon. Raffl won’t make it to January.

    • Drew P - Mar 10, 2014 at 11:58 AM


  2. mike - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    I didn’t know it was possible to send one of the Mite on Ice to the Phantoms. Man, that Lukko is ruthless!

  3. kris - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    How can anybody pretend this makes sense? Tye McGinn is an even plus minus with 3 goals in 4 games with the same TOI as Raffl. Raffl has more shots, yet no goals and is a -1. What exactly is Raffl bringing to this team that cant score goals that is somehow more important than Tye McGinns 3 goals?? He isnt scoring. He isnt setting up goals. He isnt checking. This team makes no sense.

  4. wcbuckner - Oct 25, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    Yeah, this article is bunk. McGinn was born to be a Flyer – scores, hits, fights. And Raffle stays because… he shoots a lot??? Sounds like Greg Paone needs to be sent down to the minors of blogging.

    • MJS - Oct 26, 2013 at 9:22 AM

      Do the Flyers need more hits and fights (which Tye has done zero of this season) or shots on net? Given the (not so) recent anti-Snider stance, I’m not so sure “born to be a Flyer” is much of a positive.

      • BenE. - Oct 26, 2013 at 9:49 AM

        Well they certainly don’t need more useless fringe Euros like Pyorala, Ruzicka, Nodl, Raffl… The Flyers always waste a roster spot or two with these soft fringe players who don’t score, don’t hit, don’t do much of anything really. Raffl will get a couple goals during his brief stay with the Flyers, but they should be giving McGinn ice time for the long haul. It’s just my opinion, but if you want to talk about a formula that doesn’t work, it’s that the Flyers bring in useless scrubs who bring neither offense nor energy to the team.

      • sfsu - Oct 26, 2013 at 11:10 AM

        Fringe Euros? Hell no. Give us fringe people-with-names-who-sound-like-mine

      • BenE. - Oct 27, 2013 at 12:34 PM

        Sfsu, what in the world does that even mean? You’ve been huffing paint lately.

  5. Negativo - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    There is only one reason this doesn’t make sense and that’s because Hartnell is worse than both Raffl and McGinn…sorry for telling the truth. Maybe he should prove us wrong.

  6. mac - Oct 26, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    You must be joking. Check your logic and the Flyers’ logic. He’s their leading scorer AND yet you/the flyers say his only spot would be the 4th line and that’s the reason to send him down?

    Name one other team that would demote their leading scorer to the fourth line in the first place? Pretty sure any other team would take a developing your talent and give him more ice time at the NHL level. That would be the smart thing. Not give him more unnecessary ice time at the AHL level.

  7. MJS - Oct 26, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    Gonna get a lot of negative press for this, but has anyone actually watched the last 2 games? Tye has been non-existent and Raffl has been. He’s been actually not good (not that anyone in particular has been (outside of Reader), but he was actually bad). I’m a huge Tye Fighter fan too and it sucks, but this move makes total sense. A lot of box score fans don’t like this…I’ve even seen a -1 as one of the reasons. And did someone give a reason he should stay because he fights (and yes, I did love when he put that Ranger in a headlock after 2 of them jumped G at the end of the 2nd)? Tye was a sigh of relief last season, but outside of 2 games, he’s been nothing this year. Everyone is overreacting here…he has one more goal than Coburn. Let him develop with the Phantoms.

    • BenE. - Oct 26, 2013 at 9:41 AM

      McGinn should be developing in the NHL right now. He is ready to make the jump and learn at the top level. He has proven he has the ability. The only way he’ll become more consistent is by staying in the show, not by bouncing back and forth the the AHL, where he dominates.

      • MJS - Oct 26, 2013 at 11:16 AM

        Proven ability? McGinn’s numbers were similar to Max Talbot’s last season and I know how much you love him. Yes, he needs to be more consistent because he went from 3 goals to non-existent pretty quickly. In the last two games (when it matter most to both players because their roster spots were in jeopardy btw), Raffl clearly outplayed McGinn so Tye would either be in the press box or on the 4th line if he stayed up. FWIW Tye was also one of the first cuts at camp and Raffl was one of the last. Both Lavy and Chief have picked Raffl over McGinn.

        Also, (from your post above) Raffl has played in 4 games. Don’t put him on that list (at least not yet). You claim he doesn’t hit…Tye has 5 hits and he has 4…not much of a difference here and Raffl has been more noticeable with winning battles.

        I’m not claiming that Raffl will be better than McGinn in the long haul, but Raffl has outperformed Tye when it mattered most so he deserves the spot. I think you’re all about the player that McGinn can be (for the record, so am I), but he’s not there yet. Give him time.

      • wcbuckner - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:18 PM

        How is everyone overlooking the fact that McGinn has three goals? You’re ready to give Raffle time to “come alive” but you won’t allow McGinn to have a bad game?

      • BenE. - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:42 PM

        Sorry man, but you say “give [McGinn] time” yet you seem OK with burying McGinn in the minors. That doesn’t make much sense to me.

        So what that the coaching staff picked Raffl over McGinn? Their love is based on hype because they won the Raffl sweepstakes. How stupid would the Flyers look if they went through all that trouble to sign Raffl only to bury him a month into the season? At best, Raffl will be a poor man’s Ville Leino, but that’s a stretch.

        Comparing McGinn to Talbot is stupid. And sayung McGinn’s numbers are comparable to Talbot’s is a reflection on how bad Talbot is, not how good McGinn is not.

      • MJS - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        He’s not getting buried in the AHL (this won’t be his only stint in the NHL this season). He’s getting 20 minutes of ice time vs 10 at the NHL level. He’s the 10th forward on the Flyers right now and it’s no use keeping him up unless he’s a top-9 guy because he needs time on the ice. Raffl beat out McGinn when it mattered that’s the only reason this happened.

        Do you seriously think the Flyers are only keeping Raffl up because they “won the sweepstakes”? It was briefly hyped when we signed him in May and then pretty much not mentioned again. McGinn being one of the first cuts at camp has zero to do with “hype” for Raffl.

        You’re already claiming this guy’s ceiling after 4 games?

        Talbot is a 4th line player. I only brought him up to show that McGinn hasn’t necessarily taken the Flyers by storm from an offensive perspective. You know I love fighting in hockey, but it seems some people are more hyped about McGinn because he dropped the gloves a few times last season. Is McGinn better than a 4th liner player? No doubt in my mind, but he has yet to crack the top-9 on this team yet without an injury and it makes no sense burying him on the 4th line.

      • BenE. - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:47 PM

        The Flyers didn’t go out of their way to sign a guy out of the SEL who had never played in North America, only to dump him less than a month into the season. Obviously, they want to give Raffl time to learn the NA game and develop into a scorer, but they said the same thing about the guys I mentioned earlier (Nodl, Pyorala…). I don’t expect the Flyers to dump Raffl yet, but I’ve seen this scenario play out too many times with the Flyers to think Raffl is long for this lineup. Like I said, I give it til the end of the calendar year, and I think that’s being generous. He could be out of the lineup in two weeks.

        Obviously I’m pro-fighting as well, and I’ve never made it a secret that I’m a fan of players and teams who grind out goals, play a physical game, and stand up for themselves and their teammates when needed. I don’t like McGinn just because he fights, though. It’s clear he has the tools to play a complete game. We agree on that, clearly. I said last year that a line of McGinn – Schenn – Simmonds would be hell to play against. Talk about a hard-working line! Either that, or Lecavalier at center, now that we have him. We can drop Hartnell’s clumsy ass down to the 3rd line where it should be, and let players whom we need to develop have the honor of playing with Giroux or Lecavalier.

        I agree that it’s pointless to have McGinn on the 4th line. That’s why I think the Flyers need to make room for him on the 2nd or 3rd. My hope right now is the Raffl honeymoon ends soon, and McGinn is back up. We obviously both agree McGinn hasn’t seen the last of the show this season. We just have different opinions on how to get him back up here.

      • MJS - Oct 26, 2013 at 2:05 PM

        Raffl could end up not being very good and sent down just like you said. IMO he’s earned his roster spot to this point. He was clearly good enough to get called up with McGinn so we’ll see how he is moving forward.

        I really hope we resign McGinn after his contract ends. He’s an entertaining player and could become a solid 2nd/3rd line winger. I love that style of play too. I’ve said it for years, my fav non-Flyer is Milan Lucic (not comparing him to McGinn, he’s just THE man at that style)

      • BenE. - Oct 26, 2013 at 9:05 PM

        I’m a fan of Lucic as well. The league needs more players like him.

        We’ll agree to disagree about Raffl then. I’m not rooting for Raffl to fail — that wouldn’t make sense. But I’ll be very surprised if he amounts to anything worthwhile. If we didn’t have a handful of stupid contracts on this team, we could have seen a lot of hard-nosed young talent coming up this year and next. We have McGinn, Akeson, Lauridsen, Manning, and possibly Eddy waiting in the wings. I suppose that depth is a good problem to have. I have just grown a little impatient the last couple seasons. I don’t want to see the Flyers trade away or otherwise bury any more potential because they over-commit to other players.

  8. Mostel - Oct 26, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Well it looks like all of the arguing is taking away from the fact that Hartnell sucks, has been stealing money for 18 months, and has an albatross contract. What a bum.

  9. T800m101 - Oct 27, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    An absolute disgrace that McGinn was sent down and not that fucking pussy Raffl. If you think it was a good move, not only are you a know-nothing new-NHL fan, but you’re also a fake Flyers fan.


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