Philadelphia Flyers: 4 players who’ve made “the leap” this year

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Flyers, Nicolas Aube-Kubel
(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Any team in the league could have had Nicolas Aube-Kubel earlier this season after the Flyers had to waive him for the purposes of sending him down to the AHL.

Boy, am I glad that nobody claimed him.

Aube-Kubel never figured to be an NHL regular, but here we are. This is a guy who got his first nine games of NHL action last season during the Dave Hakstol regime but was barely given a chance to show what he could do, as he averaged just 5:35 of ice time per game. It was a situation that wasn’t doing any favors for anyone.

Now, you’d be hard-pressed to name anyone who’s benefiting more from the Flyers hanging an “Under New Management” sign in the window last season. NAK had to bide his time in the minors once again to open this season, but he’s stuck in the lineup since coming aboard in mid-December. The scoring (12 points in 31 games this year) isn’t going to blow you away, but Aube-Kubel seems to be involved on a nightly basis with energy in the offensive end and a physical element to his game that belies his small stature.

Honorable Mention: Tyler Pitlick has had a fantastic season infusing the Flyers’ fourth line with the kind of energy it was sorely lacking last year. He’s earned a contract for next season, and the Flyers hopefully agree.