Flyers Demote Vorobyev, Call Up Aube-Kubel, Goulbourne in Wake of Knight Injury
I Misha you already.
A day after an embarassing loss on home-ice to the lowly Islanders, their 3rd in a row, the Flyers made some big shakeups to their roster. Center Mikhail Vorobyev was sent down to the Phantoms, while wingers Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Tyrell Goulbourne were called up to the big squad. Goulbourne returns to the NHL after a brief 9-game call up last year, while Aube-Kubel will be making his NHL debut.
The call up of Aube-Kubel is a good thing, however. Similarly to fellow Swede and Flyers 2nd rounder Robert Hagg, struggled in his 1st pro season 2 years ago. However Hagg had a major bounce back year, scoring 46 points last year while being one of the Phantoms best play drivers. Aube-Kubel had 7 points in his first 8 games this year before getting the call. He's a solid winger that can both score and play a physical game (sometimes too physical - he was suspended 3 times last year), which hopefully will keep him in Hakstol's good graces for, I don't know, a week and a half.
The straight demotion of Vorobyev for Aube-Kubel kinda makes sense. It was clear that Hakstol had soured on Vorobyev early - he had been healthy scratched 4 straight games before Saturday, where he didn't look particularly sharp. It was very possible that this could've turned into a situation like Travis Sanheim where Vorobyev could've wound up in the press box for weeks on end, which Hextall obviously didn't want happening, so he sent him down. Vorobyev's "stint" as it turned out seems like a failure now - personally, I thought he played solid (though admittely was much better in his first 2 games), but knowing Dave Hakstol, it's not surprising. The guy just straight up hates rookies and clearly didn't trust Vorobyev. It's the same "you don't trust him because he doesn't have experience but the only way you can change that is by actually giving him that experience" nonsense that has played out with almost every rookie in his tenure (Provy is probably the only exception). Another reason why he should be fired.
But the Goulbourne call up is what frusturates me the most. He is literally just a younger Zac Rinaldo (just not as dirty) - a zero-dimensoial enforcer whose only legitimate skill is his physicality. If this was the 90s, he'd be a fine 4th liner - in today's NHL, he doesn't belong.
But I have a theory. Goulbourne was called up last year January 3rd, with the Flyers having lost 4 of their last 5, most recently a 5-1 blowout at home to the Penguins. Goulbourne was called to bring energy and "grit" to the team. It kinda worked - he didn't play the next game because of travel issues, but the Flyers scored 6 goals and got into 3 fights. The Flyers scored 6 goals the next game too, the first of which was sparked by a massive hit by Goulbourne on Alex Pietrangelo during his 1st shift in the NHL.
It would also be the last one where he would make an impact. Goulbourne didn't do much of anything the next 8 games, seeing his minutes drop exponentially, and was eventually sent down. That's what the Flyers are going for again, and they clearly didn't like Vorobyev anymore, so why not hope lightning strikes twice? Because Goulbourne doesn't actually bring any positives to the lineup? No, you foolish outsider, you don't know anything.
So why was Aube-Kubel called up? Well, it probably has to do with the fact that Corban Knight was placed on IR today with an upper-body injured and the Flyers didn't feel comfortable going out west with only 12 forwards.
So what might the Flyers forward lines look like on Tuesday? My best guess:
Now just wait them to still find a way to bench Weal and make Jori 3C since he scored Saturday.