Waiver Wire AHL’s Acquisitions and Recalls Respond to Yeo
Some of the best times in a hockey season are when a minor league player is successful at the major league level. There is something special about seeing the first assist or the first goal of a career in the NHL.
Recalled players from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms respond to Mike Yeo. The locker room regains its confidence after the change of coach. In addition, the Philadelphia Flyers improve their game in the second period. There is renewed energy.
Jackson Cates scored his first NHL goal. Before that, Max Willman got his first. Morgan Frost has continued to prove his worth at the NHL level. Kevin Connauton was an upgrade from Nick Seeler; both would be AHL players if Ryan Ellis were healthy. Even Felix Sandstrom looked great in a Flyers jersey, supporting Martin Jones against the Ottawa Senators.
One ghost who did not receive a callback in Philadelphia after the change of coach is Connor Bunnaman.
Simplifying the system has helped players make the transition to the NHL. Yeo and his team lead the way, using a higher volume attack. Ian Laperriere deserves credit for training a Lehigh Valley roster that perfectly matches the requirements of the Flyers.
Morgan Frost got his call while Alain Vigneault was the head coach. He has performed well for both Philadelphia Flyers head coaches this season. Unfortunately, his elimination against the New Jersey Devils meant he had entered COVID protocol. We’ve all seen enough Frost flashes to get excited, but running out of time in a contract season isn’t ideal.
Max Willman has three points in seven games for Yeo. Like Frost, he’s also lacking ice time in the COVID protocol.
Then there is another sender who answered the call …
Jackson Cates made his season debut against the Montreal Canadiens, scoring his first career goal in front of anyone. He did, however, score a point in the NHL in front of the crowd. Cates notched a road assist against the Devils on April 27, 2021. All of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ forwards recalled are finding ways to contribute with Yeo.
There was a rawness in Nick Seeler that won Philadelphia affection for a little while. As long as Alain Vigneault was the head coach this season, Seeler has been called upon to replace Rasmus Ristolainen or Ryan Ellis. Next, Chuck Fletcher claimed Kevin Connauton from the waiver thread.
The third pair is significantly more stable with Connauton than with Seeler.
That doesn’t mean one is having a better season than the other. Connauton is a better compliment for Keith Yandle, however.
Seeler was often at the back of the attacking zone, leaving his partner vulnerable in transition. Yandle, who was inefficient with the puck and wasted a win over the Ottawa Senators, needs a partner who stays at home in the defensive zone. Connauton is a better dressing until Ryan Ellis returns. Since joining the Flyers, they’ve been on a point streak, starting with victory to break the ten-game losing streak.
Two other cap-compatible upgrades that buzz with Yeo are Patrick Brown and Zack MacEwen. Brown and MacEwen were available on waivers, ready to become AHL players. It turned out that MacEwen brings the energy available to Nicolas Aube-Kubel. While Derick Brassard remains out of roster, Brown has performed better than Nate Thompson.
Laperrière pipeline in Yeo
At a fundamental level, the system needed adjustments. The simplification could be the adjustment. Darryl Williams encourages the power play to shoot more, and his units ensure the first multi-benefit scoring game since October 20, 2021. A shoot-first mentality seems contagious, and Ian Laperriere has delivered that message to Lehigh Valley forwards Phantoms who made the NHL transition.
The Philadelphia Flyers haven’t been on the safe side of a healthy lineup throughout the season. These contributions from rookies and role players demonstrate an organization that prioritizes scoring throughout programming. Most of them are products of the Flyers system.
Perhaps a defenseman will be recalled from the Phantoms in Philadelphia early next season. It would be a vote of confidence for Laperrière.
Currently, the players representing Laperriere from Lehigh Valley are good spokespersons.
(Photo credit: Alex McIntyre)