From the Philadelphia Flyers’ perspective, sturdy right winger Owen Tippett was the centerpiece in the deal that sent franchise icon Claude Giroux to Florida on March 19.
In six games with the Flyers, the 6-foot-1, 207-pound Tippett has played much better than his stat line: no goals, one assist, and a minus-2 rating.
He has won his share of board battles, fired 15 shots on goal, and put three other shots off iron.
“I’m very pleased so far, to be honest with you,” said interim coach Mike Yeo, whose team hosts Auston Matthews and high-scoring Toronto on Saturday night. “That was a tough road trip, and going against good teams, heavy teams. He didn’t look overwhelmed in any of the situations we threw him in.”
The Flyers went 1-4 on the road trip, which took them to Detroit, St. Louis (their lone win), Colorado, Nashville, and Minnesota.
The Flyers were 1 for 13 on the power play on the trip, but Yeo liked how Tippett performed on it.
“I think he’s adding a lot on the power play,” Yeo said. “Finding a way to create and generate offense and scoring opportunities. It’s a shame he hasn’t been rewarded and it hasn’t gone in for him yet, but I always believe when a player is generating opportunities and scoring chances, it’s just a matter of time. I feel he’d adding momentum and scoring opportunities for our group.”
Tippett, 23, was drafted in the first round (10th overall) by Florida in 2017. He had 14 goals in 94 career games with Florida, including six goals in 42 games this season.
In other words, he is still searching to find the “finish” he displayed during his sensational OHL days: 33 goals in 54 games in 2018-19, and 36 goals in 51 games in 2017-18. He also had 19 goals in 46 AHL games in 2019-20.
And, so, yes, the scoring potential is there.
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) April 1, 2022
“Sometimes when the puck isn’t going in, especially for a shooter, they can try to be too precise. They can hang onto the puck and look for the perfect shot as opposed to a quick shot,” Yeo said, adding he hasn’t seen those tendencies from Tippett. “That’s why some of those guys seem to score in bunches because when they’re not thinking about it as much and try to get the puck off the stick as quick as possible,” that’s when it goes in.
Added Yeo: “I’d say he’s had a little bit of bad luck and bad bounces at certain times. Certainly to score at the NHL level on a real consistent level, you can’t be just a shooter. You have to be able to get around the net. You have to be able to score on those tips, those rebounds, those dirty goals.”
Yeo would like Tippett’s line, which included Morgan Frost and James van Riemsdyk in practice Thursday and Friday, to be more active around the net. Goals from that line will be needed Saturday because the Flyers face the NHL’s third-highest scoring team, the Maple Leafs.
With veteran Nate Thompson back in the lineup, it appears Hayden Hodgson will be a healthy scratch Saturday. … Toronto is averaging 3.73 goals per game; the Flyers are next-to-last in the NHL, averaging 2.57 goals per game. … Yeo said he not made a decision yet on whether Keith Yandle will sit Saturday. He has played in an NHL record 989 straight games. … Scott Laughton has been cleared to play, but the Flyers will be cautious with his return from a concussion. He has missed the last 10 games. … The Flyers sent Felix Sandstrom and Max Willman down to the Phantoms.