Three More AHLers Thrown into the Lion's Den, The Best Test

Created 5 years 182 days ago
by Michael DeNicola

Tags: Adirondack Phantoms Jason Akeson Matt Konan Philadelphia Flyers Scott Laughton Tye McGinn
Views: 1772

by Michael DeNicola

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 --

Now that the Flyers have been officially eliminated from Playoff contention, the eyes of our management can focus on a few prospects of ours from the farm league. Yesterday it was announced that the Flyers recalled RW Jason Akeson, LW Tye McGinn, C Scott Laughton and D Matt Konan from the Adirondack Phantoms. 

At first, the orange and black fanbase went ballistic wondering why Laughton was brought up. If the kid plays even one more NHL shift, his entire first year will be burned off his entry-level contract. And for who? For what? THREE GAMES!?!?

No need to fret, my brethren. The 18-year old centerman will more than likely remain with the Big Club to practice among his NHL caliber superiors. It's highly unlikely that our management's brass would be shortsighted enough to waste a season off of our 2013 1st Round Draft Choice. 

As for the remaining subjects, they should absolutely see the ice tonight against Beantown. 

We've seen enough from Tye McGinn through this short season to know that he brings energy and presence around the net. He's also not one to shy from sharing a few thrown fists with an opposing middle-weight. 

Tye rejoins the Flyers for their last three contests of the schedule, and may even get some first-line minutes alongside Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. It has happened before.

McGinn's played 46-games with Adirondack this season, potting 14-pucks and totaling 26-points. With the Flyers, Tye has skated in 18-games, netting 3-goals and totaling 5-points. Other than Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell, Tye McGinn has one of the Flyers highest Penalties Drawn/60-minutes ratio, scoring a 1.5 -- a pretty significant stat when you factor his modest 11:02 average ice-time. 

Still, the 22-year old forward never earned a permanent spot on this team's lineup, but with injuries opening so many holes and no Playoff pressure, this gives McGinn another chance to show us what he's got. 

Phantoms blue liner Matt Konan is a 6'3", 190lbs California native with a left-handed shot. In his 45-games with Adirondack, Konan has scored 2-goals and 6-points. His plus-minus rating is a miserable -10, but we're all aware how overrated that statistic is in the first place. 

Konan is a 21-year old "Overager", signed by Philadelphia in the spring of 2012 along with Nick Cousins. Never chosen in the NHL's Entry Draft, Matt Konan skated in five seasons for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League before splitting time between our ECHL and AHL ranks in 2012-13 as a Flyers affiliated prospect. 

Comparing himself to Chris Pronger (pretty ballsy statement), Matt tells us that he's physical when he needs to be, but more reliant on staying calm in the defensive end and making a solid outlet pass. [BSH]

Although he's never heard his name called into the mic at any NHL Draft (2008 - 2011), the Philadelphia Flyers have gone on record saying that they believe Matthew Konan is one of those signees who will one day make it to the top level. 

And lastly, Jason Akeson, a 22-year old right wing, also never drafted, joins his NHL Club for the first time in his hockey career. Standing at a towering 5'10", Akeson's been criticized for being too small to make it in the NHL, but don't go telling that to Martin St. Louis, Brian Gionta, Michael Cammalleri, Nathan Gerbe or Brad Marchand -- all successfully talented NHL forwards under 5-foot 10-inches in height. 

Akeson was signed by the Flyers in 2011 to a 3-year ELC, worth $2,145,000. Due to expire after the 2013-14 league year, the Flyers deemed it appropriate to give the Orleans, Ontario native a look through this three-game stint, and rightfully so; through 14-games with the Trenton Titans earlier this season, Jason posted 10-points before getting called up to the Adirondack Phantoms where he played 62-games, netting 20-goals and 53-points. 

Jason led the Phantoms in both goals-scored and total points for the second consecutive season in a row. He has a promising right-handed shot, labeled a sniper, and positions himself well in the offensive zone. His vision and passing ability has been defined as "elite" by his former Kitchener Rangers GM/Head Coach Steve Spott. 

While Gabriel Landeskog, a former Kitchener Ranger, was teammates with Akeson, he told the media, "He's got a special gift. He can see the ice like not a lot of players can. He's got that extra patience with the puck. Everything is moving fast but, I think, in his head, it looks like it's in slow motion. He gives himself that extra time so he can make those plays."

Jason was one of the more promising OHL players; his final season ended up being a banner year for him. He finished with 24 goals and 84 assists in 67 games. His 24 goals tied a career high. His 84 assists was a career high. He also broke the Rangers record for most assists in a season with his 84th assist. His 108 points were also a career high. He also tied for the OHL lead in scoring. As a result of his banner year, he also became the first player in OHL history to win four major regular season awards. [Flyers Faithful]

At every level, Akeson continually gets better and better than he did the prior year. He is a player that can be molded and built on, developed and inserted assuredly into a club's lineup.

If there's one reason to watch these final three Flyers games, it's Jason Akeson. 

There is no better time than now to give these three prospects a look. Like I mentioned before, there's only three more games remaining on the Flyers schedule before they officially close the books on one of the more depressing seasons in Club history. But born from its ashes are the opportunities for few. 

Through these next three contests, the Flyers battle against Playoff caliber teams with more to prove and gain before their regular season ends; Boston, New York Islanders and Ottawa. 

The Bruins are currently tied in points with their division rival, the Montreal Canadiens. Beantown will be skating into Philadelphia tonight at full steam, gunning for those 2-points so they can closeout as Northeast Division Champs. 

The Islanders are only separated from the 7th and 8th seeds by a single point, and have yet to clinch a Playoff spot for their first post-season appearance since 2006-07.

Ottawa is slipping in the standings, barely holding on to the 8th and final seed. Both the Rangers (7th seed, tied with Ottawa in points) and Winnipeg (9th seed, 1-point behind Ottawa) are threatening the Senators' Playoff chances.

The quality of competition is there for the Flyers in these remaining tilts. Unlike any preseason match, Tye McGinn, Matthew Konan and Jason Akeson will be facing the full wrath of the NHL. Their chance to turn a few heads has never been greater than it is now. It's an exciting breed of desperation, and I am hoping it schleps the best performance from every inch of their hockey potential. 

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