Lines can change from day to day, so let’s not get out the chisel and stone just yet for Nicolas Aube-Kubel’s promotion to the Flyers’ third line.
Maybe just a pencil and an eraser for now.
With that in mind, it should be noted head coach Alain Vigneault chose to put Aube-Kubel on the James van Riemsdyk-Derek Grant line for Friday’s practice at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
Vigneault said he’s going to be making a few changes for Saturday’s practice leading into Sunday’s round-robin opener against Boston.
That fact Aube-Kubel has even earned this consideration speaks to the hard work he has put forth in training camp.
It goes back to the second half of the season before the pandemic hit. Aube-Kubel had been called up back in the winter and played so well he never went back down as bigger names such as Joel Farabee and Morgan Frost did.
As for possibly playing with veterans such as JVR and Grant, Aube-Kubel couldn’t be more enthused. The three all add a physical element to the unit.
“I’m super excited to play with those two guys,’’ he said during a Zoom teleconference call from Toronto. “It’s easy to play with JVR.
“For me, I think I know where he is on the ice. He’s such a good passer and everytime the puck is around him, he can take it and make a play with it. And he’s so good around the net, he’s probably one of the best in the league there. I think it fits well with what I do.’’
Aube-Kubel said he’s pretty jacked up about playing in his first Stanley Cup playoff game.
“I’ve been doing this since I was a little kid,’’ he said. “I’ve loved playoffs since I grew up playing hockey. I’m so excited.’’
It’s been a long journey getting to this place for the 24-year-old native of Quebec.
He spent four years with the Phantoms before finally catching on this season.
“I’m going to try to do what I’ve been doing,’’ he said. “Play well defensively. Put my key on the small points and I’ll be good.’’
>Round robin games important for timing
Claude Giroux said the main objective in these round robin games is to get the Flyers’ game fine-tuned.
“It’s being able to find your game,’’ he said. “The highest seed we are, the better position we’re going to put ourselves in. But I think it’s mostly finding your game. Hopefully when the playoffs start, you have your game where you want it to be, as a team and personally.’’
>Flyers have depth for a change
One of the things the Flyers have going for them is depth. Other teams might send out their best checkers to try to stop Giroux, Sean Couturier and Jake Voracek, but that still leaves a dangerous second line of Kevin Hayes, Travis Konecny and Scott Laughton.
“I think every night we have one guy who steps up and gets the big goal,’’ Giroux said. “Or a great play defensively. I think we’re confident whoever is on the ice, the line-matching, all that stuff. . .we’re pretty comfortable with everyone in the lineup.
“When you feel like that, your confidence goes higher. You can concentrate on your own job and it makes it a lot easier.’’