Vigneault: It’s hard to evaluate young talent in meaningless games

Wade Allison

Looking ahead to next season, the one thing the Flyers probably could use is competition for jobs.

In other words, if youngsters such as Wade Allison, Cam York, Carsen Twarynski, Morgan Frost, Connor Bunnaman, Tanner Laczynski and Jackson Cates can make a push in September’s training camp and when real games start, it might change the outlook on a few established players.

Several of these have shown flashes of promise over the past few weeks.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. At least, that’s what coach Alain Vigneault indicated in a pre-game media Zoom call prior to Friday night’s Flyers-Capitals game at Capital One Arena in Washington.

Vigneault revealed he doesn’t put a lot of stock in performances in these recent games now that the Flyers have been eliminated from playoff consideration.

So even though Allison has looked comfortable scoring a pair of goals in his first 11 games and fitted in nicely on a line with Oskar Lindblom and Scott Laughton, not too much should be read into it.

“It (11 games) is a small sample size,’’ Vigneault said. “It’s a good experience for him. I will say though on a personal level, I don’t put a lot of stock if a player in these games has a real good showing or a bad showing.

“Our games for a while have been meaningless – they don’t mean very much. So I’ve always felt you don’t put a lot of stock in these games. It’s good to see your guys are pros and trying to do the right thing. But if a guy played extremely well under these conditions, I would wait for a bigger sample size for an assessment of his play.’’

Allison said he was nervous for his NHL debut but feels more at ease now.

“Each day you get a little more comfortable,’’ he said. “You can’t think too far ahead, just take it one day at a time.’’

The Western Michigan University product has made it through a bunch of injuries, including surgical operations on his knee and ankle.

His advice to young players who have struggled with health issues?

“Keep pushing,’’ he said. “It’s a long journey. Not everybody makes it at 18. Some people take a lot longer. Enjoy the process. There are a lot of down moments but that’s just part of the journey. Keep a level head and enjoy every moment, the good and the bad.’’

>Farabee could win goal title

Going into the final three games of the season, Joel Farabee led the Flyers in goals with 17.

If he finishes with the team lead, he would be the second-youngest player in team history to earn that distinction.

Vigneault likes what he’s seen of the 21-year-old player.

“He started last season and he wasn’t here,’’ Vigneault said. “Went to the minors, came back up, progressed and became an effective player. This year his progression has continued.’’

On top of his goal-scoring talents, Farabee has dropped the gloves a couple times, something which can endear a player to his teammates.

“I don’t think he’s reached his limit,’’ Vigneault said. “Joel has good hockey sense. That’s what you need to have. There’s no doubt his hockey IQ is very good.’’

>Defense pairings

York was scheduled to play with veteran Justin Braun against the Capitals. For the other two defense tandems, Vigneault had Ivan Provorov with Travis Konecny and Samuel Morin with Phil Myers.

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About Wayne Fish 2418 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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