PHILADELPHIA – Adam Ginning waited all his life for this particular moment and it didn’t matter his NHL debut came in the 81st game of another lost Flyers season.
Ginning, a Swedish defenseman selected by the Flyers in the second round (50th overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, was called up from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Tuesday morning and was scheduled to play alongside Justin Braun in the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
When he got the call from Phantoms coach Ian Laperriere, Ginning admitted he was a bit nervous.
The Phantoms gave him a couple days to get ready so there was enough time for his parents to fly over from Sweden for the big event.
“I called my dad and it was the middle of the night,” Ginning recalled before the game. “I told him I was going to play Tuesday and they were looking at flights.
“They were happy for me and I was happy for them. It’s a lot of fun. Of course, when I got over here, that (playing in the NHL) was my main goal. This is something I’m very happy, very excited about.”
The 6-foot-3, 196-pound Ginning has enjoyed an outstanding season for the Phantoms. His plus-25 leads all Phantoms players and is 16 better than the second-best defenseman.
In Allentown, he’s been paired with another highly regarded NHL prospect, Ronnie Attard. The tandem is used in all situations, including penalty kill, power play and the last minutes of close games.
“I think we play great together,” the 23-year-old Ginning said. “He’s a little bit more offensive. He can jump up and I try to stay back.
“I feel like I’ve been playing more consistently, playing well for a lot of games in a row. The smaller rink has been the biggest adjustment but I enjoy it.”
Coach John Tortorella saw Ginning in training camp, didn’t have too much recollection of Ginning but has heard a lot of good things about him.
“He plays a physical game, he’s not afraid to get in the way,” Tortorella said prior to the game. “They (the Phantoms coaching staff) just likes how he plays. I’m anxious to see him play because for a couple months we’ve gotten good reports.”
>DeAngelo in limbo
Defenseman Tony DeAngelo remains in limbo after being scratched for a fourth straight game.
Tortorella said he’s had communication with DeAngelo but would not disclose the nature of those talks.
The Flyers close out their season on Thursday night in Chicago and it’s not known if DeAngelo will be forced to sit once again.
“I’ve talked to him,” Tortorella said. “He knows where he stands.”
Tortorella placed assistant coach Rocky Thompson behind the bench for Tuesday night’s and the plan is to have assistant coach Darryl Williams run the show in the game against the Blackhawks.
“We’ve given Darryl some more responsibility this year, he’s impressed me with how he’s gone about his business,” Tortorella said. “He’s very detailed, very organized. I think he has some really good thoughts about how you are supposed to play the game. I’ve been really impressed with him.”
Owen Tippett won the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy for most improved player and Tortorella seemed to agree with that voting,
“I think he’s very coachable,” the coach said. “I think he’s just understanding what kind of player he can be. . .this is a breakout year for him. He’s just beginning to find out who he is and what he can do.”