No one is saying hard-nosed left winger Tye McGinn is going to blossom into a star, but...
I would have kept him on the Flyers' roster and demoted Michael Raffl.
The Flyers, who are in the NHL’s worst early-season offensive funk since 1964, sent McGinn, their leading goal scorer, to the minors Friday.
McGinn, demoted to the AHL Phantoms, had three goals in four games since his first recall from Adirondack. He was sent down Friday because Scott Hartnell is ready to face the host New York Islanders on Saturday night.
General manager Paul Holmgren, after conferring with his coaches, kept Raffl over McGinn.
“Obviously Tye’s played pretty well,” said Holmgren after the Flyers practiced in Voorhees on Friday. “…It was a decision to go with the guys that are here and keep Tye playing. It’s a tough decision because of how he’s played. Michael’s played well. It came down to more of a comfortable feeling with the coaches.”
Raffl, still getting adjusted to the North American game after playing in a lower-level Sweden league, has no points in four games.
Coach Craig Berube thinks Raffl, now playing left wing on the top line, has improved with each game.
“He’s got size and skill and can skate. He looks good to me out there,” Berube said. “I think he’s only gonna get better. It’s gonna be up to him to be a consistent player, night in and night out, to do all the little things right. Players like him, young guys, have to be consistent in all the little things.”
Berube thinks McGinn lacked consistency.
“It’s not like he played bad. He was competitive,” Berube said. “He scored three goals for us. He’s just got to learn to be a little bit more consistent _ especially when you’re trying to crack it all the time. He’s got to be hard on pucks and be a consistent player all the time.”
Hartnell has been impressed by McGinn.
“He came up last year and came in and played hard, played tough,” Hartnell said. “He did the same thing this year. He is an NHL player, I believe. It’s probably frustrating for him, I would think. But he’s going to be a good player in the NHL. He has to stick with it and he’ll get a break.”
Hartnell has missed the last four games with an undisclosed upper-body injury, and he said he will not have any limitations Saturday. In Friday’s practice, he was on a line with Brayden Schenn and Jake Voracek.
“I don’t think there’s any risk to make it any worse,” Hartnell said of his injury.
The Flyers (2-7) have become the first NHL team to fail to score more than two goals in any of their first nine games since the 1964 Boston Bruins. If they fail to score more than two goals Saturday, their season-starting streak will reach 10 games. That hasn’t been done in the NHL since the 1940-41 New York Americans, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The NHL record for starting a season without more than two goals: 17 games by the 1936-37 Chicago Blackhawks.
Hartnell thinks a weight may have been lifted off the team’s shoulders when the NHL war room disallowed a game-tying Rangers goal in Thursday’s final period, helping the Flyers escape with a 2-1 win.
“We probably got our biggest break of the season with that goal not counting,” he said. “We fight them off at the end. A big win for us. The dressing room after the game…felt like we made the playoffs or won a playoff round. It’s a lot different atmosphere around the rink when you are winning.”
To put a winning streak together, the Flyers need to get their power play untracked. The PP is 1 for 25 in the last seven games, and just 3 for 37 (8.1 percent) for the season, placing them 29th in the 30-team NHL.
Breakaways. Flyers defenseman Mark Streit, a former Islander, on returning to Nassau Coliseum: “Obviously it’s exciting to go back, but it’s all about the two points.” …. Max Talbot, who injured his nose when he went head-first into the boards Thursday, had a maintenance day but will play Saturday, Holmgren said.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.