Yesterday afternoon, Ron Hextall made an executive decision that may have crushed many Flyers fans’ hopes for the 2018-19 NHL season. Flyers prospect Morgan Frost was sent back to his OHL team, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, after many fans predicted he would impress enough during the preseason to earn a full-time roster spot. Apparently, Ron Hextall remained unimpressed, deciding that another year of junior hockey would help Frost’s game mature. This move cuts out one of the contestants for the Flyers’ third line center position.
With Frost out of the picture, it looks like the winner of the race to 3C will be one of Jordan Weal, Scott Laughton, or Mikhail Vorobyev. Every Flyers fan knows about Jordan Weal and Scott Laughton as both were mainstays in the starting lineup in 2017-18. Yet, one of the most impressive, yet surprising, candidates for the position is Mikhail Vorobyev. Drafted in the fourth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Vorobyev didn’t look like a very exciting pick when he was chosen. In the year before the draft, he posted only 20 points in 39 games on his team in the Maritime Hockey League (MHL). These numbers weren’t very impressive offensively, which is why he remains unknown to a lot of fans. After a few more seasons in the MHL and KHL, Vorobyev joined the Phantoms in 2017 for his first year playing professional hockey in North America. Vorobyev posted 29 points in 58 games, resulting in a career year. Again, these numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, but roughly .50 points per game is a solid season for a first-year pro.
What goes unnoticed by many fans is Vorobyev’s vision, defensive skill, and work ethic. In the few preseason games he has played, Vorobyev has worked hard all over the ice, centering his line and standing out to people who may not have noticed him before. With two goals in three preseason games, Vorobyev has made a strong case to make the Flyers’ opening night roster. Additionally, Vorobyev is a big man, a trait that goes a long way when playing center. He is 6’2” and almost 200 pounds, which can help with defensive assignments, as well as proving that he is not easily pushed around. These characteristics show that, compared to other seasoned pros like Jordan Weal or Scott Laughton, Vorobyev may be the best fit for the third line center position.
Featured image by MojoSnaps
Noah is a lifelong Flyers fan who loves the sport of hockey almost as much as the orange and black. He is currently studying journalism and media studies at West Chester University.