After the Philadelphia Flyers‘ AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, wrapped up their season last Sunday with a win over the Albany Devils, the team sent four of their players to the Flyers for the last week of their regular NHL season.
That means that the Flyers are anticipating the return of both Scott Laughton and Tye McGinn. Both players did well for the Flyers, but Laughton was sent down so his contract did not get eaten away. McGinn has been back and forth between the Flyers and the Phantoms all season, mostly due to Peter Laviolette shuffling his lines to try and find success.
The other two players that the Flyers called up from the Phantoms are Matt Konan and Jason Akeson. Konan was called up earlier with Brandon Manning but did not get any ice time so he was sent back down. On Thursday night he will finally make his debut as a Flyer.
So who is this Akeson kid and why should Flyers fans be interested in him? To be honest, the Flyers made a mistake by not calling up Akeson sooner. He is among the top prospects that I think the Flyers really need to watch out for. He was playing with the Flyers’ ECHL affiliate, the Trenton Titans, at the start of the season, but he flourished as soon as he was called up to the Phantoms. As the season progressed, he quickly became the team’s leading goal scorer.
In his 62 games with the Phantoms this season, he came out on top by leading the team with 53 points. He had 20 goals, but also proved to be a team player by assisting his teammates 33 times. With his 152 shots on goal, he has also shown that he is determined to go to the net, even if his shooting percentage is only 13.2%.
So his stats are good and I think he’s got a lot of determination to make it in the NHL as a solid forward. The other key thing that makes him a target for the Flyers is his penalty minutes. The Flyers called up Manning, who although he is a great defenseman, logged 135 PIMs with the Phantoms. Next to Manning, Akeson looks like an angel. He is minus six this season and has only logged 27 PIMs. His career PIMs with the team in the past two seasons only adds up to 53 minutes. This is not a recent development either. When he played in the OHL with the Kitchener Rangers he was given the award for the ‘most gentlemanly player’.
Akeson plays smart hockey which is exactly why it’s astounding that the Flyers didn’t call him up until the very last week of the season. I still think he’s a player to watch, and I’m excited to see if he gets any ice time in the last two Flyers games.