Better With Popcorn

McGinn Emerges as Flyers' Model Forward

Tye McGinn received an 18-game trial period with the Philadelphia Flyers last season.

He wasn't incredibly productive offensively, but he showed glimpses of being a consistent, big-bodied presence on the wing.

Just two games after being called up from Adirondack (AHL), he has scored three goals, including two in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to Vancouver. 

If that stat isn't already a shock, his three goals leads the team. McGinn has more goals than former 20+ goal scorers Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Matt Read, Jakub Voracek and Scott Hartnell, who all have none to their credit this season.

No doubt, it has been a struggle to score goals, and what has normally been a deep team at forward cannot seem to find the right combination.

Three of ten total goals scored by orange-and-black-clad hockey players this season have been scored by a player just called up on Saturday as an emergency recall due to injuries. Almost through 10% of the season, this team has relied on an unlikely source of offense.

McGinn's 2013 campaign was cut short when he fractured his orbital bone in a fight. In 18 games, he scored three goals and two assists, registered an even plus/minus rating and logged 19 penalty minutes.

McGinn was still a favorite to make the opening night roster for the Flyers but was sent to Adirondack where he started the season. Injuries to Scott Hartnell and Vincent Lecavalier changed that and McGinn was called up.

The 23-year-old winger spoke after Tuesday's loss, bringing attention to what to do to score.

"I'm just seeing shots from the far side," he said. "They are simple shots, but sometimes the goalies can't handle [the puck] and it pops right out into the slot, and that's where guys need to be."

McGinn's success has him sitting pretty on a first line with Giroux and Voracek, who accumulated two assists apiece. All three of McGinn's goals have ended with jumping on loose pucks and ramming them home—something new head coach Craig Berube has repeated during postgame press conferences.

"We don't have enough traffic at the net to get second and third opportunities," Berube said after Friday night's loss. "We need to get some greasy goals.

Cue McGinn's call-up just a few hours later. McGinn proved that net drive produces goals, and that he should be the poster boy for how a laundry list of beleaguered forwards should try and score this season.

Go to the net, good things will happen.

"Coach is telling me to drive the net and you have guys like [Giroux] and [Voracek] all saying drive the net, drive the net. That is what I'm trying to do and right now I'm [working for it]," McGinn said.

"That's how you score goals," Berube echoed. "So, we have to do more of that."

Berube has now publicly placed the title of "model forward" to Tye McGinn by saying "we" have to do more of that. 

It should not be news to many of these talented hockey players that net drive, slot presence and winning puck battles along the wall lead to goals, but McGinn has embodied that refresher course in goal scoring 101 for the Flyers.

Players also know that relying on McGinn for goal scoring will not earn wins for this hockey club. Other players will need to step up and score. Until then, McGinn will enjoy his time being a model forward for a team full of forwards who lost their capability to score.


Jordan Kuhns
Feature Writer

Twitter: @MSBN_Kuhns; @TCLFlyers