With Scott Hartnell returning from an upper-body injury, the Flyers have made their second demotion of the week, sending winger Tye McGinn back down to Adirondack Friday to make room for Hartnell.
Outrage is the only word that can be used to describe the reaction to the news that McGinn would be sent back down to the Phantoms. After all, he is the team’s leading goal scorer with 3 goals in only 4 games.
What many people don’t understand, however, is that McGinn isn’t a fit on this team anymore with Hartnell returning. He isn’t a 4th-liner, he doesn’t play great defense to earn a spot on Craig Berube’s 3rd line, and he doesn’t deserve a spot in the top 6 over Lecavalier, Giroux, Hartnell, Simmonds, Voracek, or Read.
In addition, his production has been misleading, as Flyers writer Anthony SanFilippo points out. He compiled zero shots in his last two games against Pittsburgh and New York, and like I said, he’s not much of a two-way player. While fellow AHLer Michael Raffl seems like a more optimal candidate to send down, with zero points in the same time period, Raffl has actually outplayed McGinn. He’s a faster skater, he plays better defense, and he creates more chances for his teammates. That’s why he was on Claude Giroux’s line against the Rangers.
Finally, McGinn is one of the few players who can be sent down without being waived. Besides Raffl, Couturier, and Schenn, none of the other forwards have two-way contracts. And there is no way the Flyers would demote Coots or Brayden. McGinn is a victim of limited options.
None of this is a knock on McGinn. He is an excellent young hockey player, and he has developed much faster than the Flyers front office could have hoped for. Yes, he skates hard to the net, and yes, he has finished chances much better than his teammates this season. In fact, if someone goes down, I fully expect to see him back on the roster this season making plays.
Holmgren made the right decision, however; the Flyers need Raffl more than McGinn right now.