Breaking: Luukko was practicing with the Phantoms this morning and has apparently signed his Try-out contract. If his performance is up to par it’s highly likely another older Phantoms D-man will not be back with the club next year and Luukko would swoop in and take those minutes.. probably Lauridsen who is a complete garbage pile.

Nick Luukko has signed a try-out contract with Lehigh Valley (image via Nick's Twitter feed!)

Nick Luukko has signed a try-out contract with Lehigh Valley (image via Nick’s Twitter feed!)

“Ding! Ding! Here comes the shitmobile!” Sorry Peepsmobile.. same thing. That’s a quote from @maddoxrules about children’s drawings of firetrucks, but I think it’s quite good at explaining the Phantoms’ play lately as well.

Last week the Phantoms had a 3-game run in which is seemed they might have what it takes to make a late run at a playoff berth. Statistically it would have been very hard to get there, and after an 0-3 weekend it’s looking pretty grim. Lehigh Valley are sitting 10 points out with 13 games remaining. That means it’s possible for them to gain 26 points in the standings if they win out the season. Adding 26 points to their current total they would have 91 points. Only 2 teams made the playoffs last year with less than 91 points sooo it’s a pretty desperate situation. The Phantoms would need to win 11 or more of their last 13 in order to have a chance at grabbing a playoff spot.. they just aren’t that good..

Perhaps the only thing more disgusting than the Phantoms play this weekend was this Peeps Beetle. It combines 2 disgusting things, more bang for your disgusting buck (via

Perhaps the only thing more disgusting than the Phantoms play this weekend was this Peeps Beetle. It combines 2 disgusting things, more bang for your disgusting buck (via

Loss (4-3) March 20th @ Hartford

Phantoms fell behind early after 2 power play goals for the Wolfpack. Chris Mueller looked pretty great in this game as he notched a goal and 2 assists for Hartford. Lehigh Valley came out flat and paid for it losing the shot battle 16-7. After such a lopsided start it’s only natural Hartford would sit back a little bit as the final shot totals were just 32-29 against the Phantoms.

Too many penalties is the story once again as Hartford were afforded 5 PP attempts to LV’s 3. You simply can’t give up more power plays than you receive EVERY night and expect to come out with wins on the other end.

In an otherwise poorly played game new Phantom Cole Bardreau scored in his very first AHL game (assists Delisle/Laughton). It was a tip on a Lauridsen point shot that Laughton fed back to the point. Great start for the college senior as he got the first pro goal out of the way quickly but don’t expect him to be a big scorer as he’s a defensively minded checker. Another game note: Blair Jones returned to the line up! He’s been out for a whole pile of games and it was his injury (and Gostisbehere’s) that I think really sunk the Phantoms this season. Jones of course scored his 6th of the year later in the 3rd period, but it wasn’t quite enough as Lehigh Valley couldn’t come all the way back (assists Leier/Hextall).

Loss (6-1) March 21st @ Worcester 

Phantoms gave up 3 PPs in this one and had 2 of their own.. I suppose that’s better than usual. Shots ended up 30-29 but the Sharks didn’t even play the 3rd period. The score was 5-0 after the second stanza so they didn’t bother. They just sent their goalie Aaron Dell out by himself for the period. Hats off to Dell as he registered 5 shots on Stolarz and even scored! The refs credited it to McCarthy though so whatever.

Adam Comrie looked particularly terrible on a few goals in this game as he was a statue in the low slot. He wasn’t being hard enough on forwards and he was caught watching the play a couple of times. The Sharks’ goals were mostly quality chances from high-scoring areas directly in front of  Stolarz. Really challenging to stop pucks that are in Royal Road area more often than not.

The only Phantom goal in this one came from captain Manning who was mercifully returned by the Flyers (assists Stortini/Gordon). Not a sweet clue how GMs feel calling up a guy just to practice with the team is at all beneficial to the player. He played 1 game, took a minor which resulted in a PP goal and looked okay. Berube then sat him in favour of other guys who were nursing injuries. Dumb.

Loss (3-0) March 22nd vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 

Again 2 PPs for and gave up 3. Not the best total of 7 for and 11 against in terms of man advantages for the entire weekend. That’s been a familiar theme all season. Getting outshot has been another one, but they at least won that battle in this game 32-19. That however is largely due to a 3rd period where the Phantoms took 14 shots to WBS’s 3.. and 1 of those shots was Harrington potting an empty netter. So yeah.. the Pens played the same tactic as the Sharks the night before. Don’t even bother carrying the puck in just give it back to the Phantoms and hope they make a game of it somehow. Out of pity probably.

Akeson beat the crap out of Archibald which pretty much sums up how frustrated the team was this weekend (via

Akeson beat the crap out of Archibald which pretty much sums up how frustrated the team was this weekend (via

The Pens had a goal from Tom Kostopolous as he crawled out of a grave somewhere and beat Rob Zepp. No idea how that guy is still playing but power to him. Let’s see.. Jason Akeson fought! Not a great idea, but he did do quite the number on Archibald of the Pens. That was his first fight in 3 seasons. Cole Bardreau and Petr Straka both registered 4 shots each and weren’t on the ice for a goal against. So those 3 guys are probably your LV stars of the game. Rough night.

Flyers Prospects in the Professional Ranks

Cole Bardreau (Free Agent)

After joining the Phantoms on a Professional Try Out contract he made quick work of his first pro goal. It was a tip on a Lauridsen point shot and Bardreau at least showed he has some offensive instincts as he battled for position against a Hartford defender. It was a solid job of identifying the play was headed to the net, screening the goaltender and generally being a thorn in the side of an opposing defender in front. With his Entry contract kicking in next year he’s obviously going to be here at Lehigh Valley. Where he slots in.. tough to say yet.. he’s not going to be an elite offensive forward at the AHL so being a wing on the 2nd or 3rd line in a checking role would be a good fit. He’s skated with Laughton quite a bit so far, but Scott might not be in the AHL next year.

Scott Laughton (2012 – 1st Round)

Struggling to put points on the board with just 1 assist in his last 6 games.

Jason Akeson (Free Agent)

A rare off week for Akeson, 9 shots – no points

Nick Cousins (2011 – 3rd Round)

I attended the Flyers @ Flames game last week and Cousins was surprisingly getting minutes with Jake Voracek early. Berube shuffled the lines later on and put Giroux in his place, moving Cousins down to what I guess is a 3rd line, but that’s to be expected when a team is losing late. It’s a shame he joined the team when they’re playing awful hockey, but he’s looked great coming out as a positive in shots for/against, registering 2 shots of his own, winning 9 of his 13 face-offs. A very limited sample, but he’s putting himself on the map for 3rd/4th line duty next season.

Robert Hagg (2013 – 2nd Round)

Hagg received Adam Comrie as a partner for a game this weekend which I imagine would have been a nice change of pace from Jesper Pettersson aside from the fact that Comrie was an absolute waste this weekend. Terry Murray appears to put whichever defender is struggling the most with Rob which I guess means he’s confident in him?

Petr Straka (Free Agent) 

Had 8 shots this weekend and didn’t put anything on the board. Looked somewhat effective in the loss to WBS.

Taylor Leier (2013 – Round 4) 

Assist on the late Blair Jones goal on Friday night, otherwise looked okay with Laughton, but as a pair they’ve had a bad stretch of play.

Mark Alt (Free Agent)

Continued his partnership with Adam Comrie and the wheels fell right off. They looked great last weekend, but Comrie tanked back to his ECHL form. For the most part Alt appeared to be the stronger positionally of the twosome so it’s harder to fault him for their breakdowns.

Anthony Stolarz (2012 – 2nd Round)

Was absolutely sent to slaughter against the Sharks Saturday night. Pathetic effort by Lehigh Valley in that game and that type of game can’t be good for a kid trying to build confidence. Let’s hope Anthony can shake that off.

Oskar Lindblom (2014 – 5th Round)

Brynas were eliminated from the playoffs, but at least Lindblom looked good in limited minutes. We have a fresh projection of him and it looks like he could probably slot in as a 3rd liner at the NHL very soon.

Other Flyers Prospects in College or Junior

Danick Martel (Free Agent)

He’s been sitting for Blainville-Boisbriand lately as the Armada gear up for their playoff match-up against Gatineau. He’ll end the season with the same 102 points he had when the Flyers’ signed him. That’s a great total in just 64 games and his total numbers for his QMJHL career will be 177 points in 195 games. He’s very undersized, but he definitely has the offensive ability to play pro. At what level? We’ll need to see him at the AHL level before we can say, but Nick Cousins had an almost identical 20-year-old season offensively so that’s something to chew on.

Michael Parks (2010 – 5th Round)

North Dakota haven’t been their usual dominant selves lately losing to #18 St. Cloud and #5 Denver. They dropped to #3 in the rankings with said losses and are now off to the NCAA West Regional with a game against Quinnipiac to see who advances to the Championship. Parks again failed to put anything on the scoresheet, and he’s been having trouble scoring against the NCAA’s best teams. He’s had a great year, but UND need him to lead this team to the promised land. It all leads up to the Frozen Four as this team longs for April 9th in Boston.

Radel Fazleev (2014 – 6th Round)

4 points in the final couple games for Radel as he finished strong (51 points in 71 games). He was a solid complimentary scorer in a defensive role this season. He moved up and down the line-up and seems genuinely versatile enough to be a center on a checking line or a winger on a scoring line. May have been a steal of a pick by the Flyers.

Travis Sanheim (2014 – 1st Round)

65 points in 67 games total for Sanheim who was voted the defenseman of the year for the Hitmen this weekend. He’ll get some nods for WHL defender of the year too, but that may depend on how he leads this team into the playoffs against Kootenay. The 1st round match-up will be a great one as Calgary fans chant “Kootenay Sucks!” in games when they aren’t even playing Kootenay! It’s a playoff tradition.. that I don’t really understand.. but it’s great! The Hitmen won their division so they’ll hold home-ice advantage with games this Friday and Sunday at the Saddledome.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel (2014 – 2nd Round)

2 goals and 2 assists in his final 2 games of the season for the Foreurs. 38 goals and 80 points was way more than I expected from Nicolas which is awesome. A strong playoff in the Q would enhance his status in the pipeline even more. Val d’Or have home ice against Northern Quebec rival Rouyn-Noranda in their 1st round series which is sure to be heated.

Tyrell Goulbourne (2013 – 3rd Round)

The Rockets were just killers all season in the WHL, but they took a step back towards the end of the season to rest players. Goulbourne’s final line will be 22 goals and 23 assists and he only took 76 minutes in penalties this year in 62 games. He’s been a good soldier for Kelowna for years now and this will be his last push towards a WHL and potentially CHL championship. He’ll be a Phantom next year!

Sam Morin (2013 – 1st Round)

3 assists in the final 2 games for Morin and his Oceanic also have home ice in the 1st round. They’ll play a fairly weak Victoriaville team. Morin will be playing professionally next year and he’s definitely a candidate to be an Oliver Lauridsen replacement (his contract is up) and most likely – vast improvement. Rimouski are banking on Sam taking them deep into the playoffs.

Mark Friedman (2014 – 3rd Round)

Friedman, quite amazingly, wasn’t on the ice for any of the 7 goals scored in Bowling Green’s 5-2 loss to Michigan Tech. He did put 3 shots on net so it wasn’t like he didn’t make things happen for BGSU offensively. He’ll be back in the NCAA for another season or 2 at least as the Flyers kind of have a glut of defensive prospects coming through the pipeline.

Merrick Madsen (2013 – 6th Round)

Harvard advanced to the Midwest Regional against Nebraska-Omaha with 5-2 and 4-2 wins over Quinnipiac and Colgate. Madsen though continues to warm the bench as vet Michalek gets all the starts.

Nick Luukko (2010 – 6th Round)

The UVM Catamounts were closed out by a slightly favoured UMass Lowell 4-1 in a game at TD Garden in Boston. Luukko was on the ice for the first goal scored, but was not involved in the play. Registered 2 shots which is kind of a good offensive night for him. Might be a good candidate for a PTO with Lehigh Valley for a few games.

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