Photo by Frank Fimmano
With the rash of injuries, the Flyers turned to young rookies to fill roster spots instead of veterans. Shayne Gostisbehere has been impressive, Taylor Leier was not. Sending Taylor Leier down was the right thing for the Flyers to do. Replacing him with Nick Cousins was also a very wise choice.
In terms of basic possession, Leier was bad in his first six NHL games. Leier had very favorable Offensive Zone starts, and still turned in a Vinny Lecavalier Level performance. Given that level of performance, it’s no surprise Leier found his way back to the AHL.
Not only was Leier bad offensively, but he actively pulled linemates Sam Gagner and Scott Laughton down offensively. When he was on the ice with them, the Flyers were repeatedly pinned in the Defensive Zone. And, defensively, he didn’t make up for it either, as his shot suppression ability seemed non existent.
This doesn’t mean Leier’s NHL Career is over, all it means is he needs some work with the Phantoms in order to be fully ready.
On the flip side, recalling Nick Cousins will most certainly be a major improvement.
In 13 NHL Games, Cousins was basically a break-even possession player. While his raw Corsi Percentage was slightly below 50%, his positive relative-possession indicates that his linemates are more than likely to blame rather than Cousins himself.
In his two games so far this season, Cousins has been impressive.
Via Hockey Reference
Small Sample Size and massive PDO warning, but Nick Cousins was for two games, the Flyers best forward. Obviously, it’s highly unlikely that he really is a 66.7% possession player. More likely, his 13 game career sample is far closer to his true talent level. That would put Cousins as a comparable to Brayden Schenn. Cousins can score quite well, he was over a point per game in the AHL and had solid Junior scoring numbers.
In the end, sending Taylor Leier down was the right move, bringing up Nick Cousins was also the right move and if all goes well, Leier will play himself back into a future NHL option.