AV has a plan for how to get NAK back to his best

In the 2019-20 season, Nic Aube-Kubel took the Flyers by storm and has since become a bottom-six staple. His 2020 season was disappointing, but his road to redemption may be through the special-teams units.

After being a regular on the team in 2019, NAK scored 15 points in 36 games and then enjoyed a solid bubble performance. His production dropped dramatically in 2021 as he became more dependent on his physical attributes, which often saw him in the penalty box. He ended the year with 12 goals in 50 games and 44 penalty minutes. Although his aggressiveness helped the Flyers offense to find its identity and sparked intense play from his teammates it cost him unnecessary penalties.

The good news is that Alain Vigneault has a plan for how to get NAK back to his best in 2021-22:

I would like to have that in my repertoire [special teams]. Great skater. He is a hard worker on the puck. He arrived at camp in a remarkable state of health. He’s one of our best conditioned athletes, so there’s no doubt that he took this summer very seriously for himself and for his career. In Kubes’ case, I think he’s in that bottom six forwards. If you can find a couple of extra minutes by either playing the power play or killing, they’re huge for your ice distribution. Staying fresh and making sure that everybody’s got a roll. If we could do that with Kube, it’s something that I would definitely be happy about.

– Alain Vigneault

It’s nice to hear that all of NAK’s hard work paid off. He started working out at a gym in Montreal during the offseason with well-known names like Marco Scandella, Anthony Beauvillier, and Marco Scandella. Aube Kubel comes into training camp with a fresh mindset and embraces the idea that he can play a part in the PK unit.

Yeah, it’s a role I really want to have this year. I had a few hints last year, but nothing extraordinary. I want to be able to play that role this year, and improve every day.

– Nic Aube-Kubel

As the 25-year-old mentioned, he didn’t really play much of a role on special teams last year. His TOI for shorthanded play was 2.6 minutes. This is down from 6.5 in 2019-20. He played in 32 minutes worth of PP action, earning 3 points. He was only in 8 games a year later.

NAK is now in the final year on a 2-year contract and must show that he can limit the penalties and find a way that will rekindle the fire that blazed in the 2019-20 campaign. This will ensure that he remains a top-six forward. It will be a great help to have a role on special team. This will also lead to a higher level of discipline. Any mistake would be magnified.

All signs point to Nic Aube Kubel receiving more exposure on the PK Unit. Here’s to hoping we see a revival in form as a result.

Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre

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