The Philadelphia Flyers have finished some offseason business early, reaching a contract with Nicolas Aube-Kubel before he hits restricted free agency. The new two-year deal will carry an average annual value of $1.075MM and run through the 2021-22 season.
Aube-Kubel, 24, made his presence felt in the NHL for the first time this season, scoring 15 points in 36 games with the Flyers. The 48th overall selection from 2014, he had played three full seasons in the minor leagues and had just nine NHL games and no NHL points to show for it before 2019-20 started. When he agreed to a one-year, two-way $700K contract last summer he seemed like he may be destined to be organizational filler instead of a real option for the Flyers lineup.
Now, after finding himself on the ice for 13 of the team’s 16 postseason games, it’s hard to imagine he won’t get a real shot at a full-time roster spot in 2020-21. With Nate Thompson, Derek Grant and Tyler Pitlick all scheduled for unrestricted free agency, there may be some more minutes to go around for players like Aube-Kubel.
With a $1.075MM contract, he becomes an inexpensive option that could technically still be completely buried in the minor leagues if the team needed. That cap number is precisely the amount that comes off the books when someone is stashed in the AHL, though Aube-Kubel would need to clear waivers in order to go to the minors in the first place. One other thing to worry about is Group VI UFA status after the deal expires, though he’ll need just 22 games over the length of the contract to avoid that designation.