The Adirondack Phantoms have continued to earn middle-of-the-pack results as the 2012-13 AHL season continues. They won just two of the five games played during their recent road trip, including two 5-2 losses this past weekend.
The Phantoms have hit the back of the net 34 times in 14 games played. Eight of those goals belong to Brayden Schenn, accounting for just under 24% of the team’s total production.
In response to the lack of scoring, they have recalled forward Jason Akeson from the Trenton Titans (the Philadelphia Flyers’ ECHL affiliate).
Akeson is a player who, at one point last season, I had thought would be in high regard by the Flyers organization. He was signed in March 2011 as an undrafted free agent, having posted 24 goals and 108 points in the 2010-11 OHL season. In his rookie season with the Phantoms, he finished as the team’s top scoring forward, with 14 goals and 55 points in 76 games played.
Utilizing “NHL equivalencies,” a reasonable estimate for Akeson’s production at the NHL level would be 6 goals and 25 points- worthwhile production for a fourth liner.
He is also well liked by both his teammates and by some of the Flyers, including Claude Giroux (if twitter is any indication).
When the NHL playoffs came around, though, Akeson was not recalled as one of the Flyers’ black aces. Tyler Brown, a fellow rookie prospect signed as an undrafted free agent, was recalled instead, despite posting less than 1/3 of Akeson’s production.
In the summer, a review of the Flyers’ “top prospects” between Randy Miller of the Courier-Post and Flyers Director of Hockey Operations Chris Pryor did not include Akeson.
It has been suggested before that the organization was not thrilled with his lack of development as a well-rounded, two-way forward, and his demotion to the ECHL at the start of this season is in line with that thinking.
Akeson finished his stint with the Titans with 2 goals and 10 points in 14 games played. Having been recalled to the Phantoms, Akeson now has a second chance to prove the organization wrong about his value.
Per the official Adirondack Phantoms media release:
The Philadelphia Flyers have announced that forward Jason Akeson (ACK-uh-sun) has been reassigned to the Adirondack Phantoms from the Trenton Titans (ECHL) according to general manager Paul Holmgren. It was also announced that center Andrew Johnston and defenseman Matt Konan have both been assigned to Trenton.
“Akeson has been very successful in the point production side of the game,” said Phantoms head coach Terry Murray. “The goal scoring is down for us. The power play needs to be a little bit better. And I think Akeson is a player who can bring both.”
Murray also gave an indication of his plan for Akeson. “I’m going to leave him on the line with Couturier. Any time you can bring a player up who is a skilled player and an offensive minded player, it’s important to play him in your top two lines and give him lots of reasons to find success.”
The Phantoms’ media release also included information on Johnston and Konan, each an undrafted free agent signed by the Flyers this past summer. Konan has not played a game yet due to a sports hernia.
“We felt with Andrew that he was out of the lineup the past couple games,” Murray said. “With a young kid and first year of pro hockey it’s really important that we get him to a place where he can play as a very important player. He can play on the top line and play a lot of minutes in all situations and continue with development of his game.”
Matt Konan is a rookie who was with the Phantoms since the beginning of this season while rehabbing an injury. The Tustin, CA native played for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League last year and scored nine goals and 45 assists. The big blue-liner has yet to make his professional debut.
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