Now that the dust has settled following the Claude Giroux trade, it is finally time to examine the potential that Owen Tippett holds for the Philadelphia Flyers. While Giroux was and forever will be a beloved member of the Flyers organization, the time to move on to younger players finally came. As controversial as that statement might be, the Flyers organization is loaded with young talent waiting for an opportunity to break out in the NHL.
Tippett is one of those young players that is ready to take on a bigger role with a new team. The trade to Philadelphia was one of the best things that could have happened for him at this point in his career. During his time with the Florida Panthers, he was a decent player, but that was not enough to keep up with the star-studded roster of the second-best team in the league. For that reason, he was sent down to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL) prior to being traded to gain more experience at the professional level.
Since joining the Flyers organization, fans have been skeptical of the young forward as he has not broken out of his shell, but that time is soon coming. The 6-foot-1, 207-pound power forward has more potential than fans are currently willing to realize. With time he will become one of the best players on the ice for the orange and black, especially when paired with the right players.
Tippett’s Career Before the Flyers
Tippett was drafted 10th overall by the Panthers in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the same draft the Flyers took Nolan Patrick second overall. During his time with the Panthers organizations, he played parts of three seasons in the NHL, totaling 94 games played and 33 points (14 goals and 19 assists). He also spent time in the AHL, where he tallied 60 career points (26 goals and 34 assists) in 63 games played. He always seemed like he was just on the edge of getting over the hump of being a productive player in their organization.
Being a productive player is something he became familiar with throughout his career. Prior to being drafted, he spent four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League, where he played a total of 213 games and produced 244 points (128 goals and 116 assists). He was believed to be one of the better natural goalscorers the 2017 Draft class had to offer.
He is no stranger to putting the puck in the back of the net, so the drop-off in goal production was a bit surprising to the Panthers organization. Prior to being sent down by the team, he went 15 games straight without recording a point (from ‘Owen Tippett, newest Flyers winger, has promise … and question marks,’ Philly Hockey Now, 3/20/2022).
“His whole career, his whole life, he’s been scoring,” Florida coach Andrew Brunette said last month. ”His shots are just not going in right now, and I think for him, it’s just about confidence. When you’re a scorer and you miss chances, you’re always going to get down.”
The Panthers hoped he would find his groove in the AHL and he did exactly that. He put up 18 points in 12 games with the Checkers, earning himself a player of the week during that span. It finally looked like he was getting things going, but everything changed in the blink of an eye. He was now going to be a member of the Flyers and had the chance at a whole new opportunity with a brand new team.
Joining the City of Brotherly Love
Tippett was built to be a Flyer. He is a big-bodied forward, with an aggressive edge, something this team has been missing for a few years. While he has only been with the team for eight games so far, he is just beginning to get comfortable and in the flow of things (from ‘Owen Tippett seizing chance for fresh start,’ Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/26/2022).
“It’s only been a few games, but I’m still, you know, getting comfortable and getting used to playing with all the guys,” Tippett said. “So, I think there’s definitely more to my game that I can bring. I want to be able to do whatever I can to help the team take the next step and help the team win.”
Joining a new team in the middle of a season is certainly not easy, but he has done a pretty good job of fitting in so far. He picked up his first point in his second game with the team as he assisted on Patrick Brown’s goal against the St. Louis Blues. That first point is always seemingly the hardest to get, especially at the NHL level.
“That’s a weight off your chest, for sure,” Tippett said. “Obviously, getting a point, kind of taking a deep breath after that, it went a long way.”
Since adding his first point as a member of the orange and black, he has put up more than 10 quality scoring chances, including six shots on goal against the Nashville Predators. He finally broke the streak as he scored his first of many as a Flyer on Sunday night against the New York Rangers in a 4-3 shootout win.
Tippett will look to build upon the success of the last few games as he continues to learn the Flyers’ systems as the 2021-22 NHL season comes to a close. With the team officially eliminated from the playoffs, the pressure to overperform relaxes a little bit and players are able to get into the groove of things before heading into next season. This team is truly on the brink of busting through the ceiling and being successful for years to come, and Owen Tippett is absolutely part of it.