VOORHEES, N.J. -- Once his skates hit the ice, Nicolas Aube-Kubel looks to score.
That’s been there from the beginning.
“Since I was young, I’ve always been an offensive player,” he said. “It comes natural to me to score goals.”
And it just so happens the Flyers need scoring more than anything. Ron Hextall confessed as much following his team’s first-round playoff exit to the Capitals in which the Flyers netted six goals (one an empty-netter) in six games.
“We need some goal scoring, playmaking,” the Flyers’ general manager said back in early May. “[That] would be our No. 1 need."
No, Aube-Kubel isn’t helping now, but he’ll get closer in 2016-17.
The Flyers’ 20-year-old prospect took the Skate Zone ice Thursday for Day 1 of development camp. After scoring in waves at the junior level, the winger is set to embark on his first professional season at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.
Last season with Val-d'Or, Aube-Kubel racked up 84 points in 61 games on 38 goals and 46 assists. He was a plus-38, eighth-best in the QMJHL, and went on separate point streaks of 15 and 10 games. The year prior, Aube-Kubel totaled 80 points in 61 contests.
Consider him well-groomed and excited for the AHL jump.
“Every year I come into camp in shape and I want to show everybody what I can do,” Aube-Kubel said. “This year especially, it’s going to my first year pro, so I want to be even more in shape.”
He got a taste of the Phantoms last season, playing six games after the Foreurs bowed out in the playoffs. He recorded two goals and an assist. More than anything, though, he got experience.
“The six games I played with the Phantoms at the end of the year helped me a lot,” he said. “I think I almost know what to expect for next year and it also helps me know what to do this summer.”
The Canadian, a 5-foot-11, 187-pounder, brings speed, edge and, of course, innate scoring ability. However, he understands points aren’t everything at the NHL rank.
“My coaches told me if I want to be a pro player, an NHL player, I need to be both sides, a 200-feet player,” Aube-Kubel said. “I think I improved a lot during my junior career but I still need to improve at the pro level.”
With that, Aube-Kubel didn’t have any predictions for as to when he’ll be wearing a Flyers jersey.
“I played only six games pro, so I’ll wait to do my timeline,” he said. “I had a good experience in those six games. Maybe after next year I can do a timeline.”
After all, Hextall is a master of patience, even with top prospects Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov.
“Assuming that we think it’s the right move at the time, we will make a roster spot for [a prospect],” Hextall said. “We have enough bodies, we have enough good players, we made the playoffs last year, so they have to come in and beat someone out. If a young kid makes us a better team, then we will keep them. But if not, we will go with what we have.”
Aube-Kubel is in no rush. But can he score with the Flyers in the future?
“Of course,” he said. “I can help.”