VANCOUVER, BC – OCTOBER 12: Philadelphia Flyers Left Wing Carsen Twarynski 81 waits for a face-off during their NHL, Eishockey Herren, USA game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on October 12, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver won 3-2.
Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire
NHL Rookies

COHEN: The Unlikely Rise of Carsen Twarynski

Hockey players develop at their own pace, and there’s no magic potion to get them to the NHL faster. Every team ascribes to its own philosophy to help the players along, but the player has to do their part.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Carsen Twarynski has been working exceptionally hard for the last two years, and now it’s starting to pay off in a big way for the player and team alike.

A third-round pick in 2016, the Calgary, Alberta native has good size, rocking a 6-foot-2, 198-pound frame, and moving it with speed. Twarynski didn’t produce point per game seasons in junior like a rockstar. In the 2017-18 season with the Kelowna Rockets, Twarynski crossed that threshold, adding 45 goals and 72 points to the cause through 68 games. Other than that? No dice.

After Twarynski capped off his one and only point per game regular season in the WHL with another point per performance in the playoffs; he went to the Flyers’ AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley Phantoms to make his professional debut. A few regular season games, and then a handful in the post-season for his trouble.

It was a year of growth, one that started with a strong rookie camp for Twarynski with the Flyers.

What changed in this prospect in a year? He got stronger, sure. That wasn’t all of it. He got faster, too; most players do. What had improved the most is his competitiveness. You can’t teach that. You can foster that, but the player has to have the hunger within, and Twarynski’s is dialled up to ten at all times.

In the pre-season, he got better and better. After those games, newly signed Flyers coach, Alain Vigneault, said, “Twarynski had a real solid game.”

The big forward really opened up some eyes in a game against the Metro Division rival New York Rangers. His North-South game was strong and on display.

“It’s big when I’m going fast is when I’m doing my best. As long as I am moving my feet and playing with guys that understand that and play the same way it’s going to work well. That’s what you guys saw tonight,” Twarynski told EP Rinkside.

Knowing who you are at the age of 21 is a benefit for a hockey player and he’s not ashamed to talk about that.

“Yeah I got to work, “Twarynski stated. “I am trying to earn a spot here and I am not a flashy player by any means, but I know the spot that I am battling for. That’s what I’ve done my whole life and what I’m going to keep on doing.”

He made the team and played five games for the Flyers. He was a plus player and had a goal in six games. The goal really shows off what he can now do with some space.

Responsible play is nice. He averaged just under ten minutes of ice time and the Flyers were looking for an offensive spark, so his NHL stint was over. Because the Flyers have a lot of solid prospects, most expect they will shuttle up more than a few this season. So, the chances of him returning are great.

[Read more: EP Rinkside Prospect Pool Rankings: No. 5 Ranked Philadelphia Flyers]

Now in his second season in Lehigh, he had ten goals and 24 points in a 69-game rookie campaign last year. He will start to play in Lehigh, and they are now expecting bigger things from him and there’s no reason to believe that won’t happen.

“His performance didn’t dictate him coming down. It was more how they wanted to reconfigure their lines and put “G” [Giroux] back at centre, and then get somebody in that fourth-line centre role versus a winger,” Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon said on Phantoms radio weekly. “It’s a tough break for Carson. I think he has the confidence of the coaches up there and he can keep doing the things he was doing well up there down here.”

“it’s been a bit of a roller coaster,“ Twarynski said on Phantoms radio weekly. “When I was up there it was obviously exciting. It’s everyone’s dream to play in the NHL but it’s nobody’s dream to play five or six games and call ‘er a day so it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster the past few days. But my mind’s better now than it was last year, I felt good about my game and there’s no issues with my gam… they just switched the lineup around so unfortunately for me I come down here but I’m going to get more minutes and work on my game more and develop even more. I’ll go back up and show what I can show.”

He will now play with a chip on his shoulder, but he will be doing it in all situations which exactly what you want your best prospects doing. His first impression on Vigneault was solid and that’s important for his future success. The hockey season is a long one and I’m sure he will fulfil his goal of getting back up there. Staying up there is the trick, but everything has to fall into place. Timing is everything in life but his quick rise in the organization is a plus for the Flyers and right now the Phantoms good fortune.

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EP Rinkside Prospect Pool Rankings: No. 5 Ranked Philadelphia Flyers
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Features NHL Rookies Philadelphia Flyers Lehigh Valley Phantoms Kelowna Rockets NHL AHL WHL Carsen Twarynski Ron Hextall Scott Gordon Alain Vigneault [staff] Cliff Fletcher [staff]
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