There’s a lot of pun potential here, folks.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) December 7, 2018
Varone, 28, currently leads the Phantoms in scoring with 28 points in 22 games, and ranks second across the entire AHL. The reigning Les Cunningham Award winner has been the Phantoms’ most consistent player this season, as he’s yet to have been kept off the score sheet in consecutive games.
Just a few days ago Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon talked about the possibility of Varone receiving a recall to Philadelphia, and sure enough it’s come to fruition.
..and at training camp this yr & how he’s performed. He opened some eyes in training camp. His play so far, (this) season, has been exceptional. Whether with the Flyers or another team down the road an opportunity to play in the NHL is a lot more possible now than ever has been"
— Bob Rotruck (@BobRotruck) December 5, 2018
When you talk about an “all-situations” player, Varone fits the bill. The second-year Phantom plays on — and really, runs — the team’s top power play unit, has been one of the team’s best penalty killers of late, and has been their number one center at even strength over the past two seasons. At 5-on-5 Varone is one of just four Phantoms to possess a Corsi for percent greater than 50, and has a scoring chances for percent of 52.26. He also leads the Phantoms in penalty differential, drawing eight and taking just three.
Should he get into a game for the Flyers, one has to wonder if he’ll be taking Oskar Lindblom’s spot in the lineup. The rookie forward’s ice time has seen a steep decrease over the last couple of weeks, dipping to as little as 4:38 in Thursday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. A bottom-six role with time on the second power play unit certainly feels like a good fit for Varone, and that’s the exact role Lindblom has been in of late.
It wouldn’t be Varone’s first time stepping on NHL ice either, with 50 games coming as a member of both the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators. He scored five goals and assisted of five others in his previous NHL stints.