Right winger Nic Aube Kubel, arguably the Flyers' most physical forward, was rewarded with a two-year contract extension Thursday that will carry an annual $1.075 million cap hit.
Aube-Kubel, 24, a second-round draft pick (48th overall) in 2014, could have become a restricted free agent Oct. 9.
The Alberta native had a solid rookie season. Used mostly as a fourth-line right winger, he collected seven goals and 15 points in 36 games after he was recalled from the AHL’s Phantoms. He was eighth on the team in points per minute (.037), sandwiched between Scott Laughton (.038) and Kevin Hayes (.034)
Aube-Kubel led the Flyers with 82 hits over the last 36 games, and he also led them in that category in the postseason (52). He averaged 11 minutes, 17 seconds of ice time per game in the regular season.
“There’s a young man who figured out what it would take for him to be able to play at this level,” coach Alain Vigneault said last month. “I mean, he’s a strong kid, a powerful skater, and if he plays high-percentage, he can be a very effective player. He’s strong on his one-on-one battles and when he goes to the net, he goes hard and is tough to stop.
“He had the opportunity and he grabbed it,” Vigneault added.
The Flyers went 24-10-2 after Aube-Kubel was promoted from the Phantoms in mid-December.
He scored two goals to lead the Flyers to a 4-1 win over Tampa Bay in the round-robin tournament, clinching the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seeding.
“This is a dream come true since I was a little kid -- to play in the playoffs,” Aube-Kubel said after the victory sent the Flyers into Round 1 against Montreal.
With the signing, the Flyers now have 16 players under contract for 2020-21 and have $7.8 million of projected cap space, according to capfriendly.com. Robert Hagg, Phil Myers, and Nolan Patrick are prospective restricted free agents, and Tyler Pitlick, Nate Thompson, Derek Grant, Justin Braun, and Brian Elliott are potential UFAs.