Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

For Flyers' Umberger, an emotional return to Columbus

Flyers winger R.J. Umberger will make an emotional return to Columbus on Tuesday.

The Flyers, coming off a 2-1 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings in Los Angeles on Saturday, will be trying to end the Blue Jackets' three-game winning streak.

Umberger had his best seasons with the Blue Jackets before being dealt last summer to the Flyers _ his first NHL team _ with a fourth-round draft pick for Scott Hartnell.

In six seasons with Columbus, Umberger scored 20 or more goals four times, and he finished with 18 goals last year. He is second on Columbus' all-time list in goals (120), third in points (250), third in game-winning goals (15), fourth in games (445), and fourth in assists (130).

The Pittsburgh native has struggled this season, registering just four points (two goals, two assists) and a minus-10 rating in 26 games. He did snap a career-worst 17-game point-less streak in Anaheim last Wednesday, and he contributed on the penalty kill in Saturday's upset over the Kings.

"I think Umby's game is getting better," coach Craig Berube said the other day. "…He's going to be fine."

Umberger, 32, played at Ohio State and plans to live in Ohio when his playing career ends. After the 2014-15 season, he has two more years left on his contract, with an annual cap hit of $4.6 million. His current cap hit is the second-highest among Flyers forwards.

Hartnell's contract expires two years later, in the summer 2019, with an annual cap hit of $4.75 million.

This season, the 32-year-old Hartnell has 16 points _ 12 more than Umberger _ and is minus-12.

Akeson shines. Jason Akeson, who had no points in 12 games with the Flyers this season, collected a pair of goals and two assists in Lehigh Valley's 5-3 AHL win in Bridgeport on Sunday. The Phantoms improved to 10-9-3.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.