Flyers right winger Owen Tippett has always been a player whose appeal lies in his collection of natural abilities. He’s got good size (6-foot-1, 207 pounds) but also is an above-average skater. Although it has not yet manifested itself in consistent NHL production in nearly the same way it did at lower levels, Tippett also possesses a heavy shot and the ability to fire off the puck quickly.
The first month of Tippett’s 2022-23 regular season was interrupted by a suspected concussion that he sustained late in the first period on opening night against the New Jersey Devils. After missing the rest of the opener and the next four games, Tippett returned for the Oct. 27 game against Florida.
Since his return, Tippett has notched a pair of goals (both on the power play), one assist at 5-on-5, and 10 shots on goal in four games. It’s gratifying to see the points coming for him because the Flyers desperately need scoring sources and also because he’s lacked little for scoring chances in his still-young NHL career but the payoffs have been rather sporadic.
Game by game so far, one can see the 23-year-old winger’s confidence growing. Along with Noah Cates and the already established Joel Farabee, Tippett is one of the few players in the Flyers’ age 25-or-younger segment of the roster in whom head coach John Tortorella has gained a measure of trust.
Apart from his three points over the last four games, two other aspects of Tippett’s game have been making an impact on the lineup:
Offensive zone entries:Tippett also showed this ability last year, especially on the power play. Flyers assistant coach Rocky Thompson has taken notice of this skill, and it is notable that more entries have been worked of late with Tippett as the player tabbed to bring the puck in over the attacking blueline. At 5-on-5, Tippett has been part of a trio with Cates and Scott Laughton. Late last season, a line of Tippett with Cates and Morgan Frost showed promise over the season’s final 12 games.
Greatly improved defensive play: Even when the Flyers acquired Tippett from Florida last season, he arrived with the reputation of being someone who was average to below-average on the defensive side of the puck. However, with the Flyers, Tippett almost immediately showed that concerns over his off-puck play were overblown. He was not a liability. So far this season, Tippett has bumped up his two-way play another notch to where he’s already made three or four really good plays in backchecking situations. Two have helped foil potential shorthanded scoring chances for opponents.