Flyers’ Tippett Progressing Well in 2022-23
Owen Tippett was the addition to the Philadelphia Flyers‘ bench from the big trade that moved long-time captain Claude Giroux to the Florida Panthers back in March of 2022.
Tippett was drafted tenth overall by the Panthers in 2017, where he remained until he was traded to the Flyers. The forward didn’t find much success in his first seven games with the Panthers in 2017-18, finding only one goal, and he was eventually sent back to the Mississauga Steelheads of the Ontario Hockey League.
The lack of production from Tippett didn’t show with the Steelheads. In 2017-18, he posted 75 points in 51 games (36 goals and 19 assists) and 33 points in 23 games (19 goals and 14 assists) in 2018-19 before getting traded to the Saginaw Spirit, where he would produce 41 points in 31 games (14 goals and 27 assists).
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The Flyers saw potential in Tippett, who stands at 6-foot-1 and can make long strokes across the ice with great speed, and judging by his OHL statistics, he’s not shy around the net. Nathaniel Tennesen, an author for Philly Sports Now, thinks similarly in an article, “If the Flyers were never confident in Tippett, then they wouldn’t have traded one of the best players in franchise history for the young power forward.” Although Tippett has moved up and down from the NHL and AHL for most of his career, being a first-round draft pick certainly means there’s something about him that will be beneficial on the offensive end of the game for the Flyers.
Tippett’s 2021-22 Season and Offseason
Last season, Tippett joined the Flyers entering the final stretch of regular season play. He played 21 games, producing four goals and three assists for a total of seven points, but the offseason did wonders for the 23-year-old. Tippett inked a two-year deal worth $3 million total with the Flyers, meaning the organization seemed to be putting a lot of emphasis on the young forward for this season, and he would become a priority in the means of a rebuild.
Tippett expressed to the media that he spent most of his time in and out of the gym during the offseason, training, and determined to improve. “Last year was kind of a roller-coaster. I want to find my game again and just improve — and do everything I can to help this team win. We want to build and get closer as a group and become a winning team again,” Tippett told Philly Hockey Now back in September. And sure enough, after ten games this season, he wasn’t messing around as the forward seems to be finding his place.
Tippett’s 2022-23 Season
Unfortunately, the start of a new hockey season wasn’t what Tippett expected. The forward got into a collision with New Jersey Devils forward Ondrej Palat in the first 20 minutes of the Flyers season-opener on Oct. 15; Tippett was placed on the injured reserve with an upper-body injury.
A little shake-up certainly wouldn’t keep the determined forward out for long. After missing only five games, Tippett would return to the lineup, coincidently, against his old Panthers teammates on Oct. 27.
Since he’s re-joined the team, there have been minor changes to Tippett’s game that have worked in his favour. Usually, the forward finds himself on the right wing of his centerman, but since his return, he’s been playing left-wing alongside the team’s top talents, Travis Konecny and Kevin Hayes, over the past five games. “You have your stick to the ice all the time, and I’m getting more comfortable there. Overall, I think it’s the same position (as right-wing). It’s just getting your stick on the opposite side,” he revealed to media reported by Philly Hockey Now last week.
In 10 games, Tippett’s idea of getting comfortable seems to be moving nicely. The line itself has produced plenty of beneficial opportunities for the team. As for the 23-year-old himself, he’s racked up six points in 10 games (three goals and three assists) and sees an average of just over 16 minutes of ice time.
Head coach John Tortorella reassured everyone that he has been finding confidence in Tippett’s play, in a post-game press conference after a 4-3 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 29, “I like where he’s going. I like where his play is… I think he’s confident. I just want him to think quicker, and then I think it’ll translate into quicker play.” It’s no doubt that the Tippett can find the net and produce the opportunities the Flyers need for their offensive game to be successful, but consistency and keeping up with the top-line guys will be something he will continue to work on.
Tippett also wasn’t shy about being honest with play when he spoke to the media post-game after a 4-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators, where the team faced their former captain, Claude Giroux. In the game previous to Ottawa, the Flyers had a disheartening 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, where during his 28 shifts, Tippett was on the ice for all five of the Blue Jackets’ goals. “I’m my own biggest critic. I know the mistakes I made and that I can’t make them again…I knew I had to be better, and I thought I held on much better and made smarter decisions.”
One thing that has been interesting this season for Tippett is his ability to get shots on goal. He has a powerful shot, which was one of the reasons he stuck out to the Flyers in the big blockbuster trade, but Tippett needs to find the back of the net just a tad more frequently. He currently has 27 shots on goal but hasn’t seen the same success in scoring as he did back in the OHL.
Although he has given himself the responsibility of being his most prominent critic, his progress since becoming a member of the orange and black squad has improved. In his first ten games last season, he only produced a total of three points, so indeed, he has improved from where he started with the team. It may be a slow progression, but Tippett seems to be making his way to finding his place and helping his team produce more opportunities offensively. It’ll be exciting to see how the now left-winger will continue to improve and how he will further progress throughout the season.
MacEwan Journalism student Covering the Philadelphia Flyers.