The Philadelphia Flyers can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Their 13-game losing streak is over.
Mike Yeo’s squad earned a first victory since December 29th on Saturday, defeating the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in overtime thanks to Scott Laughton’s winner. One of the bright spots in the victory was Issac Ratcliffe, who made his NHL debut for the Flyers.
Ratcliffe, 22, finally got his opportunity with the Orange and Black after spending the last two seasons with the AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The Canada native didn’t disappoint, registering three shots on goal and adding four hits in what turned out to be a thrilling finish from the Wells Fargo Center.
Although he didn’t add a goal on his debut, Ratcliffe did provide a glimpse of what he offered in the OHL and AHL over the past few seasons.
“Yeah, he did,” Yeo said about Ratclife providing a spark on his debut. “I thought that was a really good first showing for Ratter there. What you’re hoping that a young kid would come in and show you, is some of the things that he can bring. Especially with a big body like that, look at his physicality, he put that on display for us tonight.”
“He’s a guy that we don’t want him to be just a run-around type player, you have to play the game and I thought that he was involved in one really good grade-A scoring chance, another scoring chance, so I thought that he fought the game well. I was happy with what we saw from him in his first game.”
Ratcliffe didn’t back down in his debut, throwing his body around against the Kings players, and also providing some good looks offensively. For a team that is desperately needing more depth scoring, Ratcliffe could be a positive figure on the ice going forward as the Flyers try to move up the Metropolitan Division standings over the next month.
Ratcliffe was a the former No. 35 overall pick by the Flyers in the 2017 NHL Draft, showing the faith the team had in him to pick him in the second round. After notching 91 combined goals in his last two seasons in the OHL, Ratcliffe has been more of a physical player in the AHL, a role that could suit him well in the NHL.
Still, the Flyers will happily welcome his goals to the squad, especially with plenty of proven scorers underperforming this season.
“It was pretty exciting,” Ratcliffe said. “Like you said, I’ve been looking forward to this day since I was three years old. To come in on an afternoon day, obviously is a different morning than usual. Coming to the rink early and getting settled in and acting like a pro. It was super exciting. All the guys embraced me too, they really made it feel like it was my day out there to start. I just went out there and tried to bring energy.
“I know it’s been a struggle here a little bit in the past, I just want to come in and bring some energy to that fourth line. I know Max [Willman] has been a staple there too and he’s obviously a pretty physical guy. He’s always bringing that energy too, so if he can have someone coming alongside him to do that, that’s what I wanted to do today.”
The Flyers host the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday before heading into the All-Star Break.