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Prospect Profile: Nicolas Aube-Kubel


Aube-Kubel ready for larger role in second AHL season

Editor's Note: This prospect profile and most other prospect reports will be part of our premium content available to Inside AHL Hockey's subscribers beginning in September

Written by: Kyle Phillippi - Twitter

At the junior level, Nicolas Aube-Kubel scored at a 0.97 points per game clip. That was the result of 244 points in 251 games with Val-d’Or Foreurs. In his final season there, Aube-Kubel netted 84 points in 61 games.

That’s why there were pretty lofty expectations for how his skill set would translate to the next level. Unfortunately, the ensuing season – his first in the pro ranks with Lehigh Valley – saw him limp to an 18 point campaign (0.25 PPG). As a result, expectations have partially tempered on the 21-year-old.

Aube-Kubel, though, is ready to put that rookie season behind him.

“I have always been an offensive player,” Aube-Kubel said. “Last year was a little bit hard because I didn't have a lot of an offensive role, not on the special teams unit or anything. I'll just wait for my chance to come, and when it does, I'll be ready.”


“As a first- year pro, I wasn't expecting a lot,” Aube Kubel said during last month’s development camp, recalling his rookie season. “I just wanted to learn the most I could, and I think that's what I did. I played many roles on the team and am excited for next year.”

The roles he played last year weren’t his typical roles, however. Aube-Kubel didn’t see time on the power play, which was his bread-and-butter at the junior level. He’s yet to have a single power play point to his name at the professional level.

“The guys are better in the AHL,” Aube-Kubel said. “Sometimes in juniors, you have maybe 10 chances per game. At the pro level, it's probably two or three. The chances will be there. I just need to be an opportunist and probably next year I'm going to get more offensive.”

In a previous feature by Inside AHL Hockey's Tim Riday, Aube-Kubel’s status on the Phantoms was further discussed.

Head coach Scott Gordon explained how he wanted to ease the goal-scoring forward into the next level, not throw him into the fire. That’s why he saw time in the bottom six for the first half of the year before finally being bumped up to the second line where he eventually got into an offensive rhythm.

And to those who want to point out his low offensive output, it’s not as if he lost his shooting touch. His 73 shots on net was the fewest on the Phantoms among players who played 70 or more games; yet, he scored on 12% of his shots, which was the same percentage as the team’s leading goal scorer (Greg Carey) and two points behind Scott Laughton’s output (14%).

The former second round pick also believes he improved physically over the summer and continued to work on his skating in an effort to be able to take that next step.

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Going back to his first time exposure to being a two-way forward, Aube-Kubel said Gordon and he did a lot of work studying video and focusing on his defensive play. Because of that, Aube-Kubel said he “improved a lot” in that department.

If he can get back to scoring in bunches with an expanded role like he had at the junior level to go with his developing defensive game, Aube-Kubel will be far better suited for a future in the NHL. And that’s exactly the rationale behind Gordon and the Flyers organization really challenging him to be a two-way player in his first year.

Aube-Kubel’s finish to the season – when he began seeing time in the top six – is something he wants to build off of, and his climb up the lineup is why he’s eager for what he hopes is his first opportunity on the power play in 2017-18.

“I have always been an offensive player,” Aube-Kubel said. “Last year was a little bit hard because I didn't have a lot of an offensive role, not on the special teams unit or anything. I'll just wait for my chance to come, and when it does, I'll be ready.”