2013 Year in Review: Mike Knuble

Image courtesy of Philly.com

If there is any question as to whether or not Mike Knuble had a productive season with the Philadelphia Flyers, one just has to take into consideration where the forward was after the Orange and Black were blanked by the New Jersey Devils on January 22.

With just three goals in their first three games, the Flyers reached out to Knuble, who was playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL, and signed him before the weekend. After the Flyers’ 2-1 win over the New York Rangers two days later, Knuble joined the Orange and Black in Florida for their 7-1 decision over the Panthers. He ended up playing in 28 games and totaled eight points for Philly in 2013.

After he recorded an assist in the victory over Florida, Knuble’s next point came four games later when he potted the game-winning goal against the Carolina Hurricanes on February 2. He would register a goal and two helpers in six games following the win over ‘Canes for a total of five points in his first 11 games back with Philly.

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Knuble went on to record one assist in his next seven games before Peter Laviolette decided to scratch him for a long string of games. He missed Philly’s next eight tilts before suiting up for a contest against the New York Islanders on March 28.

The forward deposited a goal in the first period of the Flyers’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Isles. Despite only skating for just over seven minutes in the loss, Laviolette decided to keep Knuble in the lineup and it paid off, as the skater scored again against the Boston Bruins two days later (go to :44).

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“You’ve got to give Mike a lot of credit for sitting and coming in and being an impact player in both games (since returning to the lineup),” Laviolette said after the win against the Bruins. “Today I thought he was really strong with his skating and on the puck.”

“You never lose your confidence as a player. As a player, you always want to prove yourself,” Knuble said following the pair of strong contests. “I’m not going to lie, it’s satisfying the way things have gone for me the past couple of games.”

Although Knuble didn’t record another point for the rest of the campaign, his grouping with other Flyers in their second tour of duty with the franchise, Simon Gagne and Ruslan Fedotenko, proved to be a respectable line for a team that struggled throughout the season.

None of Knuble’s numbers are all that impressive: four goals, four assists, minus-4, 20 PIMs, 12:55 TOI, and none of his in-depth statistics are amazing.

However, when looking at many of the factors going into Knuble’s campaign off the ice, one could argue that Knuble had a fine year with the Orange and Black. A 40-year-old right winger who most likely wasn’t supposed to play in the NHL this year proved to be a serviceable skater on an injury-riddled squad that failed to excel offensively, defensively, or in net.

Since Knuble signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia, at a price of $750,000, it’s not certain whether or not Knuble will come back to the Flyers for the 2013-14 campaign. For that matter, it’s not certain if Knuble will play hockey at all next year. However, after a frustrating season with the Washington Capitals in 2011-12, where he had 18 points in 72 games while spending time being scratched, Knuble showed resilience this season by coming back to the Orange and Black. He most likely won’t play again in the NHL, but if the Flyers suffer another season with numerous injuries, Knuble could find his way back onto the Flyers’ roster.