What do you value in a person and hockey player? What type of player do you want on your hockey club? When one mentions value, everyone looks to money and contracts at the pro level, but at the end of the day it starts with a commonly shared organizational philosophy. It all comes back to their cultural identity and the value they place on certain players and their roles.
Zack MacEwen was probably as shocked as everyone else when the Vancouver Canucks put him on waivers on October 12, 2021.
The Canucks were eventually weeks away from cleaning house when they waived a fan favorite and a very respected and well-liked teammate. The move didn’t make a lot sense given MacEwen’s contract status and his role on a very young skilled team. Zack MacEwen has been a “glue guy” at every stop along the way and that’s why it was so bizarre seeing a heart and soul player and person like him get put on waivers. There’s no back story here, no insider stuff, it became evident that the coaching staff didn’t feel comfortable putting him in the lineup or letting him fulfill his role, the role that they signed him for. Ultimately, they didn’t value him, which was bizarre, but it made him dispensable in their minds. MacEwen has never backed down and would do anything for his teammates. That’s the type of player and person he is. That aspect of his character is firmly entrenched in his DNA. His unwavering commitment to team and the process continues to fuel his passionate journey in the game.
If being put on waivers didn’t make sense, the waiver acquisition by the Philadelphia Flyers made perfect sense, it was a match made in heaven. Nevertheless, what does the future hold for Zack MacEwen and the Philadelphia Flyers? What is his value for that organization? What would his value be on the open market?
There hasn’t been a lot to cheer for in Philly this year. The Flyers who had a horrendous season a year ago are well on their way to accomplishing the same feat this season. It’s not from lack of talent, they have tons of that, it’s from lack of identity.
That’s right the Philadelphia Flyers, an organization that won championships based on their cultural identity are now desperately searching for one.
Enter Zack MacEwen.
Since his arrival with the organization a lot has happened. Flyers’ brass did some house cleaning of their own, yet their struggles continue due in large to a “perfect storm” bombarding the organization with a wrath of injuries to key personnel and multiple bouts with COVID. It’s déjà vu all over again, but the addition of Zack MacEwen is bringing a newfound hope to the entire fanbase.
How can a gritty, ultra-tough, energy player provide a team with hope for the future? Well, that’s what Zack MacEwen brings to the organization, that’s what makes him so valuable.
Obviously, he’s not going to be the Flyers savior, but he could be an integral part of the franchise moving forward. A player and person like MacEwen is a fan favorite because of the intangibles he brings to the team. He’s the type of player that you can win with given the right role to fulfill. It comes as no surprise that organizations that truly value their energy players are the most successful.
His time on ice is creeping up which is great to see, but if a player like MacEwen could find a way to play 12 to 15 mins a game you would see an even greater impact. How could a player with only 88 career NHL games and 12 points become a catalyst to turning a franchise around? Well, it’s all about value.
What do you value or see in a player? What’s important to you? What type of player do you want on your hockey club? How are you going to win with that player?
You can talk about it all day, but when you’re wanting to build a championship caliber team, you better damn well know the value that each one of your players are going to bring. You see winning and being successful all comes down to value. What do you value or see in a player?
How do you project a player’s character, skill or will to compete? How much time are you going to give them to grow and development? What’s your organization’s “winning window” look like?
The search for the “top secret championship formula” all starts with value and how much you value the intangibles certain players bring to the game. What’s the value in a shutdown pairing on the backend? What’s the value in a number one defencemen that can quarterback your power play? What’s the value in having two solid goaltenders? What’s the value in having a solid leadership group? What’s the value in having skilled players that actually give a shit about going dirty areas to win? What’s the value in having skilled players that actually take a hit to make a play? What’s the value in having a solid bottom six? What’s the value in having a coach that teaches and motivates with the same intensity? What’s the value in having a team built on character and skill? What’s the value in having a scouting staff that appreciates and projects talent and character? The Flyers organization have a lot of questions to answer.
What do the Flyers value? If it’s toughness, compete level and grit then they should sign Zack MacEwen to a two-year contract right away. His best hockey is ahead of him. You see that would be an incredibly valuable signing in more ways than one. Signing MacEwen to an extension would address the Flyers cultural identity or lack there of moving forward.
Zack MacEwen continues to show his value, it’s up to the Flyers to value that because many other teams in the National Hockey League will come free agent season.