Gerry Mayhew was caught treading water in the Minnesota Wild organization since he graduated college and began his professional hockey career, until the Philadelphia Flyers decided to move him to a different NHL organization for the first time this summer and he quickly won over the fans during his increased opportunity.
Of course, for the Wild — a team that has decent forward depth and is actually trying to win hockey games and succeeding at it — Mayhew didn’t have much of a chance to prove anything and appeared in just 17 games for the first team since signing in 2017. But every time he laced up his skates, there was a clear drive to stride through any opponent with all the power he had, and that’s probably what attracted the Flyers to his game and why he was signed as a depth forward last summer.
Due to more injuries than any team could prepare for happening in Philadelphia last season, Mayhew got to be in the NHL and appear in more games than he ever did through his professional years. The instant he stepped on to the ice, this mostly unknown player got a lot of cult attention as someone that was just fun to watch. He stood out among a roster full of the boring Nate Thompsons and Derick Brassards. He was different. Mayhew might not be skilled enough to warrant any full-time spot, or not even quick enough on the ice to be useful, but he just appeared to be trying his damn most out there on every shift. Moving like a chaotic speed skater that could fall at any second, Mayhew quickly won over lots of fans that just wanted to see something different than disappointing stars.
He had flashes of brilliance, but it wasn’t enough to keep him over the returning players later in the season and he was washed away on the waiver wire, picked up by the Anaheim Ducks and finished his season over there before signing with the Florida Panthers shortly after free agency opened up last month.
you have been asking… now we deliver: the official Gerry Mayhew fancam pic.twitter.com/GBAVfLXuGd— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 8, 2022
This is an instance where you can forgive some misfortunes on the ice for the better story off of it. Someone that just got their chance to pose a miniature breakout at the age of 29 years old and got some love for doing so. If you wanted to look at some numbers, well...
If you don’t care about any underlying metric or advanced stat, then Mayhew scoring 6 goals in 25 games for the Flyers is certainly a little bit impressive considering his lack of ice-time. And I know this is not a Ducks player review, but he continued that scoring touch down in Anaheim, as he scored 5 more in the 15 games he played for them. Eleven goals in 40 games is nothing to sneeze at.
As for the other numbers, well, we’ll be honest for a moment. We fully assumed that they would be terrible considering the fact that he loves to punch dudes, bash bodies, and score gritty goals, but they weren’t all bad. Compared to the entire league, they were below-average — earning an on-ice 47.90 on-ice shot attempt percentage and a 44.66 on-ice expected goals percentage — but compared to whatever miserable Flyers player he was thrown out there with, he was a positive.
It’s not all bad for Mayhew and all of this just makes us wonder what if he was given a true top-six opportunity somewhere. He had enough of a goal-scoring touch to get rewarded and still shone above some linemates like James van Riemsdyk and Morgan Frost throughout the season. We’ll never forget you, Gerry.
The Need for Another Mayhew
While the conclusion of Mayhew’s time in Philadelphia was a quick mid-season transaction, his legacy has kind of stuck around. And as these Flyers teams continue to be absolutely terrible, the need for someone like Mayhew remains prominent. Everyone wants a cult hero to relate to. Can we see ourselves in the goofy kid Joel Farabee? Is there something that grabs you about the quasi hillbilly Travis Konecny? Or the family man Kevin Hayes? It’s all possible, but seeing someone battle their way through being undrafted and eventually getting their Hollywood-esque shot in the NHL is something so easy to be attracted to and tune-in for.
It would be a little bit easier to see Nic Deslauriers as that player, but considering the massive contract his name is now forcefully attached to, that’s difficult. Perhaps it will be a mid-season waiver claim of their own and it won’t turn out to be someone like the flat cardboard hockey player known as Patrick Brown. We are just begging for some personality and stories on this team, and right now it just appears to be a story of a team that was a struggle to put together and can fall apart at any moment.
Give us something to at least enjoy, like a Gerry Mayhew.
All stats from Natural Stat Trick.