- While some teams are using this layoff to get a head start on contract discussions, that doesn’t appear to be the case in Philadelphia. Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher told Jordan Hall of NBC Sports Philadelphia that he hasn’t started any talks about a new deal with any of their pending free agents. Among the notable unrestricted free agents on their roster are goalie Brian Elliott, defenseman Justin Braun, and center Derek Grant while forwards Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick, who have had their seasons cut short to respective health concerns, headline their list of restricted free agents.
The Philadelphia Flyers won’t be losing one of their draft prospects after all. Wade Allison has signed an entry-level contract with the team following his senior season at Western Michigan University. Allison could have become an unrestricted free agent had he waited until August (under normal league circumstances at least), but will instead start his professional career with the team that drafted him.
CapFriendly reports that the deal breaks down as follows:
2020-21: $925K salary (including signing bonus)
2021-22: $925K salary (including signing bonus), $425K in performance bonuses
Now 22, Allison is a tall, powerful winger that recorded 23 points in 26 games for the Broncos this season, serving as an alternate captain for the second year. His college career ended with 97 points in 106 games, but it’s his strong return from injury that should excite fans who were worried about his long-term career path.
In January of 2018, Allison tore his ACL. He had been on track to contend for the Hobey Baker as a sophomore with 15 goals and 30 points in his first 22 games, but that was likely the last thing on his mind at the time. How would he look when he came back, would his NHL future be in jeopardy?
More than two years later and Allison has finally signed that NHL contract and is on his way to joining the organization that used the 52nd overall pick on him back in 2016. Flyers’ AGM Brent Flahr described his newest prospect as “a great package of size, speed and skill” while suggesting that he can be a power forward at the NHL level.
The run on college players continues. The Philadelphia Flyers have signed Tanner Laczynski to a two-year entry-level contract, getting him into the organization and avoiding a potential free agent situation this summer. Laczynski recently finished his senior season at Ohio State and could have become an unrestricted free agent in August.
Instead, the 22-year old forward will join a Flyers organization that originally selected him 169th overall in 2016. Since then, when he was a late-round pick out of the USHL, Laczynski has become one of the most consistent offensive in all of college hockey, recording 143 points in 138 games for the Buckeyes while also representing Team USA at the 2017 World Junior Championship, winning gold.
Flyers’ assistant GM Brent Flahr released a short statement about his new forward:
Tanner has completed an excellent college career at Ohio State University and we are very excited to have him under contract. He plays a mature two-way game, he’s a proven leader, and we see him as a versatile forward for the Flyers organization going forward.
Even getting an NHL contract after being selected so late is an accomplishment, but Laczynski will obviously be hoping for more than just an entry-level deal. He’ll be in training camp (whenever that happens to be) competing for a role in the organziation.
So far when it comes to the college market, the Vegas Golden Knights have been quiet. However, rumors suggested that the Vegas franchise intended to bring aboard Hobey Baker Award finalist Jack Dugan, who wrapped up his sophomore season at Providence College. General manager Kelly McCrimmon confirmed that they will begin negotiations soon with Dugan, who led the NCAA in points this season, according to Las Vegas Review-Journal’s David Schoen.
“We’ll have discussions with his representatives here at an appropriate point,” said McCrimmon. “It hasn’t been pressing because there’s no hockey being played. But those are conversations we’ll have here as we move along.”
Dugan, the team’s fifth-round pick in 2017, has driven up his stock in two years at Providence. He had an impressive rookie season where he posted 10 goals and 39 points in 41 games and followed that up with a much more dominant sophomore campaign, scoring 10 goals and 52 points in just 34 games. The 6-foot-2 winger would likely challenge for a role with the Golden Knights if he signs, although the team could send him to the AHL to further develop his skills.
- In a Q&A, The Athletic’s Eric Stephens (subscription required) writes that from everyone he’s talked to, it’s expected that top prospect Trevor Zegras will leave Boston University and sign with Anaheim at some point during the offseason. Zegras, the ninth-overall pick in the 2019 draft, dominated at the World Junior Championships in December, leading the United States with nine assists in five games. He had 11 goals and 36 points in 33 games. Considered to be one of the top prospects in hockey, Zegras could conceivably make the Ducks squad next year and challenge for the Calder Trophy.
- Michigan Daily’s Bailey Johnson reports that University of Michigan head coach Mel Pearson said that while he hasn’t had exit meetings with two of his top players, defenseman Cam York and center John Beecher, he expects both players to return to the Wolverines next season. York, the Philadelphia Flyers first-round pick (14th overall) in 2019, had five goals and 16 points in 30 games for Michigan. Beecher, the Boston Bruins first-round pick (30th overall) had nine goals and 16 points in 31 contests for the Wolverines. Pearson said both players are home and he’s giving them time before discussing the subject with them, but he believes both intend to stay in school.
- AHL reporter Mark Divver reports that the Boston Bruins are expected to be in the mix for two of the remaining top NCAA free agents in St. Cloud State’s Jack Ahcan and University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Mitchell Chaffee. Ahcan, a 22-year-old defenseman, wrapped up his senior campaign with seven goals and 25 points. Chaffee, who also is 22, scored 16 goals and 29 points in 30 games last season, his junior year, and is rumored to be courted by the Golden Knights as well. Divver adds that University of Minnesota-Duluth center Justin Richards is also on Boston’s radar.
The Philadelphia Flyers were starting to show what they’re capable of, but now will have to battle through injury. After losing Philippe Myers recently, the team has now announced that trade deadline acquisition Nate Thompson will miss a minimum of two weeks with a knee sprain. Connor Bunnaman has been recalled in his place, while Mark Friedman was also recalled earlier today.
Thompson, 35, was brought over from the Montreal Canadiens at the deadline to give the Flyers a little more depth in their bottom-six and some versatility. Able to play both center and the wing while never being afraid to engage physically, Thompson had fit right in and was getting just over 12 minutes a night.
Those 12 minutes will have to go to someone else now that he’s out, and his absence certainly doesn’t come at the most opportune time. While a two-week vacation may not be the end of the world in the middle of the regular season, the Flyers only have 13 games remaining in the season and need all hands on deck if they are to catch the Washington Capitals.
Two weeks likely means Thompson will miss at least the next seven games.
Myers, 23, had started to fulfill the promise that earned him a contract in 2015 despite going undrafted. In his first taste of real full-time NHL hockey, he had 16 points in 50 games and had become a staple in the Flyers’ lineup. That includes excellent possession numbers in more than 17 minutes a night, using his 6’5″ frame to contribute at both ends of the rink.
This comes at a terrible time for the Flyers, who were playing their best hockey of the season. The team is on a nine-game winning streak and have climbed within a single point of the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division, but will now have to fill those 17 minutes in another way.
Luckily, the team already went out and added some playoff experience on the right side last offseason. Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun were brought in for these tough games, while the youngsters like Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim continue to develop into top options. Myers will be missed, but the Flyers do have strong depth on the back end to replace him.
The most interesting name to watch might be Shayne Gostisbehere, who hasn’t played up to his previous standards this season and could still play a big role down the stretch.
The Philadelphia Flyers have signed prospect Wyatte Wylie (or alternatively, Wyatt Wylie according to multiple parts of the press release) to a three-year, entry-level contract. The defenseman is currently playing with the Everett Silvertips of the WHL who are set up for a long playoff run.
Wylie, 20, was originally selected in the fifth round of the 2018 draft but has since taken over as one of Everett’s primary puck-moving defensemen. In 62 games this season the right-handed Wylie has 14 goals and 64 points, though that production still lags well behind teammate (and new Columbus Blue Jackets prospect) Jake Christiansen in terms of per-game scoring.
Still, the solid production from a late-round pick is promising and has landed Wylie an NHL contract. Though he will be staying with Everett for the time being, a tryout with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms could be in order should the Silvertips be knocked out early. Next season he will surely be in the AHL, where he will start on a road to becoming more than just a lottery ticket for the Flyers.
4:05pm: The Flyers have announced that van Riemsdyk will miss four to six weeks with the hand injury, effectively ending his regular season.
8:50am: The important 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals last night came with a price for the Philadelphia Flyers, as James van Riemsdyk is now out with a broken hand. The Flyers forward blocked a shot from Capitals defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler and was forced to leave the game. In his place, the Flyers have recalled Joel Farabee from the minor leagues.
Losing van Riemsdyk at this point in the season is brutal news for the Flyers, who are on a seven-game winning streak and have pulled within a single point of the Metropolitan division lead. While he doesn’t dominate games the way some other high-priced talent can, van Riemsdyk always finds a way to put the puck in the net. After scoring 27 goals in just 66 games last season for the Flyers, it looks like his season will end with 19 this time around.
Luckily, the team has other options like Farabee waiting for a chance to get back into the NHL lineup. The 20-year old forward has 20 points in 49 games on the year and looks like he will be an impact player for years to come in Philadelphia.
Today is leap day and a number of NHL teams will be looking to do just that when it comes to the standings. Saturday’s slate of a dozen games features ten games with at least one team in the thick of the playoff race, including six collisions between current playoff teams. The Bruins and Islanders kick off the action this afternoon; New York has a chance to pull into a tie with the Penguins for the final Metropolitan Division spot, but Boston has won their past ten road games versus the Isles. Later this afternoon, the Lightning – losers of four straight – look to get back on track as they host the Flames. The nighttime lineup begins with the Panthers, desperate for a win to keep up with the Maple Leafs, hosting head coach Joel Quenneville’s former club, the Blackhawks. Toronto will have their hands full themselves as they face the Canucks, who need to make the most of their games in hand to catch the red-hot Golden Knights. The new-look Hurricanes must do the same to keep up in the wild card race, as they visit the Canadiens. The Central Division could be in for a shake-up, as the streaking Avalanche take on the Predators while the equally hot Blues face the Stars. Finally, in late night action for those not on the west coast, the Jets and Oilers collide in a game that could make waves in the Western wild card chase, while the Penguins look to end the league’s worst current losing streak against the Sharks. With plenty of action, there very likely could be plenty of roster adjustments as well. Keep up with all those minor transactions right here:
- The Columbus Blue Jackets announced that they have recalled Ryan MacInnis from the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters. MacInnis, 23, has been up and down a number of times this season, but has recorded just one assist in nine games with Columbus. However, he has already set a new career high in points in the minors, with 30 points in 45 games. The two-way center appears to be adding more of an offensive touch to his game, but just needs to transition that ability to the top level.
- With the news that Blackhawks forwards Andrew Shaw and Zack Smith will not be returning this season due to their current injuries, there are opportunities for others to step up in the Chicago lineup. Brandon Hagel will get his chance, as the team has recalled the 21-year-old from the AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs. The first-year pro has 19 goals and 30 points in 55 games with Rockford in an impressive debut campaign and will continue a year of firsts when he takes the ice for the first time with the Blackhawks. UPDATE: Unfortunately, for Hagel, the team announced they opted to return him just hours later as the Blackhawks did not need him.
- CapFriendly reports that the Colorado Avalanche have reassigned forward Logan O’Connor to the AHL’s Colorado Eagles. The University of Denver product has been a fixture of Colorado hockey for many years now, but still has yet to make much of an impact at the NHL level with just one point in 14 games over the past two seasons.
- The New Jersey Devils announced they have recalled forward Jesper Boqvist from the Binghamton Devils of the AHL. The team has been playing with 12 forwards and no reserves lately, but with three games in the next four days out on the West Coast, New Jersey is likely going to need some insurance at forward. Boqvist spent most of the season in New Jersey, posting four goals and no assists in 34 games, but was sent to the AHL on Jan. 19 to get more playing time. He has five goals and eight points in 15 games in Binghamton.
- CapFriendly reports that the Montreal Canadiens have activated defenseman Xavier Ouellet off of injured reserve. The blueliner has missed more than a week with a concussion, but could be in the Canadiens’ lineup later today. That move could also signal the end for Karl Alzner, who replaced him on the roster and is likely headed for Laval.
- The Philadelphia Flyers announced they have recalled forward Joel Farabee from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the AHL. Farabee was sent to the AHL last Monday, which allowed him to be eligible for the AHL playoffs. The 20-year-old has had an inconsistent rookie season with the Flyers, having posted seven goals and 20 points in 49 games, which included a January demotion to the Phantoms. He has two goals and three assists over his last nine games.
- The Vegas Golden Knights announced they have recalled forward Brandon Pirri from the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. That likely suggests that forward Tomas Nosek, who left Friday’s game with an undisclosed injury. Pirri was expected to play a bigger role in Las Vegas this season after potting 12 goals last year. However, after going scoreless after 11 games, he was sent to Chicago where he has had 15 goals and 35 points in 38 games.
- Although Shayne Gostisbehere had been out with recurring knee issues, the Flyers still received some interest in the defenseman leading up to the trade deadline, reports Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post. However, GM Chuck Fletcher opted to hold onto the 26-year-old who has seen his offensive numbers fall off considerably this season as he has just a dozen points in 41 games which isn’t a great return on a $4.5MM AAV. Gostisbehere is now healthy but is currently serving as Philadelphia’s seventh defender. However, despite being out of the lineup for now, he indicated that he is happy to remain with the Flyers, the only NHL team he has played for.