We are all aware of Paul Holmgren’s ability to snatch up quality college free agents. Holmgren was able to sign Matt Read out of Bemidji State, while also convincing Erik Gustafsson to sign after his season at Northern Michigan was completed. Read finished with 47 points in his rookie campaign, and even drew some consideration for the Calder Trophy. Gustafsson has proven to be a solid prospect as well. The young, puck moving defenseman, continues to show his abilities in his sporadic stints with the Flyers. To the surprise of nobody, it was reported the Flyers were pushing hard to sign defenseman Andrej Sustr.
Sustr, 22, just completed his junior season with the University of Nebraska-Omaha. The giant 6’8, 225 lb blueliner, had 25 points in 39 games for UNO. He has international experience as well, representing his native Czech Republic during the 2010 World Junior hampionships. Unfortunately for the Flyers, it was reported that Sustr agreed to a 2 year entry level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Would the Flyers have liked to nab Sustr? Of course, but while his upside is sky high, it has been noted in scouting reports that his skating ability is average at best.
Sure, the Flyers missed out on arguably the best college free agent, but highly touted Western Michigan defenseman Dan Dekeyser remains unsigned. There have been no reports the Flyers have expressed interest in Dekeyser, but it would make sense given Holmgren’s track record, and the Flyers desperate need for defensemen. Who will be the Matt Read of this college free agent class?
Note: On Thursday, the Flyers officially announced the signing of college free agent Kyle Flanagan. Flanagan, 24, just completed his senior season at St. Lawrence, where he notched 15 goals to go along with 32 assists in just 35 games. The center was also announced as a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, which is college hockey’s equivalent to the Heisman Trophy.