Philadelphia Flyers NCAA Prospect Roundup: Signing Season

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 8: Joel Farabee #28 of the Boston University Terriers skates against the Harvard Crimson during NCAA hockey at The Bright-Landry Hockey Center on January 8, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. The game ended in a 2-2 tie. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 8: Joel Farabee #28 of the Boston University Terriers skates against the Harvard Crimson during NCAA hockey at The Bright-Landry Hockey Center on January 8, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. The game ended in a 2-2 tie. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) /

With the NCAA Tournament right around the corner, most collegiate teams are seeing their seasons come to an end. That means players are starting to sign NHL deals. Here’s what that might mean for the Flyers’ NCAA prospects.

You may have noticed some teams around the NHL signing collegiate players to contracts. Some are free agents, which the Philadelphia Flyers aren’t pursuing much because of the organization’s depth, but the team has a couple of prospects of their own they might sign to NHL deals.

Here’s a look at each of the Flyers’ prospects in the NCAA ranks, how their latest season went and where their contract signing status is at.

Joel Farabee, Freshman, Boston University

Farabee and the Terriers’ season came to an end Friday night when they lost to Northeastern in the Hockey East Championship. Despite being a first-round pick and having a successful freshman year, it’s likely the 19-year-old will return to BU for his sophomore season.

Farabee scored 36 points in 37 games this season and really turned it on after a five-point campaign at the World Juniors for Team USA. In Boston University’s four playoff games, Farabee contributed five points, four of them goals.

But if the New York native makes the jump to professional, it’ll be as a Phantoms player, where he’ll take a depth role. If Farabee stays with the Terriers, he’ll be a premier player for them and can represent America at the WJC again.

Tanner Laczynski, Junior, Ohio State University

Laczynski might have had the opportunity to turn professional after his sophomore year but returned to the Buckeyes because he felt the team had a chance to win a National Championship. They didn’t win their divisional championship, which would have earned the team an automatic berth into the national tournament, but Ohio State’s 20-10-1 record should earn it an at-large bid to keep Laczynski’s dream alive.

Laczynski had a strong year despite some injuries. The 21-year-old scored 30 points in 26 games, for a career total so far of 109 points in 101 games.

College players’ draft rights end after their senior year, allowing them to become free agents. Because of that, NHL teams typically don’t like college players getting to their senior year and seeing the allure of free agency. Also, unlike Canadian juniors, college players cannot return after signing a professional deal.

It shouldn’t be any different for the Flyers and general manager Chuck Fletcher. Don’t be surprised if Laczynski is signed shortly after his season ends.

Wade Allison, Junior, Western Michigan University

Another junior that could have been signed last year, Allison smartly decided to return to college because he was still recovering from an ACL tear. The Manitoba native ended up not being ready in time for the start of the year but has played in 30 games.

However, the recovery still might have affected him as the 21-year-old finished with 15 points. That’s 15 less than his freshman season despite playing the same amount of games.

Like Ohio State and Laczynski, the Broncos did not win their divisional championship but do have a 21-15-1 record that should be good enough for an at-large bid, so Allison’s season may not be done yet. When it is, he’ll likely sign a contract with the Flyers, who still seem high on him.

Jay O’Brien, Freshman, Providence College

It was a rough first college season for O’Brien, who was injured often and only finished with five points in 25 games. Even though he was selected for USA’s roster for the WJC, he didn’t score a point and was just a depth role player.

Logically, that might have some fans worried about the 2018 first-round pick, but O’Brien was always seen as a raw prospect that would take some time to develop. The injuries only made that progress harder, but the Flyers won’t be scared off just because of an unlucky freshman year.

Providence also didn’t win their divisional championship but could earn an at-large bid. That could give O’Brien some more games, but he did miss the Hockey East playoffs due to injury.

Noah Cates, Freshman, Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth

Cates has long been an under-the-radar prospect for Flyers fans, so it might be strange to learn he’s just a freshman with the Bulldogs. That’s because Cates played an extra year in the USHL and is an older freshman at 20-years-old.

However, he certainly produced like an older player. In 36 games, Cates scored 22 points helping the team to an NCHC Championship. He also earned a spot on USA’s WJC roster and scored three points in seven games.

Cates probably falls more under the same umbrella as Farabee — he might be able to play in the AHL, but there’s still plenty to gain in the college ranks.

Wyatt Kalynuk, Sophomore, Univ. of Wisconsin

Kalynuk was drafted in the seventh round of the 2017 Draft, but has quickly earned some fans. He’s seen as an offensive defenseman and has backed that up with 25 points in 37 games for the Badgers in both his freshman and sophomore years. That ranks third in the Flyers’ group of college players, and ahead of numerous forwards.

Unsurprisingly, The Athletic’s Corey Pronman noted the Manitoba native needs to work on his defensive play, and will likely get another year of college play. The Flyers could reasonably sign Kalynuk to a deal now (Wisconsin carries a 14-18-5 record and didn’t earn an automatic tournament berth), but teams expect a seventh-rounder to develop slowly.

Jack St. Ivany, Freshman, Yale Univ.

The fourth Flyers prospect to play in the WJC for Team USA this past year, Ivany is a defenseman who put up 14 points in 30 games for the Bulldogs. The California native also has plenty of size at 6-foot-3.

Yale fought its way to the ECAC quarterfinals after winning a best-of-three series against Rennselaer, and Ivany will likely return for next season. He was a fourth-round pick at last year’s draft and there’s no reason to rush him.

Gavin Hain, Freshman, Univ. of North Dakota

Another freshman drafted last year, like Ivany, Hain will be allowed to take his time with the Fighting Hawks. The Minnesota native had a typical first-year campaign contributing nine points in 31 games and will be looked at to improve next season in North Dakota.

Brendan Warren, Senior, Univ. of Michigan

Warren was acquired by the Flyers almost two years ago when they dealt Nick Cousins to the Arizona Coyotes to free up some forward space. Warren was a longshot prospect then and still seems like one now.

The Wolverine scored just three points in 36 games this season, easily the lowest of his collegiate career. Considering Warren’s a senior, the Flyers will probably not sign him and he’ll enter the free agency market later this summer.

Matej Tomek, Junior, Univ. of Nebraska Omaha

If you forgot about the Flyers’ lone college goalie prospect, no one can blame you. Tomek has jumped from the University of North Dakota to the USHL’s Waterloo Blackhawks to Nebraska Omaha since 2015. He also played just four games this season.

Philly will hold onto the Slovakian’s rights for another year, but it will take a big improvement and some playing time from Tomek to earn a contract.

light. Must Read. Lack of Energy Costs Flyers