The hard work has finally paid off for Max Willman. After grinding in the ECHL and AHL over the last 18 months or so, the Flyers have rewarded that work. Willman was signed to a two-year, two-way contract that will begin in the 2021-2022 season. The deal carries an AAV of $750K.
Millman was originally drafted by the Buffalo Sabres back in 2014. He spent the next five seasons in the NCAA with Brown University and Boston University. With he had taken part in the team’s development camps, he left there without ever signing a contract with Buffalo. It was the Royals who took a chance on him in 2019. Having to wait until September of that year, it wasn’t smooth sailing to begin his ECHL career.
He was a healthy scratch in 10 of the team’s first 11 games. But once he found his way onto the ice for the Royals, he made sure they would be impressed. He was over a point-per-game player in the ECHL, grabbing nine goals and 25 points in 20 games. That earned him a promotion to the AHL where he signed a professional tryout with the team in December.
It took him a bit to get adjusted to the higher level, to be expected from a player making their first jump into the AHL. But he settled in, scoring his first AHL goal in January. That set off a stretch of five points in six games. This play would earn Willman an AHL contract for the remainder of the season and into the next. He finished his first AHL stint with three goals and nine assists in 24 games. A modest total, but it was a sign of things to come.
After being a late addition to the Flyers training camp, Willman returned to the Phantoms for his first full season in the league. His six goals are currently tied with Zayde Wisdom for the team lead in goals. His eight points overall are fourth on the team. After a strong final week of February, Willman was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week. He became the first Phantoms player in over five years to receive said honor.
The NHL contract gives Willman a chance to compete for a spot on the Flyers next season. Tony Androckitis of Inside AHL Hockey recently detailed the work Willman had been putting in to earn his first-ever NHL contract.
While it is currently a long-shot that he sees time at the professional level any time soon, this year has shown his willingness to work hard and do whatever he needs to do to make it.