Who is Mike Vecchione?
The Philadelphia Flyers have signed center Mike Vecchione to an entry level contract. Vecchione is a 5’10”, 195-pound 24-year-old finalist for the Hobey Baker award, as the top collegiate player this season. He finished his season tied for first out of all NCAA players in points, with 29 goals 34 assists and 63 points on the year. His 29 goals were good enough for second among all NCAA players. A former teammate of Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere with Union, Vecchione is the all-time leading scorer for the team. He finished his college career with 176 points in 149 games, and was named the ECAC Player of the Year and was named to the ECAC All-Academic Team for the past three seasons. As a rookie with Union, he won the national championship alongside Shayne Gostisbehere, scoring 34 points in 38 games.
Information provided by philadelphiaflyers.com: https://t.co/xuiFVTyqX8
Where will he fit in with the Philadelphia Flyers?
The Flyers have an overflow at the center position. Claude Giroux, Valtteri Filppula, Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier, Nick Cousins, Travis Konecny, Roman Lyubimov, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, and Jordan Weal are all natural centers. So why would this team who needs to lose some centremen, sign another? Well, Cousins and Lyubimov are both pending restricted free agents after this season, while Vandevelde is a pending unrestricted free agent. It is my assumption that out of these three players, only Nick Cousins will be brought back for next season. Val Filppula and Matt Read each only have one year left on their contract, and will mostly likely not return to the Flyers after their contract is up. Depending who is exposed or taken from the team in the expansion draft, that could also factor into this signing. The Flyers are still going to have way too many centers, but there is a chance they lose a couple over the next two years. With Claude Giroux keeping his spot as top line center, and Filppula and Couturier right behind him, you would have to think Vecchione is going to end up playing wing somewhere. The third line as Sean Couturier’s winger is a possibility, knocking Dale Weise or Chris Vandevelde out of the lineup.
Will this help the Flyers now?
Probably not. Philadelphia is six points out of a playoff position with five games remaining. The real difficult part, however, is there are four teams ahead of them. The Flyers need to win all of their remaining games, and also hope the Bruins, Lightning, Hurricanes, and Islanders lose all that remains of their seasons. All of these teams minus the Islanders have looked like they want to make the playoffs as of late, with Philly and Boston currently sitting on a three-game winning streak, while Tampa has won four straight. Carolina won their previous two contests, defeating the 49-19-8 Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 2-1 last game. The Flyers will look to continue their winning ways against one of the weakest teams in the NHL, the New Jersey Devils on Saturday; it is yet to be known whether or not Mike Vecchione will be in the lineup.