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Hobey Baker finalist Mike Vecchione signs with Flyers

The Union College senior could join the Flyers for the home stretch of this regular season.

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I guess Shayne Gostisbehere’s pitch worked.

The Flyers have signed Union College senior forward, 2014 national champion, former Ghost teammate and 2017 Hobey Baker Award finalist Mike Vecchione to an entry-level contract. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet first broke the news. The Flyers have confirmed it. It’s a two-year one-year entry-level deal due to his age.

As an undrafted college free agent, Vecchione, 24, could have picked any team in the NHL, and surely had offers from most. But the lure of playing time on a team with a less-than-certain future at forward, and surely the good words he’s heard about Philly from his former teammate at Union, likely helped him swing to the Flyers.

Part of that lure could be that he was promised playing time here this season in the final few games of the regular season. That would burn the only year of his ELC. That would be bad, but that may have been the price the Flyers had to pay -- but we’re assuming that there was some handshake agreement to extend and sign a new contract for next season and beyond.

Alternatively, Vecchione could join the Phantoms for the remainder of their season on an amateur tryout contract, therefore keeping his one-year ELC in tact entering Flyers training camp next year.

It’s been a while since the Flyers signed a truly top-level college free agent, and the last time the team signed one who went on to have a significant impact was in 2011 when they signed Bemidji State standout Matt Read.

Here’s a scouting report on Vecchione from Jeff Cox of SB Nation College Hockey:

He competes hard throughout the entire sheet. He backchecks and doesn’t mind battling for pucks along the wall. Listed at just 5-feet-10, he’s rugged and hard to knock off pucks. His compete level is high, a trait that is evident based on how he plays with and without the puck.

He doesn’t have blazing speed, but it’s not an absolute deterrent to his game. He has an explosive stride that allows him to get going quickly and to penetrate into the scoring areas. More than a few of his goals this season have come in transition where he didn’t finesse his way into the zone. He just skated it right into the slot and let go of an absolute cannon of a wrister.

... his NHL upside is limited to most likely being a third line center who can be counted on to win draws. Despite his above average skill set, hard shot and skating ability, his lack of high end speed will likely prevent him from being more than a third line center.

The NHL team that signs him following the conclusion of the season will do so in hopes of landing a reliable two-way center who wins draws, competes hard, brings energy to each shift, and can chip in offensively with a very good shot at the next level.

Vecchione has had a tremendous four years at Union, capped off this year with an NCAA-best 63 points in 38 games. He won the national championship his freshman year., with Ghost by his side on the ice at Wells Fargo Center. (Dave Hakstol’s North Dakota team was also in town for that Frozen Four.)

Vecchione’s college career came to a close on March 17, when Union lost to Cornell in the ECAC Hockey semifinals. While most college free agents quickly decide on their NHL future, Vecchione took some time here — two weeks, to be exact — to settle on the Flyers.

Mike Vecchione’s career stats

Season Team League GP G A TP PIM
Season Team League GP G A TP PIM
2009-2010 Malden Catholic High High School - - - - -
2010-2011 Malden Catholic High High School 20 26 44 70 -
2011-2012 Tri-City Storm USHL 49 10 19 29 28
2012-2013 Tri-City Storm USHL 63 26 34 60 75
2013-2014 Union College NCAA 38 14 20 34 32
2014-2015 Union College NCAA 39 19 31 50 18
2015-2016 Union College NCAA 34 9 20 29 30
2016-2017 Union College NCAA 38 29 34 63 45
via Elite Prospects

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