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Philadelphia Flyers 25 Under 25: Mike Vecchione will go up against the Flyers’ roster crunch this year

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After seeing NHL action last season, Vecchione must show why he should stay.

Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Unlike other prospects on our 25 Under 25 list so far, forward Mike Vecchione has seen NHL action with the Flyers. He saw action in two late-season games with the orange and black this past season. Vecchione finished up his fourth and final season with the Union Flying Dutchmen this past March, and on March 31st he signed a one-year entry level contract with the Flyers. Just four days later he made his NHL debut against the New Jersey Devils. Breaking out in his final year of college, he scored 63 points in 38 games, doubling his total of 29 points from the previous season.

No. 18: Mike Vecchione

Position: C
Age: 24 (2/25/1993)
Acquired Via: Signed as an undrafted free agent on March 31, 2017
2016-17 League/Team/Statistics: Union (NCAA) - 29 G, 34 A in 38 GP
Nationality: American
Ranking in BSH Winter 2017 25 Under 25: N/A (was not in system)

A possible victim of the roster crunch next season, Vecchione could find himself in the AHL come October. The Flyers have too many bottom-six players, and not enough bottom-six spots (hint: there are only six!). Vecchione will likely be competing for a role on the fourth line. Possible other fourth-line centers include Scott Laughton, Jori Lehterä or Valtteri Filppula. For Vecchione, who will turn 25 this season, a year in the AHL is not the preferred outcome, but would not be the end of the world.

Here is 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 is the type of player who coaches will feel comfortable playing on their bottom lines. He won’t dazzle you with insane hands, but he also won’t allow the other team to skate around him; he is competent at both ends of the ice.

The ceiling for Vecchione will be a third line center, if everything goes as planned. The Flyers have a great amount of center depth, which means it will be difficult for Vecchione to get time at center on higher lines, if any at all. Which brings us back to the idea of him spending a year down in the AHL.

The Flyers clearly want to give Scott Laughton a chance, after sending him down to the Phantoms to refine his game last season and using a protection slot on him in the expansion draft. It is very clear they value him. Other possible players the team has to fill out their bottom six include Lehtera, Filppula, Matt Read, Oskar Lindblom, Michael Raffl and Dale Weise. So as of now, the roster crunch is very real for our friend Mike. After this season Read and Filppula will walk in free agency. Weise or Lehtera could be traded, if any of the other 30 GM’s actually want them.

But after this season there could be more room on the roster for Vecchione to play with the Flyers. Let him spend a year in the AHL adjusting to pro hockey and slot him in on the fourth line next season. At the same time, you don’t want to place a guy like Vecchione in the minors for too long, considering he is already older and won’t be eligible for this list next year! But one year won’t hurt him.

How We Voted For Mike Vecchione

Kurt Al Kelly Allison Jay Charlie Bill Steph Kate Travis Joe Community
Kurt Al Kelly Allison Jay Charlie Bill Steph Kate Travis Joe Community
19 19 21 18 n/a 23 23 16 21 16 17 17

How We Voted At No. 18

Kurt Al Kelly Allison Jay Charlie Bill Steph Kate Travis Joe Community
Kurt Al Kelly Allison Jay Charlie Bill Steph Kate Travis Joe Community
Mikhail Vorobyev Alex Lyon Morgan Frost Mike Vecchione Mikhail Vorobyev Wade Allison Alex Lyon Taylor Leier Taylor Leier Alex Lyon Connor Bunnaman Taylor Leier

How The Community Voted For Mike Vecchione

Ranking # of Votes
Ranking # of Votes
1 0
2 0
3 0
4 0
5 0
6 4
7 9
8 10
9 24
10 22
11 39
12 52
13 60
14 93
15 94
16 98
17 71
18 87
19 61
20 49
21 35
22 40
23 28
24 30
25 24
NR 104

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Previously on Philadelphia Flyers Summer 2017 25 Under 25: