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Philadelphia Flyers sign defenseman Mark Friedman to two-year contract extension

The Fried Man has agreed to stay within the organization for two more years.

Philadelphia Flyers v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers not only hit the ice for their first day of training camp 2.0 on Monday, but they also made a notable signing. Defenseman Mark Friedman agreed to a two-year, one-way contract extension with an average annual value of $725,000. This extension will keep him within Philadelphia’s system through the 2021-22 season.

A misconception about players on a one-way contract is that they are only eligible to play in the NHL. This is not the case. A one-way contract basically means that said player will make the same amount of money in the AHL as they would in the NHL.

The 24-year-old was selected in the third round (No. 86 overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. After three successful seasons at Bowling Green State University, where he was named to the WCHA First All-Star Team, he took his talents to the American Hockey League to begin playing for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms full-time in 2017-18. In 186 games for the Phantoms thus far, the Toronto native has collected 10 goals and 51 assists for 61 total points.

Friedman made his NHL debut for the Flyers in the last game of the 2018-19 season against the Carolina Hurricanes and earned another brief stay with the Flyers during the 2019-20 regular season. In six appearances this past regular season, he registered zero goals and one assist while averaging 13:35 of ice time.

While Friedman clearly still has some kinks to work out before earning a full-time role in an NHL lineup — 39.44 Corsi-For percentage and 37.50 Goals-For percentage at even strength with the Flyers this season — he’s turned out to be an excellent defenseman for the Phantoms, as Maddie noted in her review of Friedman’s 2019-20 performance.

We expected to see him take a step forward, iron out some of the details that needed working on, and look more dominant in his third AHL season, and that’s what he did. We’ve likely shared this sentiment before, but it bears repeating that Friedman was pretty easily the Phantoms’ most consistent defenseman this season, and by a pretty comfortable margin. The defensive side of his game was sound, and his offensive contributions solid, in short, Friedman brought probably the most complete game of any member of the defense corps. No other defenseman posted positive relative shot metrics (CF%, SCF%, HDCF%), as well as a Controlled Exit% above 50 percent. That’s a lot of overall positive impact. So, while there may not have been one thing that he was positively dominant at, he proved to be solid in just about everything, and that’s really what the team needed from him.

Friedman is joining the Flyers for training camp ahead of their round robin series to kick off the 24-team postseason tournament. With a good showing in camp, perhaps he could accompany the Flyers as they head north to Toronto, though it’s unlikely he’d actually see any playing time.

As for next season, it’s expected that he’ll continue to play a significant role in Lehigh Valley. So long as he continues to improve the way he has over the last couple seasons, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him earn an extended look in the NHL at some point fairly soon.

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