The collegiate career of Noah Cates finished in disappointment, but at least now he can move on as an official member of the Philadelphia Flyers and continue that trend.
Announced by the team on Sunday afternoon, the Flyers have signed the 23-year-old left-winger to a two-year entry-level deal.
OFFICIAL: We have signed forward Noah Cates, the club's fifth-round pick (137th overall) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, to a two-year entry-level contract that will begin this season (2021-22). https://t.co/VTzyppAv6n— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) March 27, 2022
Due to Cates’s age, his rookie contract is restricted to just two years, and with it starting this season, the clock starts ticking and he will reach restricted free agency after the 2022-23 season. The benefit of his contract starting immediately is that he can jump straight into NHL action and according to the team’s release, he will be joining the Flyers for their final game of their current road trip against the Minnesota Wild. It is still to be determined if he will play, but he will be with the team and practicing.
Less than 24 hours prior to putting pen to paper, Cates was playing for the University of Minnesota-Duluth in the NCAA Division I quarterfinals — his final college game ended as a 2-1 defeat to the University of Denver, against fellow Flyers prospect Bobby Brink. Before the tournament, Cates was suiting up as an alternate captain for Team USA in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
“Noah has had an exceptional collegiate career and we’re happy to have him signed,” said Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher, via the team’s press release. “Noah is a versatile and responsible two-way player who has helped Minnesota-Duluth win a National Championship and represented the United States on both the World Junior and Olympic stage. We have followed his progress closely and are excited to watch his continued growth in our organization.”
In 37 games this season, Cates scored 11 goals and earned 24 points; a little bit of a far cry from his almost point-per-game performance two years ago, but maybe he can get back to that once-hyped projection soon enough.