Flyers sign college free agent Will Zmolek

A sizeable left-handed defenseman is coming to Pennsylvania.

The Philadelphia Flyers have gotten in on some college free agency action.

Announced by the team on Tuesday morning, the Flyers have signed 6-foot-3, 194-pound defenseman Will Zmolek out of Bemidji State University, to a one-year, entry-level contract.

Due to his age, Zmolek’s entry-level deal has to be just one single year, but we will be seeing him in action before next season. According to the Flyers’ release, the 23-year-old blueliner will be joining the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms on an amateur try-out for the remainder of this season, as that squad tries to make a deep playoff run with the young and exciting talent they have on the roster.

An alternative captain during his senior year at Bemidji State, Zmolek was able to see his offensive production increase by a dramatic amount. After scoring just five goals and 15 points in 38 games during his junior year, the blueliner notched four goals but a total of 21 points in just 36 games this past season.

It also didn’t help his production that zero of his teammates hit the point-per-game mark and that earned Bemidji State a mediocre 9-12-5-4 record and their season ending early — that is why the Flyers are able to scoop up Zmolek earlier than the real college free agency action starting, with the bigger names still playing on better teams, trying to get into the Frozen Four tournament.

The Phantoms do have an unbalanced blue line, with four righties and just three lefties. And considering that one of the players on the left is Adam Ginning — who has not been exceptionally useful — Zmolek might get a decent chance to get some real ice-time during the final stretch of this AHL season. Lehigh Valley has 16 regular season games remaining.

It is a little bit of a shock to see Chuck Fletcher actually do something at this time of the season.