The Philadelphia Flyers have made contract offers to Ethan Samson and Owen McLaughlin, and move on from Connor McClennon.
The Philadelphia Flyers took care of a little offseason business on Thursday.
The club announced that it has extended offers 2021 draft prospects Ethan Samson and Owen McLaughlin, who are both coming off impressive draft-plus-one seasons.
The Flyers also relinquished their rights to two other past draft picks.
OFFICIAL: We have extended Bona Fide Offers to 2021 draft choices Owen McLaughlin and Ethan Samson.
In addition, we will not be signing unsigned draft choices Connor McClennon and Marcus Westfält. https://t.co/EaqsXlvqwH
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) June 1, 2022
Here’s how CapFriendly explains the term ‘Bona Fide Offer’:
A Bona Fide Offer is the offer of a standard players contract that meets the entry-level contract requirements as specified in the NHL CBA. The contract must meet the minimum salary requirements, must be the appropriate ELC length, and must remain open to the player for at minimum 30 days following the offer. [CBA 8.6 (e)].
Ethan Samson’s Season
Ethan Samson is a big right-shot defenseman who was drafted in the sixth round in 2021, 174th overall.
Listed at 6’3″ and 183 pounds, Samson took a significant step forward in his third season with the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League. He wore an ‘A’ for the first time in 2021-22. He was named to the second all-star team of the WHL’s B.C. division. And his point totals jumped to 15 goals and 43 points in 68 games.
That was up from 12 points in 22 games in his draft year, and placed him in the top 20 scorers among WHL defensemen.
Armed with a big slap shot, eight of Samson’s goals came on the power play, and five were game-winners.
— The WHL (@TheWHL) January 16, 2022
The Cougars finished the regular season with a record of 24-39-4-1. Though they managed just a .390 points percentage, they finished sixth in the WHL’s Western Conference in 2021-22, good for their first postseason berth in five years.
In the first round, they were swept 4-0 by the third-place Portland Winterhawks, who finished 46 points above them in the regular-season standings.
There’s nothing really stopping Samson from accepting the Flyers’ offer at this time. He turns 19 in August, so if he signs his entry-level contract, his only options for next season would be major junior or a long-shot chance at making the NHL. He is not be eligible for the AHL because he’ll be under 20.
If he signs his entry-level deal and plays fewer than 10 professional games, his contract would ‘slide’ back by one year. He would receive his any signing bonus in the contract, however; those do not slide.
If Samson chooses not to sign, the Flyers will retain his rights for one more year.
Owen McLaughlin’s Season
Drafted in the seventh round, 206th overall, Chester County native Owen McLaughlin also excelled in his first season after being drafted. McLauchlin is a shifty center who said he patterns his game after Mat Barzal. He put up 28 goals and 44 assists for 72 points in 62 games in his rookie season in the USHL. That was tops on his Sioux City Musketeers. It was also good for 10th overall in league scoring.
— Sioux City Musketeers (@Musketeerhockey) April 9, 2022
The Musketeers finished the regular season in second place in the USHL’s Western Conference. Their record was 41-16-4-1, for a .702 points percentage.
On May 21, the Musketeers captured the Clark Cup as league champions on May 21. McLaughlin chipped in five assists in 10 playoff games.
UND's Clark Cup champions: Colten St. Clair, Dylan James and Owen McLaughlin. pic.twitter.com/nVtRUr2IlZ
— Brad Elliott Schlossman (@SchlossmanGF) May 30, 2022
Moreso than Samson, McLaughlin has a decision to make about whether or not to accept the Flyers’ contract offer at this time.
McLaughlin is committed to the University of North Dakota for next season. If he signs a pro contract, he would lose his NCAA eligibility, but could continue his development in the junior ranks.
McLaughlin turned 19 on March 25. Listed at 6’0″ and 158 pounds on the USHL website, he’d probably benefit from more development time at the college level.
If McLaughlin continues on his NCAA path, the Flyers will retain his rights for as long as four years.
Around Full Press Hockey
Goodbye, Connor McClennon
On Thursday, the Flyers also announced that they will not be offering contracts to forwards Connor McClennon or Marcus Westfalt. Their exclusive signing rights for both players expired on June 1.
McClennon, 19, had a strong third season with the Winnipeg Ice of the Western Hockey League. He finished 12th in league scoring with 43-38-81 in 62 regular-season games. The Ice went on to third round of the WHL playoffs before falling 4-1 to the Edmonton Oil Kings. McClennon was productive. He had 21 points in 15 postseason games.
But while McClennon’s skills are strong, he is undersized — listed at 5’8″ and 16 pounds on the WHL website.
McClennon was drafted in the sixth round in 2020, 178th overall. According to Bill Meltzer at HockeyBuzz, the Flyers elected not to offer him a contract for two reasons.
First, they believe he lacks the kind of natural speed that undersized scorers need to thrive in the NHL — think Cole Caufield, here. Also, they feel they have other smallish right-shot forwards in the system who project better.
At 5’8″ and 166 pounds, Bobby Brink already signed and played 10 NHL games at the end of last season.
The organization also remains optimistic about 2021 second-round pick Samu Tuomaala. Listed at 5’10” and 180 pounds, Tuomaala was signed to his entry-level contract last August. He started his season in Lehigh Valley, then was loaned back to a Finnish team for the year.
Goodbye, Marcus Westfalt
As for Westfalt, he was drafted in the seventh round in 2018, 205th overall. That was the final year of Ron Hextall‘s regime. A left-shooting winger who is listed at 6’2″ and 179 pounds, Westfalt has spent the last three seasons with Vasterviks of Sweden’s second-tier Allsvenskan, where he had 12 goals and 22 points in 51 games last year.
Because he was drafted as an international prospect, the Flyers retained his signing rights for four years. Like McClennon, Westfalt now becomes a free agent who can sign with any NHL team.
Westfalt is 22 and McClennon turns 20 in July, so both will now also have the option to signing on with an AHL team.
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