Flyers sign Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe to entry-level contracts

Flyers sign Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe to entry-level contracts

It turns out, the Flyers' offseason isn't exactly over just yet.

The Flyers on Thursday afternoon signed 2017 draft picks Morgan Frost and Isaac Ratcliffe to their entry-level contracts.

Frost and Ratcliffe join Nolan Patrick as the second- and-third draftees from June's draft to sign. Patrick was the No. 2 overall pick, while Frost was the 27th overall and Ratcliffe the 35th.

Hextall ended up trading up to draft both Frost and Ratcliffe, as he selected three forwards in the first 35 picks and two in the first round.

It was the second draft in three years the Flyers had two first-round picks. The other was in 2015 when the Flyers drafted Ivan Provorov seventh overall and traded up to pick Travis Konecny.

Frost was drafted with the first of two first-round picks acquired from the St. Louis Blues in the Brayden Schenn trade. The Flyers will get another first-round pick from St. Louis in either 2018 or 2019.

Some considered Frost to be a reach at No. 27, but the Flyers became enamored with the 18-year-old's hockey sense. During development camp, Frost described himself as a playmaker more than a scorer.

"I think you're always going to see more with more assists than goals," Frost said then.

The Flyers traded three draft picks — the 44th, 75th and 108th overall picks — to the Arizona Coyotes on Day 2 of the NHL draft in order to select the 6-foot-6 Ratcliffe.

Ratcliffe was considered by many to be a late first-round pick. Hextall and his scouting staff liked the winger enough to trade three picks, which the organization values greatly under the current regime, to get Ratcliffe.

The London, Ontario, native scored 28 goals and 54 points in 67 games last season with the OHL's Guelph Storm. He scored twice in five games for Team Canada in the 2017 IIHF Under-18 World Junior Championship.

"I'm a big guy, I think I can play both offensively and defensively," Ratcliffe said June 24. "Really, that full-ice game and playing all areas in the zone. Adding that to their lineup, and being able to maneuver my way into their lineup, being with a lot of those guys … I think I can bring a lot to the table."

With Frost and Ratcliffe signed, the Flyers now have 48 contracts on the books. The limit is 50.

Flyers sign No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick to entry-level contract

Flyers sign No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick to entry-level contract

When the Devils signed No. 1 overall pick Nico Hischier to his entry-level contract Saturday, it was only a matter of time before the Flyers followed suit with Nolan Patrick.

Two days, to be exact.

The Flyers on Monday morning signed Patrick, the No. 2 overall pick in last month's NHL draft, to the maximum three-year entry-level contract for salary and performance bonuses.

Patrick's contract is for three years with an annual average value of $925,000, a source confirmed to CSNPhilly.com.

The 18-year-old Patrick did not participate in the on-ice portion of last week's development camp at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, after undergoing abdominal surgery on June 13.

Ten days ago, Patrick said he would be back on the ice last week (see story). When the Flyers announced Patrick's surgery on June 30, general manager Ron Hextall said the center was 2 to 4 weeks from being fully recovered.

The June 13 surgery repaired a sports hernia injury that pestered him throughout the 2016-17 season with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. Patrick had a similar injury on the other side of his core addressed surgically last summer.

"This will be the first time in a while I've been 100 percent healthy," Patrick said July 7. "That injury was kind of bugging me all season. ... I was probably 60 percent when I first started playing and maybe got up to 70, 75 [percent] tops.

"I never had any wind during games. I'd lose my energy really quick because I'd lose it trying to skate with that injury."

Despite playing through injury last season, Patrick registered scored 30 goals and was slightly above a point-per-game player with 56 points in 55 games with the Wheat Kings.

After being projected as the No. 1 pick this year since the end of the 2016 draft, Patrick fell to the Flyers at No. 2 with Hischier's rise and partially because of his injuries.

All signs point to Patrick's being a Flyer on opening night Oct. 4 in San Jose, assuming all goes well in training camp.

Hextall has repeatedly said this summer he will not block any of his prospects this training camp by signing any veteran free agents. He's committed to the youth movement.

There are expected to be two open forward spots in the top-nine with Patrick and Oskar Lindblom being the favorites. There is also a competition for the fourth-line spots that could see another rookie, Mike Vecchione, and Scott Laughton, 23, make the team.

With Patrick signed and Hextall signing his remaining three restricted free agents Saturday, the Flyers' offseason appears to be complete.

Phil Myers, bulked up and healthy, pledges this Flyers training camp will be different

Phil Myers, bulked up and healthy, pledges this Flyers training camp will be different

VOORHEES, N.J. — Standing at his stall at Flyers Skate Zone during last weekend’s development camp, defenseman Phil Myers towered over everyone else, but there was one noticeable difference.

Myers added about 10 pounds of muscle over the summer, and it shows. On the ice, he looked out of place. He belonged with the orange and black on his sweater. No doubt.

It just didn’t look as if he needed to be on the same sheet with his peers anymore. Perhaps it was the benefits of a full summer of training. Injuries derailed his training last summer.

“I had the same surgery as (Shayne) Gostisbehere,” Myers said. “He had one hip, and Sam Morin, all of those guys got the same thing I did.”

There was a sprained knee suffered at the 2016 Memorial Cup. There was a pubic plate detachment and a torn labrum in his left hip. He underwent hip surgery on June 22, 2016. The recovery wiped out Myers’ summer training. On Sept. 26, 2016, he was medically cleared to return. The next night, he dove into the fray against the New York Islanders.

How did it go? Myers finished as a plus-two with three hits and a blocked shot in 22:39.

“I felt out of shape, obviously, last year,” he said. “The day after I got cleared, I jumped into a preseason game. It jumped up pretty quick. … This summer is going to be different.”

The Flyers insist development camp is not for evaluation. That may be true. Its purpose is to teach prospects how to work and live as a professional hockey player. No matter how much Myers looked like a pro amid his peers, it will not impact his odds come September's training camp when spots are earned in a competitive environment.
 
Myers, 20, is graduating to the professional ranks this season, and where he plays will be up to him. The Flyers have two openings on their blue line, and general manager Ron Hextall is leaving them up for prospects to grab. Robert Hagg and Morin are the front runners.
 
Don’t count Myers out just yet.
 
The Moncton, New Brunswick, native was among the Flyers’ final cuts last October. He stuck around longer than many expected and that was without any summer training.
 
His training this summer has been broken down into phases. The first phase was bulking up and putting on muscle. Mission accomplished. The next phase, according to Myers, is “heavier stuff,” which he said is strength training. His plan is to stay in the Philadelphia area for two weeks after development camp to train and come back 10 days early to skate before the big camp begins in September.
 
“You get stronger and faster,” Myers said. “I’m going to focus on what I can do and what I can control. That’s what I did last year. I just took as much in as possible and tried to get ready as fast as I could because I didn’t really have a lot of time. This year, I have much more time so I’m taking things much more slowly and more controlled.”
 
Last season was another in which Myers trended upward, though it was one mired with injuries; he suffered whiplash in October and a concussion against Team USA at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships. Myers, the only undrafted player on Team Canada’s roster, was arguably the team’s best defenseman before the concussion. His play at the world juniors led to TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeting Myers “looks NHL ready, or close to it.”
 
The smooth-skating 6-foot-5 blueliner registered double-digit goals (10) and 35 points in 34 regular-season games with Rouyn-Noranda of the QMJHL in 2016-17. He ended the regular season on a five-game point streak. He added nine points in 13 playoff games. He finished his QMJHL career with 29 goals and 92 points in 203 games. Like Carter Hart, Myers joined the Phantoms once his season ended but didn’t play.
 
“The injury struggles that he, unfortunately, went through there, those are all opportunities to learn and grow,” Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. “You can see the growth in Phil off-ice when you look at his stature. You just want to see him come into camp and come in and compete as hard as he did last year and improve on the results from last year.”
 
Myers may be at a disadvantage come September. Because of last year's injury-ridden season and the fact that he's coming straight from junior, he may be a few legs behind Hagg, Morin and even Travis Sanheim, who was at his fourth development camp last weekend (see story)
 
While every player’s developmental path is different, Myers has to beat out at least two players with professional experience already and two — Hagg and Morin — who looked the part during their NHL debuts in April. It’s a safe bet that Myers begins at Lehigh Valley.
 
“If he comes in and he’s the best guy or we feel he’s the best guy,” Hextall said of Myers, “he’s going to play. The other guys, whenever you played in the American League, you have a leg up. You expect those guys to come in and be a little more NHL ready than a kid coming right out of junior, but the players are going to dictate who’s on our team.”