With the deadline to sign him later today, the Philadelphia Flyers are going to watch at least one draft pick become an unrestricted free agent. Olivia Reiner of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Flyers will not sign Connor McClennon to an entry-level contract.
McClennon, 19, was selected 178th overall in 2020 and has taken his game to a new level this season for the Winnipeg ICE. Playing with a forward group that is loaded with offensive talent, the undersized forward took full advantage, scoring 43 goals to lead the club in just 62 games. His playoff performance was much of the same, with 21 points in 15 games before the ICE eventually lost to the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Still, it’s hard to know if his performance was a true step forward or just the result of playing with names like Matthew Savoie and Conor Geekietwo of the top handful of prospects for the 2022 draft. Charlie O’Connor of The Athletic tweets that the organization is not satisfied with McClennon’s skating, given his small stature.
Of note, McClennon could still sign a contract with the Flyers in the future but he will not be limited to them once the deadline passes. If another team wants to offer him an entry-level contract, he’ll be eligible to sign it as soon as this evening. He’s one of many players drafted in 2018 or 2020 that will become free agents today, including first-round pick Filip Johansson.
Later in the day, the team confirmed that they will also not sign Marcus Westfalt, the other player whose rights will expire today. The 22-year-old winger has been stuck in the Swedish second tier for several years and was always a longshot to sign after being selected in the seventh round of the 2018 draft.