The 24-year-old center signed a one-year entry-level deal with the club that will kick in immediately, meaning they officially have his services for the five remaining games this season before he becomes a restricted free agent. However, given the RFA status and obvious weight this decision bears on the rest of his career, it’s safe to assume Vecchione will be here for the foreseeable future.
So, why the Flyers?
A transitioning club in the midst of their first “rebuild” in quite some time, the Flyers are in the midst of a tough season. They’ll most likely miss out on the playoffs after sneaking in last season and hit some pretty low skids throughout the year.
However, with some young budding stars, a system stocked with prospects and, perhaps, some promises of playing time in a position he’s comfortable with, Vecchione said that in his gut, he wanted to come to Philly.
“I couldn’t be happier. It’s a dream come true,” said Vecchione to members of the media on Friday afternoon.
“Ultimately my agent cut me off and said, ‘If I don’t cut you off, it seems like you could have kept going with the pros.’ I think that right there was where it kind of hit me that deep down I kept finding pros to go to Philly,” Vecchione said via Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post.
The center wanted to sign somewhere that he could find playing time right away, and playing time as a center at that. With Claude Giroux, Valtteri Filppula, Sean Couturier and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare already lined up down the middle, it seemed as if the Flyers wouldn’t be able to make that offer.
And yet Vecchione signed as a center and the Flyers signed him as one as well. That likely (hopefully?) means that Bellemare will be pushed to the left wing when Vecchione makes his Flyers and NHL debut likely sometime this weekend, though the team will have to fill the hole in the lineup left by Matt Read either way.
Sunday against the New York Rangers seems like a pretty safe bet for Vecchione’s debut but now that he’s officially a member of the squad, he’ll take part in the morning skate on Saturday regardless of when his debut lies.
The contract situation may seem odd, but guaranteeing NHL time was the only way to land Vecchione’s services this week.
“It’s one of those things when a guy is in demand,” Hextall said. “You want to get in the game or get out of the game. If you’re not going to bring him right in, you’re out of the game.”
“What I see is a kid who works really hard,” Hextall said via Dave Isaac/Courier-Post. “He’s got good hockey sense. He makes plays. He’s a responsible player, strong on the puck. He’s a well-rounded player.”
“We have our ideas, but we feel like he’ll fit into our group real well. His character, from everything that we’ve heard and seen is top shelf.”
Why do you think he chose the Flyers, Ron?
“I think Ghost had a big impact on him. I think our core values had an impact on him,” Hextall said. “We think he is a great for us.”
Shayne Gostisbehere, of course, is pumped that his former Union teammate chose Philadelphia.
“He’s a great two-way guy. He’s got great skill but he goes to the dirty areas to do it,” Gostisbehere said. “He’s so reliably defensively and he also has the skill to put the puck in the back of the net and make plays. He’s an all-sitation guy and he can fit in in a lot of places and having a guy so versatile like that is cool.”
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