Flyers News & Rumors: Cates, Attard, Eliminated From Playoff Contention

The regular season is nearing an end, with no playoffs in sight for the Philadelphia Flyers this season. The college seasons are also ending, so it’s time to sign players and give them an NHL tryout as roster spots open up. The Flyers have followed the formula for a rebuilding or retooling team to a tee, so with new blood injected into the lineup, the final games of the season should have fans excited about the future.

Noah Cates’ NHL Debut

Noah Cates, a 2017 fifth-round pick of the Flyers, is the younger brother of another Philadelphia prospect, Jackson Cates. He was a member of Team USA at the 2022 Winter Olympics and played alongside teammate Joel Farabee on the 2019 USA World Junior Team.

Cates’ collegiate career for Minnesota-Duluth ended with their season on Saturday, and he signed an entry-level deal with the Flyers with a cap hit of $925,000 for the remainder of this season and next. He was the Minnesota-Duluth captain for the past two seasons, and the team fell just short of the Frozen Four for the fifth season in a row when they lost 2-1 to Denver. He ended his college career with 39 goals and 60 assists in 139 games before joining the Flyers for their game against the Minnesota Wild.

Noah Cates UMD Athletics
Noah Cates, UMD Bulldogs (Terry Cartie Norton-UMD Athletics)

Cates grew up 20 miles outside of St. Paul, where he made his NHL debut. He was lined up beside young teammates Morgan Frost and Owen Tippett to give them a glimpse of what the future holds. Cates played 14:52, including over a minute on the penalty kill. He recorded three shots, three hits, and three takeaways. All in all, it was a solid first NHL game against a very tough opponent who was on a six-game winning streak.

Ronnie Attard Signs

Flyers prospect Ronnie Attard signed a two-year, $2.7 million contract with a cap hit of $883,750 a season. He is a 2019 third-round pick by the Flyers and, like Cates, his college career and season ended after a defeat just short of the Frozen Four – Western Michigan University was shut out by Minnesota who advanced.

Attard is a big 23-year-old defenceman who has now joined the Flyers but has yet to play a game. He can score. In 2018-19, he set a USHL league record for the most goals by a defenceman in a single season with 30 in 48 games.

Ronnie Attard of the Tri-City Storm
Ronnie Attard of the Tri-City Storm (courtesy USHL)

Much of his game is focused on offence, and described him as “playing a hyper-aggressive rover type game that carries him all over the ice. Very rarely does he back off the line defensively.” This would allow the projected high-flying offence of the future to keep the other team pinned in their zone longer and create more chances. Combined with his size, Attard should also be able to keep opponents from getting around him at the blue line.

He will have to improve his foot speed but is also great at filling passing and shooting lanes with his frame and long reach. Paired with a right defensively-minded partner on the back-end, Attard could reach his full potential for the Flyers and quickly. As a right-shot defenceman, the Flyers may have found their third-pairing player for next season if his trial goes well.

Flyers Mathematically Eliminated From Playoff Contention in 2022

The Flyers were officially eliminated from playoff contention after their loss to the Wild two days ago. They’ve missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since the early 1990s (1992-93 and 1993-94).

After the Flyers brought in Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Keith Yandle, the season looked promising to start with a revamped defence core. They paid a hefty price for the first two and were able to bring Ristolainen back for five more seasons at a reduced price.

However, 2021-22 went off the rails after a 4-1-1 start when Ellis suffered a season-ending injury five games in. His wasn’t the only impactful injury the Flyers had to endure, as Sean Couturier played only 29 games before being shut down for the season, Kevin Hayes missed 34 games, and Farabee missed 18. To have the top two centermen miss significant time, along with Derick Brassard, who also missed several games, as one of the key replacements for a portion of the season, had a major impact.

Related: Flyers: Giroux’s Comments About Farabee Point to a Bright Future

It is time for the Flyers to offer tryouts to more young players and get a head start on next season’s training camp with 15 remaining games that mean very little.

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