Philadelphia Flyers’ Ronnie Attard Set to Make An Impact in NHL Debut

Monday evening, the Philadelphia Flyers made another dream come true as the organization signed defenseman Ronnie Attard to a two-year entry-level contract that begins this season. Attard was drafted 72nd overall by the Flyers in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to joining the team, he spent the last three seasons at Western Michigan University, where he played 94 games and produced 72 points (27 goals and 45 assists). 

He recently wrapped up a successful career with the Broncos after the team was eliminated from the NCAA tournament at the hands of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The 23-year-old finished his final NCAA season third in scoring among defensemen with 36 points (from ‘Ronnie Attard brings his game and a smile to his first Flyers practice,’ Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/31/2022).

“[Four] days ago, I was playing a college hockey game,” Attard said. “I never would have thought I’d be sitting here. Just a little bit of a reset. A little bit upset that our season ended the way it did. But just come in with a fresh start and do whatever I can to contribute to help here.”

Ronnie Attard Philadelphia Flyers
Ronnie Attard, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He is expected to make his NHL debut Saturday evening as the Flyers take on the star-studded Toronto Maple Leafs. The young defenseman was practicing with Nick Seeler on the third defensive pairing this past week, which will more than likely be the bottom pairing for Saturday’s game. Ahead of Saturday, he found out that his parents, Tom and Sue, will be in attendance, as well as some other family and friends.

Getting Familiar With Philadelphia

The transition from college to the NHL can be difficult for some players, but certainly becomes much easier when a former teammate, Wade Allison — a graduate of Western Michigan — spent the last two seasons in the Flyers’ organization. Allison and Attard spent one season together at Western Michigan before transitioning into the Flyers organization at separate times, but have stayed in touch over the years as both players were drafted by the team.

The pair are more than familiar with one another, as they have followed a similar career path over the last couple of seasons. Prior to attending Western Michigan, both Allison and Attard played for the Tri-City Storm, a USHL program, a few years apart from each other. Both coming from the same systems, they have similar styles of play, which will be a huge advantage for stepping into the lineup right away.

“I’ve been blowing Wade’s phone up the last couple of days,” Attard said with a laugh after his first practice. “We’ve been talking quite a bit here, just common questions — what to bring, what to pack, what to expect. He’s been a huge help; it’s been nice having that tool.”

Allison has been a huge help to Attard since signing with the organization and along the way in recent years. It is only a matter of time before both players are on the ice together once again. The Flyers will benefit from their style of play moving forward into next season and beyond.

What Does Attard Bring to Philadelphia?

Attard is a big-bodied, skilled defenseman that is not afraid to be physical when he needs. He moves the puck very well, and can put up points in crucial situations. The Flyers were high on drafting him after he scored 30 goals in his final USHL season, but since then he has come a long way, and for the better. 

“I’ve made a lot of steps in my game since my draft year,” Attard told NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I’ve worked a lot on my defensive game and just my ability to close on players. My foot speed is something I continue to still work on.

“Just want to be able to help defend hard in the D-zone, move the puck up to the forwards and if there’s an opportunity to jump, I’ll take that opportunity.” 

The 23-year-old defenseman brings a blend of defense and offense on the back end as he is mobile and big. Interim head coach Mike Yeo had the opportunity to watch the new defenseman earlier in the year before signing with the team. Yeo will give him the opportunity to learn and grow while developing into an NHL player for the remainder of the season.

“He’s a guy that we want to get a real good look at here,” Yeo said. “It’s not going to be one of those situations where he goes out and makes a mistake and doesn’t get back on the ice; we’re going to give him a good opportunity to play

“I’m excited for him to play in his first game. I really liked what I saw from him in practice today as far as just the toolset that he has.

“The one game that I saw him play in college, I saw him playing off the flank, sort of where [Alex] Ovechkin would play, and he sat on that dot and he ripped about three, four real hard one-timers. I would like to see him out in that position, as well.”

Since being drafted, he has taken major steps in the right direction. He has done everything the organization has asked of him, and more. It will be exciting to see him at the NHL level for the rest of the season as the team goes through an almost-rebuild process. He is the perfect player to give an opportunity to and hopefully, he will flourish.

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

The Flyers were officially eliminated from playoff contention after losing to the Minnesota Wild Tuesday evening. With the loss, the team will be allowed to try new things. There are going to be plenty of odd moves made in the lineup over the last month of the season, but it is all for the better as younger players like Attard will be given the opportunity to learn at the highest level of hockey.

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