On Monday afternoon, general manager Chuck Fletcher and the Philadelphia Flyers took the next step in locking up their offensive future by signing forward, and 2016 NHL Draft pick, Tanner Laczynski to an entry-level contract.
Laczynski was set to finish his senior year with the Ohio State Buckeyes this spring with the Big Ten tournament and then, hopefully, compete for a national title. With 11 goals and 34 points, along with being named an assistant captain, Laczynski was enjoying a solid senior season before the sports world came to a screeching halt.
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Laczynski’s entry-level deal is only for two years, beginning next season, instead of the typical three, as he’s still 22 years old. Hopefully, he can find some solace in a new opportunity with the Flyers after the end of his college career was unexpectedly and unfortunately cut short.
Ohio State Success
After being selected 169th overall by the Flyers in the 2016 NHL Draft out of the USHL, Laczynski joined the Buckeyes to play under coach Steve Rohlik. From the start of his freshmen season, he was turning heads.
With 32 points and a plus-20 rating in his freshmen season, he earned an increased role with the Buckeyes and a spot on Team USA’s 2017 gold medal-winning World Junior Championship roster as well. His offensive surge continued in his next three years with Ohio State.
With 17 goals and a team-leading 47 points through 41 games in his sophomore season, Laczynski was gaining recognition from the NCAA as one of the top emerging talents in college hockey. He also recorded 30 points in his junior season and, again, led his team in scoring with 34 points in his final year.
Since the NCAA
Becoming A Flyer
Laczynski had an opportunity to sign with the Flyers last year but decided to conclude his college career with the Buckeyes. After an impressive display in his senior season, the Flyers were patiently waiting for the opportunity to ink the Illinois native.
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He’s already participated in three Flyers Development Camps, from 2016 to 2018, making him a familiar face around the organization.
The Flyers are adding Laczynski to a deep pool of centers. From veteran leaders like Kevin Hayes and Sean Couturier to newcomers like Derek Grant and Nate Thompson to hopeful competitors like Nolan Patrick, Morgan Frost, and Connor Bunnaman, Laczynski has plenty of names to compete with on the depth chart.
With so many players vying for four available spots, Laczynski will likely get pushed down to the Phantoms, as we saw with Morgan Frost. However, that doesn’t mean that his chance with the Flyers won’t come soon.
With a new entry-level deal under his belt, Laczynski will likely make a legitimate push to join the Flyers roster next season despite the offensive talent already spread throughout the lineup and on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He’ll have his work cut out for him at the start of next season.
Laczynski’s Strong Suits
Laczynski is a leader and an offensive weapon but he also excels at both ends of the ice, adding strength and finesse to his shooting prowess.
“Tanner has completed an excellent college career at Ohio State University and we are very excited to have him under contract,” said vice president and assistant general manager Brent Flahr. “He plays a mature two-way game, he’s a proven leader, and we see him as a versatile forward for the Flyers organization going forward.”
As he’s done for the past four years at Ohio State, Laczynski will have to be impressive next season if he wants to earn a spot with the Flyers. However, his new deal will hopefully thwart any doubts about the team’s interest in him. Perhaps it will also help bridge the gap between a prematurely ended college career and the tough road ahead.
As a lifelong hockey player and diehard Philadelphia Flyers fanatic, I’ve always dreamed of covering the team I grew up watching. In my work, I try to combine my knowledge of the sport’s intricate and statistical details with my perspective as a passionate fan. Bringing my love for Flyers hockey to The Hockey Writers one article at a time.