One day after losing defenseman Andrej Meszaros to a possible season-ending injury, the Flyers locked up one candidate to replace him in the lineup.
The Flyers announced that they have signed defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon to a multi-year contract extension, in addition to signing first round pick Scott Laughton to a three-year entry-level deal.
Bourdon, 22, appeared in 45 games for the Flyers last season. He was a restricted free agent this summer, after earning a prorated share of his $875,000 contract last season. Bourdon was originally re-called in November from the Phantoms after Chris Pronger and Braydon Coburn went down with their injuries. He skated in one first round playoff game against the Penguins.
The Flyers nabbed Laughton, 19, with the 20th overall pick in June’s Entry Draft in Pittsburgh. Laughton racked up 53 points in 64 games with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals last season, despite scoring just three goals in the first 29 games of the season. He rallied to finish the season as one of the OHL’s most complete players and a standout on Canada’s Under 18 World Championship squad.
Laughton attended the Flyers’ development camp in June and impressed with his hockey sense and defensive capabilities. He will likely be sent back to the OHL for another year of seasoning, at which point his contract will not begin and slide until he begins his professional career.
It was smart for both the Flyers and Laughton to ink a deal now, before the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on Sept. 15. Among the new proposals from the NHL, owners are seeking to extend entry-level deals to five years instead of the maximum three. For Laughton, he becomes a restricted free agent – with the possibility of more wealth – more quickly. For the Flyers, there is less of a guaranteed term and financial commitment for a relatively unknown commodity.
A date to open training camp has not been officially announced – and a looming NHL lockout would put that in jeopardy regardless. The Flyers’ first preseason game is slated for Sept. 25 against Chicago.
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