The Philadelphia Flyers have a pair of brothers in their organization in the form of Jackson Cates and Noah Cates.
Noah Cates, 22, was a fifth-round pick (137th overall) in the 2017 NHL Draft. He is not under contract, however, with the Flyers owning his rights while he plays at the University of Minnesota-Duluth in the NCAA.
Jackson Cates, 23, just signed an entry-level contract with the Flyers late last week after spending three years at UMD.
The two brothers took different paths to the NHL and Jackson is getting a bit of a head start.
“Good possibility” that Jackson Cates plays this season
With the Flyers out of the playoff race, they’re going to look to the future and try to evaluate some young players during the remainder of the season.
“I’ve talked to [Chuck Fletcher] about this on a couple of occasions: There’s probably a couple of young guys that we’re going to want to take a look at here moving forward, so we’re going to use this time wisely,” Alain Vigneault said after practice on Tuesday.
Jackson Cates is one of those young players.
“We’re going to look at our games here moving forward,” Vigneault said. “There is a good possibility that he’s going to get into some games.”
Vigneault mentioned that Fletcher gave him a scouting report of Jackson Cates as a 200-foot center that works hard. He had 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) in 28 games this season for the Bulldogs.
With Tanner Laczynski dealing with a hip issue, Cates moves up the depth chart. He was on the ice with the team for the first time on Wednesday and led the stretches after practice.
Jackson Cates gets stick taps from teammates as he leads stretches after his first Flyers practice with full team. pic.twitter.com/o8HZvrwRBN
— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) April 21, 2021
Cates likely won’t play on Thursday night, but keep an eye out for him joining the lineup this season.
Noah Cates returning to University of Minnesota-Duluth
While his older brother is getting ready to make his NHL debut, Noah Cates has decided to return for his senior year at UMD.
… and captain Noah Cates.
They're all coming back to the Bulldogs in 2021-22.
— Matt Wellens (@mattwellens) April 20, 2021
Noah was the captain in his junior year, recording 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) in 28 games. He had 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) in his sophomore campaign.
Noah is excited for his older brother.
“It’s a really good spot for him and I’m just excited to watch him this next month and next season,” Noah said. “I’m excited to see how it goes for him and kind of see what that level is and see what he says about it.”
The Flyers are going to have to wait another year to sign Noah, but they’ll get a chance to see what Jackson can do in this season and beyond.
Photo: Heather Barry Images