The Philadelphia Flyers, whose farm system is not overflowing with quality prospects, could use a boost from a standout college free agent or two.
Why would a free agent want to join the lowly Flyers?
Well, with not a lot of depth in the system, the chance to play relatively soon — maybe even this year — might be attractive.
Many college stars are in the final weeks of their seasons, so signing with an NHL team could happen soon. For those playing on teams competing for the NCAA national title, they won’t be available until as late as April 9, when the Frozen Four championship is held in Boston.
“To be honest with you, the agents do a pretty good job of blowing up the free-agent market,” Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said on Thursday.
He meant they make the college free agents sound better than they are.
That said, there are some collegians the Flyers would like to sign. It will depend on what they do by the March 21 trade deadline, however, because if they acquire some prospects, they may not have room for a college player or two.
“We have a couple of guys we’ve targeted,” Flahr said of the college free agents. “At the same time, we have to be a little careful of muddying the waters and taking opportunities away from guys we already have. We’ll see where it goes.”
Remember the name
Many scouts rate center Ben Meyers, 23, as the top NCAA free agent. He attends the University of Minnesota, and was a star at a Minnesota high school located about 45 minutes west of where he goes to college.
And, yes, the Philadelphia Flyers’ two main front-office players — general manager Chuck Fletcher and Flahr — have a strong Minnesota ties.
They have followed Meyers for years in the State of Hockey, and they even had him in the Flyers’ development camp a few years ago.
“He’s a late-bloomer,” Flahr said. “He kind of didn’t get traction until he was a 19- or 20-year-old in the USHL, and then he really started to go.”
Meyers has had offers from teams “since his freshman year, and he thought he needed to work on his game and get stronger,” Flahr said, explaining why he remained in college. “He’s not not the biggest body, but he’s well put together and has very good speed; he’s really improved his overall two-way game.”
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Meyers starred in this year’s Beijing Olympics — he had two goals and four points in Team USA’s four games — and is having an outstanding season with powerful Minnesota. He gave a strong showing at the