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Flyers Decline Signing High-Scoring Draft Choice; Make Offer to Local Player



Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers announced they had made offers to a pair of 2021 draft picks on Wednesday.

But the most eye-opening development was the player they didn’t sign.

The club turned down a chance to sign Connor McClennon, a 5-foot-8, 167-pound right winger who had 43 goals and 81 points in 62 games last season for the Winnipeg Ice of the Western Hockey League.

He had eight more goals than teammate Matthew Savoie (35 goals, 90 points), a center who is expected to be an early first-round selection in this summer’s draft — maybe even to the Flyers at No. 5 overall.

An NHL source said McClennon needs to improve his skating to get to the next level.

The Flyers, apparently, agreed.

McClennon, who turns 20 on June 25, was selected by the Flyers in the sixth round of the 2020 draft. He will now go back into this year’s draft, which will be held July 7-8 in Montreal.

The Flyers and McClennon’s agent explored trade options, but nothing developed.

Philly owned his signing rights until Wednesday. It didn’t help McClennon that the Flyers have a plethora of blossoming right wingers.

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The Philadelphia Flyers also decided not to sign 6-3, 203-pound left winger/center Marcus Westfalt, 22, a seventh-round selection in the 2018 draft. He played professionally in Sweden last season and had 22 points (12-10) in 51 games.

Meanwhile, the Flyers extended offers to center Owen McLaughlin (6-0, 160) and defenseman Ethan Samson (6-3, 186), players drafted last year.

McLaughlin, 19, is a Phoenixville native who was drafted in the seventh round. Last season, he had 28 goals and 72 points in 62 games for the USHL’s Sioux City Muskateers.

Samson, 18, a sixth-round selection, had a breakout season with Prince George in the WHL, collecting 15 goals and 43 points in 68 games.

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