Let me know if you’ve heard this statement before. ‘The Philadelphia Flyer’s farm system is stockpiled with quality prospects.’ I’m sure you have. I say it all of the time. Although this is a great problem to have, the reality is that not every former draft pick is going to find a home within the organization. This, of course, will lead to trades, or in some cases, no entry-level contract offer. Enter former sixth-round pick, Tanner Laczynski of Ohio State University.
Halfway through his junior season, Laczynski is having a solid year. With 25 points through 21 games, the Illinois native should finish close to last season’s point total and is one of the 80-plus nominees for the 2019 Hobey Baker Award. Unfortunately, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding his future with the Flyers. There are some people that claim that he does possess the necessary skating ability to hang in the NHL. Others, including myself, are finding a hard time determining where he would fit on the Flyers but can picture him as a solid bottom-six forward on another team.
Regardless of what your thoughts of Laczynski are, any decisions about his future depend on whether he wins the 2019 Hobey Baker Award.
If Tanner Laczynski Wins the Hobey Baker Award
Let me start off by saying the chances of Laczynski winning the Hobey Baker Award this year are slim. As I mentioned before, there are 80-plus nominees and some are more deserving of the award this season. However, let’s picture that he is crowned the winner.
From a personal standpoint, Laczynski would have accomplished everything he needed to at the collegiate level. Looking to sign an entry-level contract would certainly start to pique his interest. Additionally, winning the Hobey Baker Award would increase his stock as a prospect. Although the Flyers could extend an entry-level contract to Laczynski, Chuck Fletcher will most likely reach out to other teams with the hopes of making a deal. Laczynski’s rights would be a nice piece to add in a package for an NHL-roster player with term left on his contract.
It’s challenging to picture Laczynski being viewed as a piece of the Flyers future because of all of the quality depth at his position. However, this does not mean his value is nonexistent.
If Tanner Laczynski Doesn’t win the Hobey Baker Award
Laczynski not winning the Hobey Baker Award is the more likely outcome of the two. If this becomes reality, his future plans will certainly involve returning to Ohio State for his senior season. Just being one of the nominees will make him hungry enough to see if he can finish the job next season.
Even in this scenario, the end result remains the same. Tanner Laczynski will not be a part of the Philadelphia Flyers future. He will either have his rights traded or he will wait to become an unrestricted free agent and sign elsewhere. The young forward has a future in professional hockey. Unfortunately, it is not in Philadelphia.
AP Photo/Al Goldis