In the not-so-distant past, the Philadelphia Flyers were known for having a plentiful pool of defensive prospects. Aside from Ivan Provorov, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms benefitted from having all of these blueline studs on the roster for a little bit. Now, all of those once-promising prospects are mainstays on the NHL roster. Although Chuck Fletcher addressed the need to bring in more defensemen during last weekend’s draft, the youth on Lehigh Valley’s blueline is still quite bleak. That can change with the signing of one particular individual. Everett, Washington native Wyatte Wylie.
Wylie, set to turn 20 at the beginning of November, is a right-shot defenseman that has spent the past three seasons playing for his hometown Everett Silvertips of the WHL. For the young blueliner, playing Everett has been a special experience. In an interview during Flyers Developmental Camp, he stated, “It’s an honor to play for hometown in Everett. They have a dedicated following there, and the fans are so passionate. It’s great for sure, especially for my family, as well.”
However, it is time for him to move on to the AHL. Not because he’s tired of playing in front of his family and friends, but because it’s necessary for his development. For young players, progression in their skills is key. Playing against the same level of competition for four years can take a toll on that progression. Wylie has proved all he needs to in the WHL. It is now the perfect time to test his talents and develop at the next level.
Of course, there is one this holding back Wylie from joining the Phantoms next season. The Flyers have yet to offer the young defenseman his entry-level contract. So as of right now, his future hockey plans include a fourth year in Everett.
To put it bluntly, the fact that Wyatte Wylie is not a signed member of the Flyers organization is puzzling. Not only does Lehigh Valley need youth on defense, but Wylie has also proven he deserves to be there. He put together his best season with Everett last year, posting a career-high 47 points in 67 games. On top of the numbers, Wylie has proven to be incredibly versatile and open to whatever role his team needs. Throughout the early stages of his WHL career, Wylie was asked to play almost exclusively on his off-hand. He explained, “It was tough to get used to playing on my off hand. It was a tough transition, and it is hard. I think now I’m more used to it and have become comfortable with it.”
Even this past year, Wylie was occasionally asked to play on his off-hand. As a more proven member of the team, he still agreed to do so without hesitation. Not only did he jump into that role with no questions asked, but he was also pretty good at it.
Obviously, Wylie would prefer to play on his dominant side. Still, he is willing to do whatever the Flyers ask of him. He stated, “I will play on any side the Flyers want me too. Left or Right. Whatever they want I will do. I’m becoming more comfortable playing on my off hand.”
Now it is time for Chuck Fletcher and the Flyers to act. According to Wyatte Wylie this past Tuesday, “The Flyers have not had any conversations with me about an ELC. I am supposed to have a meeting with Chuck Fletcher, so we will see how that goes. I don’t know when sometime during camp.” Developmental Camp is now over and Wylie is still not signed. That, my friends, needs to change.
I’d like to take a quick second and thank PSN Flyers writer Jamey Baskow for gathering the quotes for this piece.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ron Jenkins Getty Images