When Union’s season ended in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Mike Vecchione returned home to decide his future. A few days later, he determined the Philadelphia Flyers were the best fit. The team announced they have signed Vecchione to an entry-level contract.
Due to his age, the contract is only for one season. He will, however, be a restricted free agent after the season. This will allow the Flyers to have the first crack at re-signing him.
Mike Vecchione Signs Entry Level Contract
Vecchione is no stranger to the Flyers organization. He attended their development camp last summer. After deciding to head back for his senior season, Vecchione was determined to put his struggles from last year behind him.
The 24-year-old would do just that as he finished his final season with 29 goals and 34 assists in 38 games. He would be named the ECAC Player of the Year.
Vecchione led the nation with 21 multiple point games and in game-winning goals with seven. His 1.66 point per game average tied him for first in the nation while his 29 goals put him second in the nation.
He would finish his career at Union with 71 goals and 105 assists in 149 games. His total assists and 176 points make him Union’s all time points and assist leader.
Vecchione is among the finalists for the Hobey Baker award, an award given to the top collegiate men’s ice hockey player. Zach Aston-Reese and Will Butcher are the other finalists. The winner will be announced on Friday April 7th.
He won’t have much time to get his feet wet with five games remaining. But GM Ron Hextall says the forward will play this season. He will be at morning skate when the team take on the New Jersey Devils tomorrow. Vecchione is not expected to play in that game, however.
Vecs: "A dream come true. In my heart, I felt I had the best opportunity" in Philly.
Both Hextall and former Union teammate Shayne Gostisbehere offered their take on what Vecchione can bring to the team.
““What I see is a kid who works really hard,” Hextall said. “He’s got good hockey sense. He makes plays. He’s a responsible player, strong on the puck. He’s a well-rounded player is what we see. In terms of his ceiling, kids gotta come in and show us what they can do.”
Playing with Vecchione when Union won the national championship in 2014, Gostisbehere had his own scouting report to offer.
“He’s a great two-way guy,” Gostisbehere said. “He goes to the dirty areas. He’s so reliable defensively and has the skill to put the puck in the back of the net. He can make the play. He’s an all-situation guy.”
Vecchione also mentioned that Ghost played a minor part in his decision to sign with Philadelphia.
“I talked to Ghost. He obviously wanted me to go there, but at the same time it’s what’s best for me and my future and it’s ultimately my decision. It’s nice having someone around I know pretty well. He didn’t have to do much persuading. The Philadelphia Flyers organization and the opportunities they presented me with was all the persuasion as it was. Just having Ghost there was a plus.”
Vecchione also said that he wanted to sign with a team that would give him the best chance to play right away. The New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning were among the other teams pursuing his rights. It was the Flyers that Vecchione decided gave him the best chance.
Scouting Report from Ben Kerr
Vecchione has had an excellent college career including helping the Dutchmen to win their first ever Frozen Four Title in 2014. This year he has been outstanding with 26 goals and 58 points in 34 games. The numbers put him amongst the leaders in College Hockey, and make him a contender for the Hobey Baker award. Offensively, Vecchione has good speed, a hard accurate shot with a good release, and the vision and play making skills to set-up teammates. He’s not a one-trick pony though, as Vecchione plays an excellent two-way game. He is very good in the face-off circle. He also provides solid back pressure and helps out his teammates down low. Vecchione has been a solid penalty killer for Union as well.
Main Photo: BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 5: Mike Vecchione #21 of the Union College Dutchmen warms up prior to a game against the Boston University Terriers during NCAA hockey at Agganis Arena on January 5, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Terriers won 5-4 in overtime. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)