The Philadelphia Flyers announced the signing of two wingers to entry-level deals Monday.
They made one of the worst-kept secrets official today with the signing of rugged Peterborough Petes right winger Derek Mathers, who had made the signing public knowledge via Twitter on May 17.
So happy to sign my first NHL contract with Philly. Thanks to everyone for the support all the way through.— Derek Mathers (@derekmathers) May 17, 2012
There is no doubt as to what the tough energy forward brings to the table, as evidenced by his 348 penalty minutes in 140 OHL games. Those totals include nine goals, 17 points, and 177 PIMs in 65 contests last year.
When Peterborough was knocked out of the OHL playoffs, Mathers -- a defenseman during his days of youth hockey -- then signed an amateur tryout contract with the Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers' AHL affiliate, where he failed to post a point and notched 26 PIMs.
The 18-year-old Mathers will compete with a plethora of young Flyers prospects to make the team out of training camp this fall -- something they had this past year with Sean Couturier and Zac Rinaldo -- although it's likely Mathers will require additional development.
General manager Paul Holmgren also announced Philadelphia has signed Andrew Johnston, a 20-year-old undrafted free agent left wing from Saskatchewan.
Johnston has played in the Sakatchewan Junior Hockey League for the past three seasons, the first two with the Flin Flon Bombers (former Flyers legends Bobby Clarke and Reggie Leach's stomping grounds as youngsters), scoring 78 goals, posting 190 points and 146 PIMs in 171 SJHL games. Included in that total was a 29-goal, 81-point 2011-12 season with the Humboldt Broncos, where he also racked up impressive postseason totals of 10 goals, 14 points, and 28 PIMs in 16 playoff contests.
The Flyers were dominated along the walls during their Eastern Conference semifinal loss to the New Jersey Devils, and other than the team's defense, the only other spot Holmgren is likely to revamp is the wings. The GM began the process last summer by acquiring youngsters Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds, and signing unrestricted free agent Jaromir Jagr.
Here is the Flyers' official press release announcing the signings:
The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have signed RW Derek Mathers and LW Andrew Johnston to entry-level contracts, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.
Mathers, 18 (8/4/93), was selected by the Flyers in the seventh round (206th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. In 65 games with Peterborough of the Ontario Hockey League last season, the 6-3, 225-lb native of Strathroy, Ontario scored nine goals and added eight assists for 17 points while gathering 177 PIM. He joined the Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, at the conclusion of Peterborough's season and accrued 26 PIM in nine games.
Johnston, 20 (7/6/91) comes to the Flyers as an undrafted free agent out of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, where he appeared in 58 games for the Humboldt Broncos last season. The 6-1, 178-pound native of Saskatoon recorded 29 goals and 52 assists for 81 points and led the Broncos to the league's Anavet Cup championship.