Busy Second Day Of Free Agency For Flyers/Phantoms

Thursday, July 3, 2014
Bringing back Jason Akeson was one of many move the Flyers made today.
The Philadelphia Flyers didn't make any big splashes Tuesday in the start of free agency, signing goaltenders Ray Emery (one-way, $1 million) and Rob Zepp (two-way, $600,000) and forward Blair Jones (two-way contract), but were active bolstering the depth of their roster in Day Two.

They started the day by re-signing restricted free agent forward Jason Akeson to a two-way NHL contract. While in the AHL with the Adirondack Phantoms last season, Akeson was a game-changer. Not only was he one of few bright spots on a Phantoms team that finished 27th in the league in 2013-14, Akeson's 64 points (24G-40A) in 70 games had him 10th in the entire AHL in scoring.

Akeson wasn't done there either, joining the Flyers at the tail end of the regular season and appearing in all seven games of their postseason series with the Rangers, tallying three points (2G-1A). It's clear that Akeson is on the way up and that his future is bright. It will be interesting to see if he can make the NHL club out of training camp in the fall.

A quick self synopsis of Akeson's game in an interview I conducted this past season:

"I don't think it's a secret that I like to play in the offensive zone. If I can get the opportunity to do that then that's what I want to do but it's a full-ice game. I'm just trying to make that improvement so that I can make the step to the next level." 

The Flyers focus on Wednesday seemed to be that of building depth and improving the AHL roster. They traded restricted free agent forward Tye McGinn to the San Jose Sharks for a 3rd round draft pick and signed free agent defenseman Nick Schultz as a 7th defenseman at the NHL level, but other than that it was two-way contracts to players who played most of last season in the AHL.

The Flyers signed forwards Andrew Gordon and Zack Stortini to two-way NHL contracts to help address two completely different needs.

Gordon is a perennial headache for his AHL adversaries, scoring at nearly point-per-game pace over his seven AHL seasons. Last season with the St. John's IceCaps, Gordon tallied 57 points (23G-34A) in 76 regular season games while also adding 19 points (8G-11A) in 21 Calder Cup Playoff games. His 19 points in the 2014 playoffs were tied for second most in the league.

Stortini is a headache to his opponents, but for a different reason. The 6-4, 232 pound forward is a big physical bruiser on the ice and instantly makes the AHL team a lot tougher. He only scored four goals in 73 games with the Norfolk Admirals this past season, but his 299 penalty minutes were tops in the league.

Add these veterans to a group of prospects likely entering their rookie season with the Phantoms in 2014-15 - Anthony Stolarz, Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Haag and Scott Laughton - and the Flyers are building a much needed competitive AHL roster for the team's first season in Allentown in the fall.


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