End to End: What Does No. 2 Pick Mean for Mike Vecchione? | NBC 10 Philadelphia

End to End: What Does No. 2 Pick Mean for Mike Vecchione?

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    End to End: What Does No. 2 Pick Mean for Mike Vecchione?
    CSNPhilly.com
    End to End: What does No. 2 pick mean for Mike Vecchione?

    Throughout the offseason, we'll ask questions about the Flyers to our resident hockey analysts and see what they have to say.

    Going End to End today are CSNPhilly.com producers/reporters Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone.

    The question: What does the No. 2 pick mean for Mike Vecchione?

    Dougherty
    If we are looking for a loser in the Flyers landing the No. 2 pick, we don't have to go too far. It's Vecchione, the Hobey Baker finalist who signed here as a college free agent March 31. 

    Vecchione chose the Flyers over signing elsewhere because of the opportunity to play right away, and the team's future at forward was not as promising as its blue line.

    That changed on April 29, when the Flyers were awarded the No. 2 pick in the draft lottery.

    The Flyers will now add either Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier. Either one is expected to compete for a roster spot, and there is a fair chance either one cracks the lineup in 2017-18.

    Add in Oskar Lindblom, who still has to sign his entry-level contract but will be coming over from Sweden, and the Flyers' forward picture is a lot different than it was March 31.

    Many expect Lindblom to make the Flyers out of training camp. There are as many as 17 forwards (more on this Sunday) competing for 12 forward spots.

    During the Flyers' exit day, Vecchione said, "The opportunities were talked about, but not promised." He knew he would have to earn his spot regardless of the draft lottery.

    But the water is murkier for Vecchione today than it was when he signed here. It makes you wonder if he still would have signed here had he known the Flyers would get the No. 2 pick.

    I bet he wouldn't have.

    Hall
    What it means for Vecchione is simple: more competition.

    And that's the NHL, exactly what Vecchione expected. He didn't sign with the Flyers because he knew a job was being handed to him on a silver platter.

    There was going to be competition and now there's more.

    He was cognizant of that even before the No. 2 pick fell in the Flyers' lap.

    "It's the big leagues now and you've got to work for it," Vecchione said back in early April. "Everything's really in my hands now. I have to go off and have a great offseason, come back in top shape and battle for a job.

    "I've always based my success off hard work and dedication, heart and all that stuff. It's going to be a pretty long offseason. I'm going to be focused, come back and win myself a job."

    The Flyers have plans for Vecchione. He's a smart and mature kid with experience thanks to four years at Union College. And he's right, his success has always been predicated on work ethic. After all, he's only a generous 5-foot-10 and 194 pounds.

    With things as they are now, there will likely be one to two spots open among the Flyers' line combinations. In training camp, Vecchione will now have to show even more to win a job with the big club and earn playing time.

    But he's certainly not on the outside looking in.

    Paone
    Ron Hextall said it best a few weeks ago when he met with the media for the first time after the Flyers fell into the No. 2 overall pick in this coming June's draft.

    "It's a game-changer," he said.

    It's something that will have a ripple effect throughout the entire organization, from the Flyers' top line to the Phantoms' checking lines. 

    That, of course, includes Vecchione, the prized college free agent who inked with the Flyers toward the end of the season and saw action in two of the team's final three games of the year.

    He knew there were no guarantees in signing here, but he, and no one else, could have expected what has happened in recent weeks.

    So what does it mean for him heading into the season?

    Simply put, his trek to stay with the big club come October just got plenty steeper.

    The Flyers desperately need more scoring, so enter whomever the No. 2 overall pick may be and likely enter Lindblom, as well. And then who knows who else will make an impression during camp. But Vecchione certainly has the ability to pack a scoring punch. After all, he scored 29 goals and added 34 assists for 63 points last season at Union College.

    Hextall and Dave Hakstol have always said no guarantees are given during camp and that players, especially younger ones, have to earn their spot.

    The decision to come to Philadelphia may have been a little different for the Union product had he known the Flyers would hold the No. 2 pick. An RFA whose rights the Flyers control, Vecchione will have to be at his best come camp. But, to me, even though the sledding will be tougher, there's still no reason he can't be with the big club come October.