Flyers sign Meyer and Deschenes to entry-level contracts

By Al Alven

The Philadelphia Flyers announced yesterday that they have signed forward Nick Deschenes and defenseman Freddy Meyer to one and two-year entry-level contracts, respectively. Both players are slated to play for the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL next season, but may see time with the ECHL’s Trenton Titans (the Flyers’ secondary affiliate) as well.

Deschenes, 24, recently completed a four-year stint at Yale University. The 6-3, 225-pound Morinville, Alberta native notched 19 points (8 goals, 11 assists) and 37 penalty minutes in 31 games with the Bulldogs in 2002-03. For his collegiate career, Deschenes totaled 87 points (36 goals, 51 assists) and 78 PIMs in 114 games. Before committing to Yale, Deschenes spent three seasons with the junior A Fort Saskatchewan Traders of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

“Nick Deschenes is a big, strong power forward-type player,” said Flyers assistant general manager Paul Holmgren in announcing the signings. “We look forward to having him in the system. We think that there is some upside with Nick because of his size and because of the way that he skates.”

Freddy Meyer, 22, is coming off of a strong senior season at Boston University. The scrappy 5-10, 190-pound blueliner recorded 21 points in 36 games, and was named to the East First Team JOFA All-American Team, the All-New England Team, and the First Team All-Hockey East squad. In 126 career games with the Terriers, the Sanbornville, New Hampshire native recorded 62 points (17 goals, 45 assists) and 288 PIMs.

Prior to attending BU, Meyer accumulated a great deal of international experience. He played in the United States National program for two-and-a-half years, and suited up for Team USA at the 2001 World Junior Championships in Moscow, Russia (he played in all seven of the team’s games, but did not record a point).

“Freddy Meyer is a tough, hard-nosed kid,” explained Holmgren. “He is pretty good with the puck and a real competitive kid. We look forward to having him in the system as well.”

The signings come just two days after the Flyers inked Colorado College defenseman James Laux (a Cherry Hill, New Jersey native) to a minor league contract. The organization seems to be making a concerted effort to add NCAA talent of late, and, according to Holmgren, there may be more signings to come. Current Phantoms Mike Lephart (Boston College), Dan Peters (Colorado College) and Ben Stafford (Yale) were all signed directly out of college.

“It is reasonable to expect that both [Deschenes and Meyer] will play with the Phantoms next season,” said Holmgren. We feel that the Phantoms are a real lifeline for the Flyers and the more young players that we can get in there developing, the better chance we have of making the Flyers stronger down the road. They are just two pieces that we have added so far and we look forward to trying to add a few more over the next month or so.”

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