Mason Millman, a fleet-skating, puck-moving defenseman in the Flyers' system, is set up for his last hurrah at the junior hockey level before turning pro.
The Flyers on Friday signed the 2019 fourth-round draft pick to his three-year entry-level contract. In 2020-21, the 19-year-old will play his final season with the OHL's Saginaw Spirit, who drafted Millman during the seventh round of the 15-round 2017 OHL draft and have seen impressive development from the blueliner.
The OHL is looking to start its season in February and Saginaw is coming off a 41-16-5 campaign in 2019-20. Millman was a plus-31 (fifth best among OHL defensemen) with 44 points (13 goals, 31 assists) in 58 games for that club.
"It is a true testament to a player’s hard work combined with the focus on development from the Saginaw Spirit coaching staff to achieve this goal," Saginaw general manager Dave Drinkill said to NBC Sports Philadelphia on Friday. "We take great pride in the environment and program we have created here in Saginaw, one that allows players like Mason to develop on and off the ice and to allow them to reach their dreams of being NHL players. We couldn’t be more happy for Mason and the Millman family as they have been a huge part of the culture we have here with the Spirit."
Millman looks like a sleeper in the Flyers' prospect pool because he was the third defenseman taken by the club in that 2019 draft and the organization has its share of blue-line prospects, led by Cam York and Egor Zamula.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Millman recently took part in Canada's selection camp for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship but did not make the team. He is a smooth skater who pushes the puck with speed and controlled pace. Defensively, he's smart in his own end and getting stronger.
"I really believe he can be one of the best defensemen in the OHL, if not the CHL," Drinkill said in April.
"His ability to transport pucks either with his feet or with his head and brain, they’re elite at our level. And I’m betting that if he keeps developing and gets into the Flyers’ system, he’s going to keep becoming an elite defenseman that way."
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