Two days after signing one of their 2016 draft picks to an entry-level contract, the Flyers lost the rights to a prospect from the same class.
The club opted to not sign David Bernhardt before Monday's 5 p.m. deadline. As a result, the 22-year-old Swedish defenseman has become a draft-related unrestricted free agent.
Bernhardt was a 2016 seventh-round draft pick of the Flyers, when Ron Hextall was general manager and Chris Pryor was director of player personnel. Linus Hogberg, another blueliner from Sweden who was taken by the Flyers in the fifth round of the same draft, inked his ELC on Saturday.
The Flyers' decision to let Bernhardt's rights expire is not considered surprising. Below the pro surface, the club is pretty well-stocked at defensemen with prospects Egor Zamula, Wyatte Wylie and Hogberg set to join AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley in 2020-21, while the signing of Wisconsin product Wyatt Kalynuk could be around the corner. Kalynuk is an offensive-minded defenseman who has developed a ton with the Badgers. His rights were set to expire next summer. Now that it appears he will forgo his senior season at Wisconsin, it would be surprising if he's not signed soon by the Flyers. If, for some reason, both sides don't agree to terms, Kalynuk can eventually become a free agent.
Furthermore, the Flyers have unsigned blueliners Cam York, Mason Millman, Adam Ginning, Ronald Attard and John St. Ivany in the system. York, a 2019 first-round pick at Michigan, is the most touted, while Millman, a 2019 fourth-round selection, is coming off a 44-point, plus-31 junior season with the OHL's Saginaw Spirit.
Bernhardt, a 6-foot-3, 203-pound, lefty-shot defenseman, had seven points (one goal, six assists) through 33 games in the Finland pro league Liiga after opening 2019-20 in the SHL.
Here's a look at the Flyers' 10-player 2016 draft class:
First round — German Rubtsov (Flyers/Phantoms)
Second round — Pascal Laberge (Phantoms/Royals)
Second round — Carter Hart (Flyers)
Second round — Wade Allison (Phantoms)
Third round — Carsen Twarynski (Flyers/Phantoms)
Fourth round — Connor Bunnaman (Flyers/Phantoms)
Fifth round — Linus Hogberg (Phantoms)
Sixth round — Tanner Laczynski (Phantoms)
Sixth round — Anthony Salinitri (no longer in organization)
Seventh round — David Bernhardt (no longer in organization)
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