PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Philadelphia Flyers announced they have signed rookie camp invitee JR Avon to a three-year, entry-level contract. Flyers General Manager Chuck Fletcher announced the signings after impressing the Flyers’ brass during the team’s rookie camp, skating in both games against the New York Rangers over the weekend.
The 18-year-old Avon will not join the Flyers’ AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley right away but will return to the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Peterborough Petes. The speedy winger stands at 5-foot-8 and weighs 180 pounds, and was the only camp invitee to earn a contract with the Flyers. Avon did not get drafted this past season, as the cancellation of the 2020-21 season in the OHL impacted that substantially. He participated in both the Flyers’ development and rookie camps, and would appear to be a steal for Fletcher to sign.
The 2019-20 season was the first for Avon in the OHL after being selected in the first round of the junior draft. He recorded 11 points (four goals, seven assists) during the 2019-20 season as a 16-year-old. The forward just turned 18 over the summer. The process for him joining the Phantoms will be more along the traditional lines of a recently drafted player, meaning he will likely not debut in the AHL for another couple of seasons. It’s a different route than usual to get to a professional contract, and losing last season made getting to this point much more difficult. The Flyers brass believes he will take the next step and like what he brought throughout camp as the only player to earn such a contract this season.
The pre-season is nearly here, with the Flyers beginning play on September 28. Avon’s speed is a big part of his game, and it’s why the team was so interested in him. He’ll be given plenty of time to develop, but it won’t be long before he’s suiting up at the NHL or AHL levels as a top prospect. It will be interesting to see if Avon gets any games in before he is returned to the Petes to begin their season, but it appears the team likes his speed and that distinction in his game helped him to earn the opportunity.
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