The Flyers took defenseman Mason Millman from the Saginaw Spirit with the 103rd overall pick in the 4th round of the 2019 NHL entry draft.
In the 2018/19 season that led up to that draft, he only notched a total of 25 points (3 G, 22 A) in 66 games. So the Flyers took a bit of an upside pick with Millman, hoping that his 18-year-old season would be more plentiful in point production. Millman was the third defenseman that the Flyers took in last year’s draft and wasn’t the most notable one selected, so he mostly flew under the prospect radar heading into the 2019/20 season.
Luckily he quickly appeared back on the radar during the 2019/20 season as he quadrupled his goal total from the previous season and ultimately accumulated 44 points (13 G, 31 A) in 58 games. His 0.759 points per game ranked 14th among OHL defensemen and 4th among 18-year-old defensemen. The left-shotted defenseman from London, Ontario quickly became the best defenseman on the Saginaw Spirit and one of the better defensemen in the entire Ontario Hockey League.
The performance that Millman put up during the shortened 2019/2020 season was good enough for him to get selected to the 2021 Team Canada World Junior selection camp in Red Deer, Alberta. Millman was invited to the camp along with the Flyers 2020 1st round selection Tyson Foerster. Both Flyers prospects are long shots to make the team’s final roster though getting selected as one of the top 46 hockey players in Canada under the age of 20 has to be a confidence booster.
One of the aspects of Millman’s game that separates him from his peers is his ability to lay down nasty hits to the opposition.
A look at some of Saginaw’s games from last season shows that Millman wasn’t afraid to lay down hits when the situation called for it. This is impressive since he’s only 19 years old, and measures in at 6’1 and 176 lbs.
His game is really reminiscent of Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie, who has similar defensive skills, and puck-moving ability. Both defensemen also have similar frames and the ability to snipe the puck between the pipes from the blue line.
Not to say that Millman will turn out to be our version of Tyson Barrie, but Millman’s knack for going up and down the ice to make plays doesn’t make the comparison very extreme.
Last season in Saginaw, he played with some talented forwards which included Cole Perfetti who was drafted 10th overall to the Winnipeg Jets in the 2020 entry draft.
If Mason Millman turns into at least a solid 2nd/3rd pair defenseman for the Flyers in the future, Chuck Fletcher’s 2019 draft will be one for the books as Cam York and Bobby Brink both look like very solid NHL contributors at the least. Millman will play the 2020/21 season in the OHL for the Saginaw Spirit, then most likely sign an ELC with the Flyers at the end of the season and start the 2021/22 season with the Phantoms.
In the next couple of years, the Phantoms look to be stacked with one of the deepest Flyers prospect pools we’ve seen in a while so it will be interesting to see how he develops in the AHL.
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