When the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers sent defenseman Wyatte Wylie back to the Everett Silvertips in September without signing him to an entry-level contract after training camp, they gave him a list of areas they wanted to see him fine-tune in his final season in the Western Hockey League.
The Flyers demonstrated Tuesday that they’re pleased with the Snohomish County native’s progress in those areas, signing Wylie to an entry-level contract. The Flyers selected him in the fifth round of the 2018 NHL draft.
“I’m beyond grateful,” Wylie said. “I’ve dreamed about this since I was little, for it to finally happen makes you happy for a little bit, but you know you have to get back to work.
“I’m shocked right now and I’m so humbled. It’s just awesome.”
🎉 It's happened. 🎉
— Everett Silvertips (@WHLsilvertips) March 10, 2020
Wylie is believed to be the second Snohomish County native to sign an NHL contract, joining Everett native TJ Oshie, who plays for the Washington Capitals. Unlike Oshie, Wylie played the majority of his youth career in Everett, outside of a season in 2015-2016 for the Dallas Stars Elite program.
“I just had a dream when I was younger that this is what I wanted to do and a lot of other kids have that,” Wylie said. “I just think it’s awesome that people are starting to watch and scout this area, because you never know what you’re going to find. When you put your mind to it, anything is possible.”
Wylie, from Lake Stevens, was selected by the Silvertips in the sixth round of the 2014 WHL bantam draft out of the Junior Silvertips 16-U elite program.
Wylie eventually signed with the Silvertips, even after receiving interest from NCAA teams, and has enjoyed a prolific WHL career, with 31 goals and 152 points in 272 games.
As an overager this season, Wylie has been a point-per-game player and has served as an integral part of the Silvertips’ power-play and penalty-kill units. He has 64 points (14 goals, 50 assists) in 62 games.
“He’s had a very, very good year,” Davidson said. “And he’s continued to grow each year he’s been here. … If you look at his minutes each night and his point production and his plus/minus and everything else, he’s a key piece to the group we have and the success we’ve had.”
The right-shot defenseman joined fellow overagers Bryce Kindopp and Jake Christiansen in inking NHL deals this month. Kindopp and Christiansen signed as free agents last week with the Anaheim Ducks and the Columbus Blue Jackets, respectively.
“We’ve all been together for our whole careers pretty much,” Wylie said. “It’s awesome to see and I’m so happy for (them). It’s just all so special for all of us.”
Wylie was eligible to play in the American Hockey League this season, but the Flyers did not tender him a contract, partly because of Wylie’s unique situation as a “late birthday.” In hockey parlance, that term applies to anyone born between Sept. 15 and Dec. 31, meaning Philadelphia did not need to make a final decision on Wylie until June 1, 2020, per the NHL collective-bargaining agreement.
What’s more, is the general manager that drafted Wylie, Ron Hextall, was fired in Nov. 2018 and replaced by Chuck Fletcher. Wylie needed to convince the new regime in Philadelphia he was worth signing.
Wylie is the last of Everett’s vaunted 1999-born bantam draft class — Wylie, Christiansen, Kindopp, Connor Dewar and Riley Sutter — to sign an NHL contract.
Josh Horton covers the Silvertips for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter, @JoshHortonEDH