The New Jersey Devils were not completely done for the first day of free agency this evening. Similar to how they signed Chase De Leo to a one-season, two-way contract that will likely help Utica, the Devils made another signing like that. This time, they signed veteran right wing Brian Flynn to a one-season, two-way contract that will pay out $750,000 at the NHL level and $280,000 at the AHL level per CapFriendly.
Unlike Chase De Leo, you might actually remember Brian Flynn. Or at least you might have seen him within the last decade. Perhaps this summary of his career may jog your memory. Flynn was an undrafted free agent signing out of the University of Maine by Buffalo back in 2012. He made his NHL debut in the 2013 season where played in 26 games and put up 11 points. He also played in 45 games with Rochester and put up 32 points. that was last his appearance in the minor leagues for the next four seasons. Flynn played in Buffalo in 2013-14 and 2014-15. He was then moved to Montreal for a fifth rounder. Flynn stayed with the Canadiens for the next two seasons. He never put up more than 17 points in a season, but he was in the NHL. That 2016-17 season where he dressed for 51 games in Montreal would be his last.
Flynn signed with Dallas in the offseason on a two-way deal. I suspect he knew the intent was to play with their AHL affiliate, Texas Stars, and so he did for the entire 2017-18 season. He was productive with 47 points in 66 games and helped the T-Stars to a deep Calder Cup run to the Finals where they sadly lost to the Toronto Marlies in seven games. After then, he signed with St. Louis. He played in 21 games for their affiliate in San Antonio and then he signed with EC Zug of the Swiss National League in January 2019. He made the move over and helped them win the Swiss Cup. Flynn signed with HC Ambrì-Piotta and became one of their top scorers in the last two seasons with 21 goals and 67 points for HCAP. Now, Flynn is returning to North American hockey.
The 33-year old right winger will likely be with the Utica Comets. Similar to De Leo, to bring in a veteran for the minor league team, a NHL contract is usually what is requested. Whereas De Leo is young with a lot of AHL experience, Flynn is older with way more NHL experience - 275 games played, to be exact. If push comes to shove and the Devils need a forward for a night, Flynn may be a quick option for a call-up since he would have an idea of what to expect at this level - even if it was five years since he has last been in the NHL. Beyond that, his role will likely be to help a young Utica roster at the AHL level both on and off the ice. For a season with a two-way contract for the NHL minimum and a lower AHL salary than De Leo, that is perfectly fine.
I welcome Brian Flynn to the organization and I wish him the best. As this is more intended for the AHL, I do not blame you if you do not have any strong thoughts about this signing one way or another. Still, I would like to know your opinion. If you are intending to follow the Comets or you know more about him from his past seasons with Buffalo and Montreal or more recently with HC Ambrì-Piotta, then what do you think of this signing? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Flynn in the comments. Thank you for reading.