Flyers’ Sign Derek Mathers and Andrew Johnston

The Philadelphia Flyers signed two forwards in tough guy Derek Mathers and undrafted free agent forward Andrew Johnston to supplement their minor league system for the future.

Derek Mathers signed a standard entry level contract for three years and will hold a cap hit of $925,000 annually. Mathers first announced the deal via his twitter account. “So happy to sign my first NHL contract with Philly. Thanks to everyone for the support all the way through.”

Flyers prospect, Nick Cousins later congratulated Mathers on twitter.

By all indications Mathers won’t make the Flyers roster and will play his first year in the Ontario Hockey League. He played for the Peterborough Petes’ last season, compiling nine goals and eight assists including 177 penalty minutes in the OHL. He was drafted by Philadelphia in the 2011th NHL entry draft in the seventh round, but waited until now to sign with the Flyers. He appeared in a few games late in the AHL season with Philadelphia’s minor league affiliate, the Adriondack Phantoms. Mathers also served as an assistant captain for the Petes’, providing a great locker room presence and showcasing his leadership skills.

Mathers could eventually take on the role of a fourth line enforcer for the Flyers, possibly when Jody Shelley’s contract runs out next year or a decision is made on what to do with enforcers Zac Rinaldo or Tom Sestito. This seventh round selection drew some questions if the Flyers organization should be focusing more on talented players rather than players who can only drop the gloves.

Andrew Johnston is a 20-year-old forward who went undrafted in the 2011 NHL entry draft. He played in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League this year for the Humboldt Broncos this year, registering 81 points in only 58 games. Expect Johnson to begin the year in the AHL, but starting in the East Coast Hockey League wouldn’t be a surprise either. He played in the SJHL, which often doesn’t have many players with NHL potential. Bobby Clarke played in the same league, but don’t expect anything close to that production from Johnston.

Below are highlights of Andrew Johnston in the first video and a fight by Derek Mathers in the Flyers’ rookie game in 2011.

You can follow Matthew on twitter @pasportexaminer and email him at mspeck21@yahoo.com with your questions or comments.

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