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by Anthony SanFilippo / Philadelphia Flyers

PHILADELPHIA – It looks like the competition on the Flyers blue line just got a little stiffer.

On Tuesday the Flyers signed first round draft pick Samuel Morin to his entry-level contract.

Morin came into training camp with two goals – one to get this contract, and the second to make the team as an 18-year-old defenseman.

Well, consider it one down and one to go.

And the second part of that exacta is probably a lot closer than most people may have thought coming into this camp.

You can bet Sam Morin is smiling even bigger today now that he's signed his first pro contract with th e Flyers.

Morin, 18, has really impressed the Flyers with his work ethic throughout the summer months, his willingness to learn and improve and his desire to reach his potential sooner rather than later.

He lived for part of the summer with Player Development Director Ian Laperriere, and Morin really won him over with his thirst for knowledge about the game.

“He’s getting better and better every day,” Laperriere said. “He wants to learn. He asks the right questions every day and we’re really happy with him. He knows who he is and what he can do and the sky’s the limit for a kid like that.”

In his first preseason game in the NHL, Morin played 23:14, played in all situations, and had a beauty of an assist on a goal by Vinny Lecavalier.

Morin’s contract is for three years and has performance bonuses that, if triggered, can bring his average annual value to $1.425 million.

Morin, the 11th overall pick in the 2013 draft, puts the Flyers at 51 contracts entering the 2013-14 season.

However, Morin’s contract is eligible to slide, or not count against the Flyers 50 contract limit, if he is returned to his junior team in Rimouski in the QMJHL.

Scott Laughton, Taylor Leier and Anthony Stolarz are also eligible for the same slide rule, meaning the Flyers technically could still sign up to three players.

Stolarz has already been returned to juniors and Leier is expected to do the same at some point in the next two weeks.

It was thought Morin would be sent back to juniors as well – and he still may be – but now the Flyers have the option to keep him – even if it’s just for the first nine games of the season – to see if he can play at the NHL level before he would have to head back to Rimouski.

Morin is not eligible for the AHL as there is a minimum age requirement of 20-years-old to play in the AHL unless your junior team has completed it’s season, in which case 18 and 19-year-olds can play in the AHL on an amateur tryout contract only.

The Flyers have dressed five 18-year olds in their lineup in the last 15 years, and Luca Sbisa is the only one who was a defenseman.

If nothing else, Morin will likely be with the team for the remainder of training camp and will probably see a good bit of action (he’s back in the lineup tonight, again paired with Mark Streit) as the Flyers decide whether or not to have him break camp with the big club.

It’s proving to be a very competitive camp on the blue line as the Flyers have Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Streit, Nicklas Grossmann, Erik Gustafsson, Bruno Gervais, Andrej Meszaros and Luke Schenn already on one-way deals and veteran Hal Gill is in camp on a professional tryout contract.

Marc-Andre Bourdon, who is also on a one-way deal, is likely ticketed for the injured list to start the season as he continues to battle post-concussion symptoms.

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37

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