The Philadelphia Flyers announced that they have signed three recent draft choices to contracts, according to club Assistant General Manager Paul Holmgren. Forwards Frederik Cabana and Steve Downie have each signed a three-year entry-level contract, while defenseman Jussi Timonen has signed a two-year entry-level contract.
"These three players are all athletes that we have drafted over the past few years," said Holmgren in making the announcement. "Steve Downie was our first round draft pick from last year (2005). We are extremely excited to have him under contract. He has had a whirlwind year with what happened this past year. He got suspended from his team in Windsor and consequently was traded to Peterborough. He was one of the stars for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships where they won the gold medal. He ended up having a tremendous playoff run with Peterborough, making it to the Memorial Cup before losing out there. We think he's going to be a very good prospect. He still has another year of junior eligibility so he will most likely go back to playing with his junior team. Steve is a hard-nosed, gritty, two-way player who has good skills. He is a lot like Mike Richards as to how he plays the game. He's a plugger with extremely good hockey sense and ability.
"Cabana is a guy who we drafted in 2004 and he has come on nicely. He is another kid that works really hard, knows the game and skates well. He has not put up great numbers in juniors, but he is a good, well-rounded player. He really understands the game and will be a good player in our organization with a chance to develop over the next few years.
"Timonen was drafted in 2001. His brother, Kimmo, plays in Nashville and has been a good player in the NHL. Jussi is actually bigger than his brother. He is a good skater and good with the puck. It was time for him to come over here. He was excited when we contacted him and is looking forward to coming over here and getting started. We will see how he can adapt and adjust to the North American game.
"They all will be here for Training Camp."
"It is unbelievable," said Downie. "It (signing with the Flyers) was one of the goals that I had set at the beginning of the year and I am just very thankful for this chance. I'm a gritty, physical player and I also am an offensive player as well."
Downie, 19, registered 19 goals and 34 assists for 53 points and 113 penalty minutes in 35 regular season games this past season for the Windsor Spitfires and Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League. In 19 playoff games with the Petes, the 5'10", 190-pound right wing posted 21 points (6G,15A) and 38 penalty minutes as Peterborough won the OHL Championship and advanced to the Memorial Cup. A native of Newmarket, Ontario, Downie was named to the All-Tournament Team at the 2006 IIHF World Junior Championships after recording six points (2G,4A) in six games as Canada won the gold medal.
In three seasons with Windsor and Peterborough (2003-04 through 2005-06), Downie has recorded 47 goals and 95 assists for 142 points and 382 penalty minutes in 145 games. He was selected by the Flyers in the first round (29th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
"I am really happy," said Cabana. "It is a dream come true, first getting drafted by the Flyers and now getting signed by the team. It is great. I am more of an all-around player. I am good defensively and I can agitate players on the ice and do anything to help my team win."
Cabana, 20, recorded 17 goals and 24 assists for 41 points and 85 penalty minutes in 68 regular season games for the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this past season. His 41 points were a single season career high. In four seasons with the Mooseheads (2002-03 through 2005-06), the 6'0", 185-pound forward registered 48 goals and 79 assists for 127 points and 275 penalty minutes in 259 games. A native of Fleurimont, Quebec, Cabana was selected by the Flyers in the sixth round (171st overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
"I am very happy because this has been my dream all my life," said Timonen. "I talked to my brother a little bit about the NHL and he gave me some tips, but we will talk more on this later. I think my skating is pretty good. That is my main strength."
Timonen, 22, posted seven assists and 30 penalty minutes in 52 games for SaiPa (Finland). A native of Kuopio, Finland, Timonen has played parts of the last four seasons in Finland's SM-Liiga (2002-03 through 2005-06), recording two goals and 12 assists for 14 points and 97 penalty minutes in 165 games. The 6',0", 200-pound defenseman was drafted by the Flyers in the fifth round (146th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He is the younger brother of Nashville Predators defenseman Kimmo Timonen