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Mike Vecchione, Hobey Baker finalist, picks Flyers

Center expected to make NHL debut before end of season @NHLdotcom

Hobey Baker finalist Mike Vecchione has signed with the Philadelphia Flyers and is expected to make his NHL debut before the end of the season.

Vecchione tied for the NCAA lead with 63 points (29 goals, 34 assists) playing for Union College, where he was teammates with Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere when it won the national championship in 2014.

"We identified a couple of guys, college free agents, and Mike was one of them and thankfully we got him," Philadelphia general manager Ron Hextall said.

Video: Hear from Mike Vecchione on becoming a Flyer

Hextall said Vecchione would play for the Flyers this season but is unlikely to debut against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CSN-PH, MSG+, NHL.TV). Philadelphia would have four regular-season games remaining.

"I expect him to play," Hextall said. "We'll see how things go. See where we're at, and see how he practices, and see where we are health-wise, and all that stuff."

The Flyers (37-32-8) trail the Boston Bruins by six points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

Vecchione, a 5-foot-10, 195-pound center, chose the Flyers over the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning, according to The Canadian Press.

He is a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the player voted to be the best in NCAA Division I men's ice hockey, with Northeastern forward Zach Aston-Reese (the NCAA co-scoring leader) and Denver defenseman Will Butcher.

Aston-Reese signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 14. Butcher's rights are held by the Colorado Avalanche.

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