The Philadelphia Flyers signed forward Maksim Sushko to an entry-level contract to begin 2018-19 season, according to general manager Ron Hextall on Tuesday. The young right winger was selected in the fourth round, 107th overall, in last summer's NHL Entry Draft and has quickly gone up the ladder of success in Philly.
The 19-year-old winger currently plays for the Owen Sound Attack in the Ontario Hockey League. After just a 18-goal production in his draft year, Sushko took a notable step forward in his second season with the Owen Sound Attack this year, having posted 30 goals and 25 assists in 57 games so far this season - all new career highs for the forward. He also leads the team with five game-winning goals this campaign.
And now the Flyers and GM Ron Hextall have noticed the kid, whose contract will begin next season.
Sushko also was named to Belarus’ Under 20 World Juniors team this past December and January for the yearly tournament. While he won’t get a chance to come back next year since Belarus was relegated from the tournament’s top tier this year, Sushko served as the team's captain and tallied two goals and six assists for a total of eight points in six games for Belarus. He also averaged nearly 24 minutes of time on ice (23:56), leading all Belarus forwards.
While Sushko is not expected to make the Flyers next year and will presumably be sent back to the Ontario Hockey League, he is on pace to start playing at the pro level in the 2019-20 season. He did take part in the Flyers and New York Islanders rookie game at the Wells Fargo Center earlier this season, where he played wing on a line with Nolan Patrick and Connor Bunnaman.
With this signing, four of the Flyers’ eight picks from the 2017 draft have been signed to contracts: Nolan Patrick, Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe, and Sushko. Only fourth-rounder Matthew Strome is yet to receive a contract, however, as he is part of the CHL, he will need to be signed by June 1, 2019 to remain in the Flyers organization.
Sushko currently leads the entire Ontario Hockey League in shorthanded goals (6) which is also tied for the lead among all three Canadian Hockey Leagues (WHL & QMJHL). Pretty impressive and now the Flyers are happy to count him on board.