With more well-known, recent draft picks on the Phantoms (think Samuel Morin, Oskar Lindblom, and PhilIippe Myers), Phil Varone may not ring a bell to the average Flyers fan. However, Varone is more than just an average AHL player. He boasts an AHL all-star appearance and is one of the best players in the league this season. He is currently leading the league in points with 55; 37 of which are assists. Varone was drafted by San Jose in 2009, but was never offered a contract after attending training camp. In 2011, Buffalo offered him a one-year AHL contract with Rochester. He then signed a three-year ELC after the 2011-12 season, and another one-year contract after that one expired. After being traded to the Senators, he mainly spent time in Binghamton until his contract expired, and signed with the Flyers on a two-year, two-way contract.
Although a few inches smaller in size than the NHL average, Varone is a great, fast playmaker who will rack up 30+ assist seasons like it’s nothing. That doesn’t mean he can’t score, though. He has generally been a 15-20 goal scorer in the AHL, and is always willing to screen the goalie, despite his size. Varone put up his first professional career hat trick, along with an assist, against the Utica Comets on Wednesday, February 21, extending his goal-scoring streak to four games.
Even though he may not be a prospect anymore, Varone has become a veteran AHL player who has some NHL experience. Even with the bountiful choice of players on the Phantoms, he could be a good call-up in the case an injury happens to hit someone on the Flyers roster. If Varone keeps up his pace for the rest of the season and isn’t called up to the Flyers, he could win the John B. Sollenberger Trophy for the league’s top scorer.
I’d say that’s pretty darn good.