Mike Vecchione, the speedy Union center who has a good chance to win the Hobey Baker Award as the nation's top collegiate player, has the Flyers on the short list of teams he is still considering.

A few days ago, Vecchione spoke with his former Union teammate, Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, about the prospects of playing in Philadelphia.

"I wasn't a salesman. I just answered his questions about the organization and filled him in," Gostisbehere said before the Flyers erupted for five first-period goals Thursday night against the visiting New York Islanders. "Obviously, I want him to come here, but he has to do what's best for him."

The Flyers, Boston, Tampa Bay, and the New York Rangers are believed to be the teams Vecchione is considering.

In an interview with the Inquirer on Sunday, Vecchione said he wanted to go to a place where he had the best chance to get playing time right away.

Tampa Bay has more room at center than it did last month because it sent Valtteri Filppula to the Flyers at the trade deadline. Filppula's contract expires at the end of next season.

Vecchione, 24, who had 29 goals this season and is the leading scorer in Union history, is expected to sign and burn off a year of his entry-level deal this season.

He was named one of the three Hobey Baker finalists on Thursday. The others: Northeastern forward Zach Aston-Reese, who has signed with Pittsburgh, and Denver defenseman Will Butcher.

Vecchione averaged 1.66 points per game this season, which tied him for No. 1 in the NCAA. He is the first Union player to reach the Hobie Baker final three. Gostisbehere made it to the final 10.

Nick Bond fund-raiser

An event to honor the memory of Nick Bond was held Wednesday at Dynasty Sports in the Oxford Valley Mall, and it raised over $7,000 for a Wissahickon Skating Club memorial for the 18-year-old hockey player. Bond died Feb. 6 of blunt-impact head trauma after leaving a game with a headache.

Flyers alums Keith Primeau, Brian Boucher, Kimmo Timonen, and John LeClair attended and signed autographs, along with Lou Nolan, the team's longtime public-address announcer, and Phantoms defenseman T.J. Brennan.


Johnny Boychuk, one of the Isles' top defensemen, returned to the lineup after missing 12 games with a lower-body injury. . . . Willie O'Ree, who in 1958 became the NHL's first black player, is in Philadelphia for the Willie O'Ree Skills Weekend, which will be attended by 55 of North America's most advanced inner-city youth players. . . . Ivan Provorov, 20, is expected to be the third rookie defenseman to win the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the Flyers' best blue-liner. Norm Barnes (1979-80) and Gostisbehere (last season) were rookie winners. . . . Wayne Simmonds is favored to win the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the team's MVP. Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek have combined to win the last six Clarke awards. The Flyers will announce the awards April 8.