Flyers sign a college free agent, who is the brother of a prospect


The Flyers on Tuesday added a familiar name to their system.

The club signed college free agent Jackson Cates to a two-year entry-level contract with an average annual value of $925,000. The deal begins this season.

Cates is a 23-year-old center out of Minnesota Duluth. His younger brother Noah Cates is a prospect in the Flyers' system who was selected by the club in the fifth round of the 2017 draft.

The older Cates was a Flyers development camp invite in 2019.

"Jackson is a really smart center who can make plays," Minnesota Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin said Tuesday night to NBC Sports Philadelphia. "Strong skater, has a good shot and ability to score. Plays a good 200-foot game. He played a big role on our PP and also killed penalties."

Cates is turning pro after a strong junior season in which he put up 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) over 28 games for the Bulldogs, who had their season end last week in the Frozen Four. Two-time defending champion Minnesota Duluth lost to UMass in the semifinals.

"Jackson is a player that our staff has followed closely throughout his college career," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said in a statement released by the team. "He's a tenacious two-way center that has steadily improved his overall game each season. He's been an integral part of a very successful college program at UMD and we're excited to see him take his game to the next level."

The younger Cates, a versatile forward and also coming off his junior year at Minnesota Duluth, is expected to turn pro, as well. The organization and its development staff has been impressed by the 22-year-old Cates' growth into the Bulldogs' captain.

If he signs his entry-level contract in the coming days or weeks, the Cates brothers could be headed to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

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