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Flyers sign 2023 first-round defenseman to entry-level contract

Bonk was the 22nd overall pick in the 2023 NHL draft

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The Flyers on Monday inked Oliver Bonk to his three-year entry-level contract.

The 18-year-old defenseman was the Flyers' second first-round pick at the 2023 NHL draft in late June. After the club grabbed talented winger Matvei Michkov at seventh overall, it took Bonk with the 22nd selection. The OHL product was the fifth defenseman taken in the draft, a prospect the Flyers liked so much that they passed up on Gabe Perreault, a 132-point U.S. forward.

"We were really happy to get Bonk there," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said after Day 2 of the draft. "A lot of upside, a very smart player and a right shot to boot, which is nice."

Bonk will return to the London Knights for another year of junior hockey and potentially the following season, as well. Last season, the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder had 40 points (10 goals, 30 assists) in 67 games. He then recorded 11 points (all assists) and a plus-8 rating over 21 playoff games as London went to the OHL championship but lost to Peterborough in six games.

"He's 6-2-plus, but he's got a lot of room to fill out and get stronger, which is exciting for his mobility," Flahr said. "In London, he's going to play a ton there and we see him as a top-four defenseman."

Flyers assistant director of player development Nick Schultz was impressed by Bonk at development camp in July.

"To me, he looks like he's a total package watching him in these drills," Schultz said. "He enjoys defending, he's not just one-sided. He's a big, strong kid. Obviously everyone loves that he's a right shot and he's a big kid, but I think he's very competitive."

Before another season in London alongside Flyers prospect Denver Barkey, Bonk was hoping to add more strength this summer.

"Obviously you can't control your height, but you can control how you eat and how you train," he said at development camp. "Filling out in my frame a bit more, getting stronger, I think that's going to help with the skating and your shot, working on upper body, lower body."

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