When the Flyers signed collegiate, Cole Bardreau, they inked a player who had a solid scoring past and a guaranteed ticket punched at the 2013 NHL draft but then got injured. He fractured his c-7 vertabrae in his neck. His everyday prognosis wasn’t great and his hockey prognosis was even worse.
“After that World Junior performance I felt like I did well enough to get drafted but I don’t blame anyone for not taking a chance on a player with a fractured c-7. I just use that as motivation to worker hard and I’m just thankful that the Flyers organization for giving me a chance and I just have to make the most of it,” Bardreau stated.
After three months in a neck brace and even longer time away from the ice he returned to Cornell. During that time he was in World Junior camp and that’s when I personally noticed that he looked really good.
At 5-10, 185, this pivot always played bigger. He was never destined to be a prolific scorer. He isn’t a high skill guy. He’s a guy who skates fast, plays hard, leads and adds some sandpaper and slight scoring to make up what should be a professional energy guy.
“Getting that first entry level contract is a positive step in the right direction. With that injury my career was kind of up in the air. My career has been a roller coaster ride from the get-go. With all my injuries and everything like that,” said the energetic forward.
He’s a player who is willing to learn and right now he’s just getting back on the path that he was on before the injury.
“You can learn new tricks to help you get faster especially when you’re going up in leagues and in levels,” said Bardreau.”Just getting another step faster can make a huge difference.”
Last year in Lehigh Valley, he scored in his first pro game and got in 15. He netted two points but many felt he had a successful cup of coffee in the AHL.
At 22, he’s expected to spend another year at the AHL at the very least. He only played 45 games in total last year including his NCAA games at Cornell. He needs to get around 70-75 this year to really test himself and see what he can do at the start of a season.
During this summer’s development camp he shined. He didn’t have any real body fat to speak of, you’d never know he ever had a risky neck surgery, and he was strong defensively. Some of the Flyers better offensive players had a hard time getting past him.
“You just try and have fun out there. You can always get better. I’m just out here having fun and trying to get better in the process,” Bardreau said.
“Just like any hockey player my goal is to make it to the NHL. Be a steady player. I’m taking baby steps. Try and dominate and play my role to the best of my ability at each level so I can get bumped up.”
This player definitely feels like he’s gotten a second chance. He has a light in his eyes and a confidence on and off the ice that can get him far in this game.
“I just work as hard as I can everyday.”
The Fairport, New York native will be playing close to home. His family can watch him grow as a player and his new franchise is there to help him along the way. At this point in time he’s playing with house money. He’s experienced winning before. He won a gold medal with the U.S. U-18 team that competed in Germany back in 2011. The Flyers are smart to sign a player who’s experienced success and is still driven to achieve more.