Philadelphia Flyers’ Prospect Spotlight: Ronnie Attard

Ronnie Attard is one of the Philadelphia Flyers’ most intriguing prospects. He has been a notable player to watch for the last two seasons for Western Michigan University’s Broncos. Unfortunately, due to the collegiate schedule, Attard and several other NCAA prospects were unable to attend the Flyers’ recent development camp in Voorhees. 

The 6-foot-4, 209-pound, right-shot defenseman is one to keep an eye on. He was drafted 72nd overall, by the Flyers in the third round of the 2019 NHL Draft as a double-over ager, who had been passed over twice in the draft.

Early Career

Born in White Lake Township, Michigan, Attard grew up playing several seasons with the Honeybaked hockey program, as well as Victory Honda. In 2015, he was drafted in the 10th round, 158th overall, by the Tri-City Storm of the USHL. In the 2016-17 season, he made his USHL debut, where he posted three goals and two assists in 46 games. The following season, he improved his point totals to eight goals and seven assists in 50 games. He also picked up 126 minutes in penalties.

Ronnie Attard of the Tri-City Storm (courtesy USHL)

Attard’s best season by far was in 2018-19 when he won multiple awards. As team captain, he scored a staggering 30 goals and 34 assists in 48 games to lead the team in points and the league among defensemen. He set a USHL record for most goals in a single season by a defenseman and won USHL Player of the Year, USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year, USHL Defenseman of the Year, USHL Best Plus/Minus (plus-46), and USHL First All-Star Team.

Attard has stated that New York Rangers prospect Zac Jones helped him grow as a player in the USHL. The two played most of their time in Tri-City as a defense pairing, and have become very close friends since.

Where Is He Now

Attard is currently coming up in his senior year with Western Michigan University. Since being drafted by the Flyers, Attard has been a very important part of the Broncos’ success.

In his first collegiate season with the Broncos, Attard scored six goals and eight assists in 30 games, making the NCHC All-Rookie Team. While last season was cut short due to Covid, he managed to post eight goals and 14 assists in 25 games. After a strong season, Attard was named NCHC’s Best Offensive Defenseman. He also made the NCHC First All-Star Team and the First All-American Team.

Where Does Attard Fit In the Flyers’ System? 

Attard has posted consistent numbers since the 2018-19 season in the USHL, combined with elite offensive skill and a good strong shot. “Overall, his skating is decent at this age for his size, but what will need improvement are his pivots to the outside and his foot quickness. Fixing these characteristics in his skating will allow him to contain better in small spaces and furthermore help him defend better off the rush,” THW’s Peter Kapelanski wrote in 2019. With his shot and strong puck skills, Attard should make for a solid power play option. He needs to continue to work on his skating, as well as improve the defensive side of his game.

The Flyers are lacking right-shot defensemen. Attard could fill that role comfortably and it’s reassuring to see that he has transitioned well to the NCAA level. It’s hard to predict where he will slot into the Flyers’ lineup, but he will likely become a bottom-pairing defenseman. Expect to see Attard with the Flyers or Phantoms by the 2023-24 season.