Matvei Michkov has sent a jolt of energy through the hockey world and electrified the Philadelphia Flyers’ fan base.
Michkov’s hockey skills aren’t in question. He was seen as close to top pick Connor Bedard in talent. That kind of talent isn’t available at 7. He was there because of the uncertainty over his availability.
“I do have a contract [through 2026 in Russia], but I’m hoping as soon as I can get out, I’m going to come here,” Michkov said after the Flyers drafted him.
The Flyers understood this delicate situation when they drafted him.
“It is what it is,” Flyers general manager Daniel Briere said. “We know he has a contract for three more seasons.
“But we just felt after watching him play and meeting him, we felt he’s a talent we can’t pass up. If we have to wait, we’ll wait.”
Compliments For Michkov
The hockey world reacted with praise to the Flyers drafting Michkov.
“You’ve heard me talk about him as a comparable to Lionel Messi, and I think that Matvei Michkov on the hockey rink has those similar type of abilities to produce offense,” TSN director of scouting Craig Button said.
From The Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis: “Philadelphia grabs Matvei Michkov. It might be understated just how good Michkov’s time with Sochi was. An unbelievable talent that was neck and neck with Connor Bedard when they faced off against each other.”
Said Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr: “A world-class player. We didn’t [have] live viewings but we’ve watched him over the last few years. Very excited to get this type of talent. Can’t do it very often.”
Dropped In Draft
San Jose had the fourth overall pick and a clear shot at taking Michkov. The Sharks chose not to, going instead with Will Smith. Sharks general manager Mike Grier was one of the few voices of dissent.
“The Michkov thing, it kind of is what it is,” Grier told the San Jose media after the draft.
“We had some concerns. He’s a special talent on the ice, there’s no doubt about that. Super-skilled, can do things a lot of other players can’t.
“But there were some things that we weren’t completely satisfied with to be able to take someone with a fourth-overall pick.”
Montreal, at 5, was regarded as a likely spot for Michkov but the Canadiens instead drafted defenseman David Reinbacher. Arizona at 6 also passed on Michkov and chose a defenseman.
Briere gladly watched Michkov drop — right into the Flyers’ hands.
“We hope that this turns out to be a home run,” Briere said. “Time will tell. It’s a little early.
“But we feel when he’s ready to come, he could really be a difference-maker. And that’s the risk that we were willing to take, to wait a little bit, to hopefully have a difference-maker on our hands.”
Flyers, In Case You Missed It:
Opinion: Daniel Briere’s selection of Matvei Michkov has given Flyers’ fans hope.
Meet Daniel Briere’s promising first draft class.
Opinion: Flyers want to draft Michkov and will trade up if necessary.
Around The National Hockey Network:
Boston Hockey Now: Deadline to buy out defenseman Mike Reilly is Friday.
Calgary Hockey Now: Plenty of potential in Flames’ 2-7 draft picks.
Chicago Hockey Now: Blackhawks acquire veteran forward Corey Perry.
Colorado Hockey Now: Where the Avalanche stand with salary cap.
Detroit Hockey Now: Red Wings acquired the rights to Klim Kostin and Kailer Yamamoto from Edmonton for future considerations.
Los Angeles Hockey Now: Kings add size and upside in draft.
Montreal Hockey Now: Canadiens drafted for need in 2023 draft.
Nashville Hockey Now: What did Barry Trotz offer to move into top 5?
New Jersey Hockey Now: Instant analysis on Devils’ draft picks.
New York Islanders Hockey Now: Isles draft review.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Penguins reach into Europe for late-round draft picks.
Washington Hockey Now: Capitals thrilled over upside of Day 2 draft picks.