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Flyers GM Daniel Briere On How Long Rebuild Will Take … Young Defensemen … Matvei Michkov

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Daniel Briere
Daniel Briere (AP photo)

Philadelphia Flyers general manager Daniel Briere talked about the rebuild, a commitment to young defensemen and how they drafted Matvei Michkov in an appearance on 94-WIP on Wednesday.

(Briere talked about the team after he apologized for the profane hot mic incident directed at an Inquirer reporter by social media staffers on a Zoom call.)

When Briere became interim general manager in March, he declared the Flyers were a team that would undertake a rebuild. No shortcuts, no signing an aging star with little left in the tank.

Now, it’s July and the GM has traded away Ivan Provorov and Kevin Hayes — as expected — and reportedly continues to work on a Tony DeAngelo trade. He has acquired extra draft picks. He conducted what appears to be a successful draft last month. He’s signed a few free agents.

And, he drafted Michkov, a potential superstar.

There is hard work ahead, and likely some hard times, too. And Briere knows it.

“It’s tough to put a timeline on it [the rebuild],” Briere said. “From the beginning, we want to do the right thing. We wanted to do it the right way.

“The players will decide how fast this rebuild will go. But, honestly, drafting Matvei Michkov, where we know he’s got three more years left to play in Russia on his contract, kinda fit his timeline.

“Hopefully it’s quicker than that but we feel when he comes over the base will be solid and we can move in a very positive direction where we can add a player that hopefully can be a game-changer at that time.

“But time will tell. Players will tell. We’re trying to do [the rebuild] the right way. We’re not trying to skip steps and skip corners like we’ve done in the past with the patchwork. So we want to make sure it’s done at the base solidly before we move to being contenders.”

Let The Young Players Play

Briere said the Flyers gave the young forwards an opportunity this past season to see what they had. Several made strides forward, establishing themselves as contributing players with a future in the NHL.

Briere is looking forward to that happening with the young defensemen next season.

“It’s very possible [Flyers will take some lumps next season], yes,” Briere said.

“We’ve said [all] along that we’re going to let our young players play and develop. We did it with the forwards last year. Guys like [Owen] Tippett, [Morgan] Frost, [Noah] Cates, especially those guys.

“You can add [Travis] Konecny, who really had a breakthrough season. And [Joel] Farabee is going to be better after what happened to him last year.

“We want to have the chance to do a little bit of the same thing now with the defensemen. Let the guys like [Cam] York, [Egor] Zamula, [Ronnie] Attard — and Emil Andrae had a wonderful Development Camp last week.

“We want to see what our young guys have on defense as well. There’s nights where it might be tough but we’re still going to compete.

“And that’s the thing: We don’t believe in tanking. We want to build the right culture where the guys are playing hard every night but there might be nights where it’s a little tougher.”

Surprise Of The Draft

Briere and the Flyers pulled off the coup of the draft by selecting Michkov with the seventh overall pick.

Teams wanted Michkov’s talent but weren’t necessarily interested in his baggage. He was under contract to a Russian team for three years. Relations between Russia and the rest of the world are uncertain given the Ukraine invasion. Teams were concerned about Michkov’s availability given the political climate.

On draft night, Briere and the Flyers watched the draft board — and Michkov — fall right into their hands.

“We had heard the rumblings at the draft that he could fall,” Briere said. “We were hopeful but at the same time we thought there’s just smoke screen by some of the teams in front of us.

“We couldn’t believe that a player of his talent level was still available at No. 7. So when it showed up and it was our pick we were ecstatic to have the chance to select him at No. 7.

“Again, time will tell but right now we’re very excited about the selection.”

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