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Matvei Michkov A Healthy Scratch for Opener

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SKA St. Petersburg lineup sheet
SKA St. Petersburg's lineup card for Saturday's game without Matvei Michkov.

It’s one game. It’s reportedly not an injury. The Philadelphia Flyers didn’t waste a draft pick. No Negadelphia stuff.

Matvei Michkov, the Philadelphia Flyers’ first-round pick, was a healthy scratch from his SKA St. Petersburg’s game Saturday. Healthy scratch is what SKA announced and a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia that it is believed the benching was not injury related.

SKA head coach Roman Rotenberg talked about why Michkov did not play Saturday (via @HockeyNewsHub): “The absence of Michkov? Matthew is a limiter [the 13th forward]. First of all, he will be included in the squad as a limiter. And today this role was occupied by Ivan Demidov, who is younger than Matvei.

“Today he [Demidov] played key segments of the game. Here competition and sports principle. We have to win the competition. Matthew works, trains. He will play. Only this must be earned first.”

Rotenberg’s words were conveyed by correspondent Sergey Yemelyanov.

Michkov’s ice-time reportedly had decreased in the last week of SKA’s preseason games.

He is playing in the first year of a three-year contract with St. Petersburg, said to be a team chock full of veterans. On the SKA lineup card (above), there are only two teenagers listed. Michkov was considered one of the top players going into the 2023 draft. He fell through the draft and into the Flyers’ laps at No. 7 overall.

The healthy scratch is surprising because Michkov is considered one of the top prospects playing in Russia.

No team wants to see their top prospect sit out, especially the first game of the season. Moving forward, it’s more important to see if Michkov plays in the next game and how much ice-time he gets. A series of healthy scratches would be a concern. 

SKA’s next game is Monday against Togliatti Lada.

More From Russia

Flyers prospect Ivan Fedotov’s Russian team plays Sunday against the Vladivostok Admiral. There is no word if Fedotov will play, which again would be in violation of IIHF sanctions.

CSKA Moscow started Fedotov in goal Friday in the season’s first game in defiance of the IIHF sanctions that said he couldn’t play in Russia until Jan. 1. The IIHF threatened more sanctions if Fedotov plays again.

HockeyNewsHub also reported that Flyers prospect Alexei Kolosov was the back-up goalie for Dinamo Minsk on Saturday. Kolosov is on a one-year loan to Dinamo. He was a Flyers’ third-round pick (78th overall) in 2021.

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