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Why Flyers Fans Should Be Excited About Alexei Kolosov



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The Philadelphia Flyers gave up on Sergei Bobrovsky early, and he became one of the NHL's best goalies immediately after leaving. (Photo: AP)

The Philadelphia Flyers should be expecting reinforcements in net any day now.

Goaltender Alexei Kolosov and his Dinamo Minsk were eliminated from the KHL playoffs on Tuesday, which means Kolosov, who already signed his entry-level contract with the Flyers in the summer, is free to join the team whenever.


The KHL’s season doesn’t officially end until April 30, which would take the Flyers and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms well into the postseason if they are still playing at that time. In order to join the Flyers any earlier, Kolosov would need his loan/KHL contract terminated by Minsk to allow him to do so. If that does happen, Flyers fans should be excited.

The NHL is flush with stud Russian goaltenders who plied their trade in the KHL for a long time before coming over. Yes, Kolosov is Belarusian, but that’s not really the point. The point is that Kolosov’s production in the KHL stacks up to stars like Sergei Bobrovsky, Igor Shesterkin, Semyon Varlamov, and Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Kolosov (6-foot-2, 190 lbs) is closest in size to Bobrovsky (6-foot-2, 182 lbs) and Shesterkin (6-foot-1, 185 lbs), but his KHL production, per Byron Bader’s Hockey Prospecting model, closest matches that of Vasilevskiy. Oh, and Bobrovsky, as most of us know, started his career with the Flyers.

Then he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for second-round and fourth-round picks before winning the Vezina Trophy that same season.

This is not to say that Kolosov will immediately become a Vezina contender upon arrival in Philadelphia, but quite the opposite. Vasilevskiy spent most of his 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons in the AHL, and Shesterkin spent the majority of his 2019-20 season in the AHL. Varlamov had a full AHL season and was up-and-down with the Washington Capitals before taking flight with the Colorado Avalanche in 2011.

Only Bobrovsky, of this group, jumped to the NHL right away. And he did it as a member of the Flyers.

With prospects and development, not everything is black and white. Some guys are ready right away and others are not. The good news for Kolosov is that the Flyers likely aren’t expecting him to arrive in North America and turn into Clark Kent for the playoff push.

I imagine that, secretly, the 22-year-old views this as an opportunity to wash away his playoff disappointment with Minsk by being a part of a strong playoff push with the Flyers. What better way to get playoff experience than to play in a six-game series, change teams, and do it all over again?

Flyers head coach John Tortorella has often relayed that the most important part of the rebuild, right now, is for these core players to play “meaningful games”. Having Kolosov and Sam Ersson do that in their first seasons in the NHL will go a long way towards building that foundation.

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