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Ivan Fedotov Contract Reaction; Flyers Struck a Bad Deal?

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Flyers fans and the broader hockey community aren't fans of the Ivan Fedotov contract extension. (Photo: AP)

The Philadelphia Flyers announced their agreement with Ivan Fedotov on a two-year, $6.55 million contract extension hours after the reported agreement first hit the internet, but the contract hasn’t been a big hit amongst Flyers fans or the broader hockey community.

The small picture shows a 27-year-old Fedotov with three games of NHL experience, a 0-1-1 record, and a .811 save percentage. Looking at these three things in particular, $3.25 million a year seems like quite a lot, even with a minimal commitment as far as the term goes.

However, the reality is that the Flyers were never going to sign Fedotov to a “cheap”, per se, contract after he played on an entry-level contract for this season. This is the same Fedotov that won an Olympic Silver Medal, the Gagarin Cup, and KHL Best Goaltender just two seasons ago.

And the Flyers had planned to bring Fedotov in then, before he was arrested, detained, and stuffed onto a Russian naval base for a year to do military service, missing all of 2022-23. Fedotov still enjoyed a successful return to hockey this season, going 21-22-1 with CSKA Moscow to the tune of a .914 save percentage and four shutouts.

Sure, Fedotov’s numbers weren’t as great as some of his peers’ numbers in the KHL; he was 10th in save percentage amongst goaltenders with 44 or more games played. His KHL save percentage was, however, demonstrably better than Alexei Kolosov‘s (.907) despite the two having almost identical numbers across the board otherwise.

That’s the same Kolosov who general manager Danny Briere referred to as a “top goalie prospect” as recently as Friday.

Briere and the Flyers know as well as anybody the risk and reward associated with this Fedotov contract. Multiple reports have suggested that the framework of this contract being in place was the only reason Fedotov left Russia, to begin with.

If a moderate overpay is what it takes for the Flyers to bring in a monstrous goalie who’s won at every level, it’s a worthy gamble. Plus, what else are they going to spend their money on?

The Flyers are already saddled with a ton of albatross contracts for at least the next season. Names like Cam Atkinson, Ryan Johansen, and Cal Petersen come to mind.

Plus, there doesn’t seem to be a plan in place to deal with Ryan Ellis’s contract.

Briere and head coach John Tortorella have both admitted, several times, that the Flyers are not yet in a position to be hunting in free agency and handing out big contracts. They signed Owen Tippett to a lucrative contract extension because they have already decided he will be a part of their team for a long time.

Travis Konecny is eligible to sign a contract extension on July 1, but neither he nor the Flyers have said anything positive regarding that. Who knows where that goes.

Many have taken to social media to lament the Fedotov contract, but the truth is that it really doesn’t matter. We can say for sure that Sam Ersson is the team’s de facto starter for at least next season, and he’s earned that right.

It’s up to the team to integrate Fedotov, develop him and improve his lateral movements, and make him an NHL-level goalie. Fedotov just needs to be better than Cal Petersen and Felix Sandstrom were this season, and that’s not asking for much.

If Fedotov doesn’t pan out like everyone had hoped, the Flyers still have Kolosov, Carson Bjarnason, and Egor Zavragin coming through the pipeline. By the time they make it to the NHL level, it won’t matter how much the Flyers paid Fedotov.

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