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Carchidi: Flyers Will Benefit Greatly if Michkov Arrives Early, But…

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(Photo: SKA St. Petersburg)

If dynamic winger/center Matvei Michkov does indeed come to the Philadelphia Flyers for the 2024-25 season, do not expect him to turn the team into an instant Stanley Cup contender.

But he would expedite the Great Rebuild.

Getting a year of NHL experience in this upcoming season — two years before his KHL contract with SKA St. Petersburg in Russia expires — would greatly benefit Michkov and enable him to develop at a more rapid rate.

But the team surrounding him is just so-so. Many more quality players are needed, especially at center, before the Flyers can compete with the NHL heavyweights.

That said, getting Michkov to Philadelphia ahead of time could entice general manager Danny Briere to hit the free-agent market earlier — say before the 2025-26 season, when the Flyers should get out of cap hell.

So there are a lot of pluses if Michkov is released from his Russian contract. Will that happen?

Well, there are lots of hints being dropped that he will soon join the Orange and Black.

SKA coach Roman Rotenberg called the creative 19-year-old forward a “high-level player,” and said that that “if someone wants to buy those rights, let’s discuss.”

The money can’t come from the Flyers, so Michkov would need to be able to front the payment. Many KHL executives believe it would be in the player’s best interest to head to the NHL.

“I’m hopeful they do the right thing,” Briere said Thursday of the KHL releasing Michkov from his contract, “but I really don’t know” if it will.

Briere said the Philadelphia Flyers “have had no talks” with the KHL team, “and we aren’t allowed to buy him out. This is between them and the player.”

Stay tuned. This should be resolved by late June. By then, we should know if the Flyers’ 2024-25 season will have a much-needed extra jolt of energy.

On the Broad Street Bullies

It amazes me that some fans are complaining because the media is saluting the 50th anniversary of the Flyers’ first Stanley Cup championship.

Those complaining say the Flyers are living in the past.

Said one fan on X (formerly Twitter): “Flyers are celebrating the ’70s and building statues of these guys while other teams are winning Cups now. Time to wake up.”

Another fan tweeted he’s been celebrating for over 50 years and he’s “over it.”

My take: There’s nothing wrong with celebrating the ’70s glory days as long as the organization’s eyes are on the future… which they are.

Tortorella fades

John Tortorella probably would have finished in the top three in the Coach of the Year voting if the Flyers didn’t have an epic late-season collapse. An eight-game losing streak cost them a playoff spot.

Tortorella finished 12th in the voting; he received two second-place votes. Vancouver coach Rick Tocchet, a former Flyers star forward, won the award in a landslide.

Six men who finished in the Coach-of-the-Year top 10 have ties to the Flyers as a player, coach, or assistant coach: 1. Tocchet; 4. the New York Rangers’ Peter Laviolette; 5. Edmonton’s Kris Knoblauch; 6. Florida’s Paul Maurice (a Flyers draft pick); 8. Carolina’s Rod Brind’Amour; and 9. Boston’s Jim Montgomery.

Tocchet was the third Vancouver coach in franchise history to win the award. The other two? Pat Quinn and Alain Vigneault. Yep, two others with Flyers ties.

Sam Carchidi writes a weekly column for Philly Hockey Now. He and Jeff Hare are working on a TV series on the Flyers’ glory days, tentatively called “Bullies.” Carchidi can be reached at samcarchidi55@gmail.com.

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