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Why ‘No Update’ on Flyers’ Matvei Michkov Is a Good Thing



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(Photo: AP)

It has been three weeks since the initial report that top Philadelphia Flyers prospect Matvei Michkov would terminate his contract with his parent KHL club, SKA St. Petersburg, in order to begin playing in the NHL. The Flyers indeed caught wind of the report, and in the aftermath, nobody has really said a word.

Michkov and SKA head coach Roman Rotenberg both acknowledged and addressed the report in isolated interviews, and neither confirmed nor denied the report. At his press conference on Wednesday morning, Flyers president Keith Jones told us what he knows of the situation. Or rather, what he doesn’t know.

“When we drafted him, the expectation was he would finish his contract with SKA,” Jones remarked, maintaining his and the club’s innocence in the matter. “So, we are listening. We are reading many of your articles and kind of following along. We have no update on it.”

Recall that SKA chairman Alexander Medvedev had previously stated on the record about how his club’s relationship with the Flyers was strong, saying, “We understand that Matvei is a great talent. It’s not even anything to discuss. I think we will talk about all the options, starting with ourselves. And we will also talk with the leaders of Philadelphia, with whom we have a very good relationship. I think that the decision on Michkov will be no later than the end of June.”

Medvedev’s comments, made back at the end of April, are now rapidly approaching the proverbial day of judgement. The end of June is just three weeks away, so an update should be coming sooner than later. And until then, the Flyers are pleading the fifth.

“We absolutely love what he is going to bring to the Flyers. If that timeline is sped up, that would be wonderful. But we don’t know,” Jones clarified. “When he arrives, our fan base is going to be pretty excited about getting a really talented player that is different than what we have right now.”

What the Flyers have right now is a rebuilder, led by All-Star forward Travis Konecny–a player who will likely be reduced to a second-line role in the near future to the benefit of Michkov. That is something Jones and Danny Briere can hang over the heads of Konecny and his agent in order to keep the price down in negotiations. If they can’t do that, history says the money and age will come back to bite the Flyers in the future.

Also consider that the Flyers have, in no way, compromised their mission so far. They were able to successfully migrate goalies Ivan Fedotov and Alexei Kolosov over from the KHL in March and April without much information getting out there.

Fedotov, in particular, was a move that came from way back in left field, and that might even be an understatement. Flyers fans generally expected Kolosov to make the switch to North America following the conclusion of Dinamo Minsk’s KHL season, but that took a bit longer than expected due to what was revealed to be visa and immigration processes.

Considering Konecny’s contract negotiations, the Carter Hart legal situation, the Ryan Johansen debacle, and now the Michkov saga, the Flyers’ new regime has proven rather adept at balancing the past, present, and future without having things blow up in their faces. The latter part could still become true with time, but not now.

The Flyers have taken all the right steps to ensure that they bring Michkov to Philadelphia on amicable terms; a wise business practice both now and in the future.

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