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Flyers Could Select Matvei Michkov’s Friend in 2024 NHL Draft

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Ivan Demidov
(Photo: SKA St. Petersburg)

The Philadelphia Flyers desperately need “high-end talent”, but making good on one of the organization’s top buzz-phrases is easier said than done, especially when you have the 12th overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. But, what if I told you that the Flyers might not have to do anything at all, and whatever you do once, you can do twice?

The Flyers lucked out in the 2023 NHL Draft when star forward prospect Matvei Michkov slid down to them at the 7th overall pick. For a brief period of time, it seemed like Michkov and 2022 draft pick Cutter Gauthier would lead the charge for the future of the Orange and Black, except that reality has not and never will come to be.

Gauthier was swapped out for defenseman Jamie Drysdale in January, leaving the Flyers with Michkov and a whole lot of uncertainty behind him for the future of the organization at the forward position. Prospects Denver Barkey and Samu Tuomaala could develop into nice middle-six supplementary pieces in the near future, but after them, there are more questions than answers.

Fortunately for the Flyers, it appears that another top Russian prospect, and one that happens to be close friends with Michkov, could end up slipping down the draft boards of NHL teams in short order.

FloHockey’s Chris Peters, a longtime NHL draft and prospect analyst, shared on Monday that NHL teams are showing hesitance when it comes to MHL starlet Ivan Demidov.

Said Peters, “In speaking with people in and around the combine in Buffalo, the sense I am getting is that Ivan Demidov’s chances of going among the first three picks in this draft is tenuous at best. There are still a number of concerns and some team personnel I spoke with are skeptical those concerns will be cleared up in June when Demidov travels to the U.S. for meetings with teams.

“There are still legitimate concerns about Demidov’s plans after his contract expires next season. NHL teams are openly wondering if SKA St. Petersburg attempts to sign him to an extension and what that would mean for his NHL timeline.”

Does that sound familiar, Flyers fans?

Demidov, 18, is property of KHL dynamo SKA St. Petersburg, just like Michkov is. The one key difference between the two friends is that Demidov has mostly played for SKA-1946 St. Petersburg in the MHL, while Michkov has parts of three years of KHL experience from loan spells with HK Sochi.

Despite that, some draft critics feel that Demidov is the better talent.

Back in February, Demidov was endorsed by Michkov in an interview, where the Flyers prospect says the two are friends and that Demidov is his favorite prospect. “I closely monitor Vanya Demidov, he scores a lot of points for SKA-1946. We communicate well, friends. Watching his successes,” Michkov had said. “I’m glad that everything works out for him, let it be MHL. But let it take shape there, grow. I believe that at an adult level he will show the same hockey. Of the young ones, I like Demids the most.”

Should the questions facing Demidov cause him to slip further down the draft towards Flyers territory, it could mean that Philadelphia selects, and thereby has in their ranks, arguably two of the best Russian talents to enter the NHL draft in the last decade.

That is in addition to finally bringing over star KHL goaltender Ivan Fedotov and their continued development of former undrafted defenseman Egor Zamula. And then there’s Alexei Kolosov who, despite being undeniably very talented, is becoming a bit of a wildcard.

The good thing about wildcards is that you don’t have to worry about them when you continue to accrue talent from all different sources.

A potential pairing of Demidov and Michkov would only boost the likelihood the two star prospects join forces in Philadelphia in the future, but whether Demidov truly does fall to the Flyers ultimately remains to be seen.

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