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Flyers’ Matvei Michkov Officially Terminates KHL Contract, Speaks Out

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(Photo: AP)

The Philadelphia Flyers announced on Tuesday afternoon that star prospect Matvei Michkov had officially terminated his contract with KHL club SKA St. Petersburg, allowing the 19-year-old to make the highly-anticipated transition to the NHL this season.

Flyers general manager Danny Briere issued the following statement:

“The Philadelphia Flyers were informed earlier today of Matvei Michkov’s release from his KHL contract with SKA Hockey Club. We are certainly excited to learn of this news and look forward to reconnecting with Matvei’s representatives in the coming days. Additionally, we are appreciative of SKA Saint Petersburg for allowing Matvei Michkov to pursue his dream of playing in the NHL.”

It is important to note some of the semantics used in the statement, as well. Briere says they look forward to reconnecting with Michkov’s representatives, implying that they were not connected with them throughout this process. Then, SKA allowing Michkov to pursue his dream of playing in the NHL suggests that Michkov is getting that guarantee of NHL time that SKA head coach Roman Rotenberg bartered for previously.

Michkov also came out with his side of the ordeal through Russian media outlet MatchTV.

“After much thought, I decided to try my hand at the NHL. I want to say a huge thank you to the SKA management for being accommodating in this matter. I immediately stated my position that I only want to play for SKA in the KHL — no trades or loans. I will try to make it to the NHL, but if I return to the KHL, I will only play in St. Petersburg,” Michkov said. “It was not an easy decision, but I feel it was the right one: I am full of strength and desire to prove that I am worthy of playing there. In addition, it was my father’s long-time dream: he really wanted to see my debut in the NHL, and it is extremely important for me to take this step, including for his sake. I am sure he would support me in this.

“Thanks to Roman Borisovich Rotenberg for believing in me, inviting me to SKA, giving me every opportunity to develop and improve my game. Thanks to all the coaches, players, and staff with whom I worked, played, and won here. And, of course, thanks to our fans. I am sure we will meet again. See you, Petersburg!”

Michkov’s father, Andrei, tragically passed away one year ago after being found deceased near a pond in Sochi on April 4, 2023, two days after he was reported as missing. The Russian Ice Hockey Federation had later announced that Andrei passed away in “unexplained circumstances” in a statement released to their social media channels.

“We have great respect for the memory of his father, who worked at SKA. He did a lot to develop his son’s talent. We know that Andrei Michkov dreamed of Matvey playing in the NHL one day. We will not put obstacles in the way of this dream coming true,” Rotenberg said on his telegram channel.

The next steps Michkov needs to take to join the Flyers will be to sign his entry-level contract and finish the process of getting his work visa.

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