The Philadelphia Flyers stole the show early in the offseason, but it’s been quiet for them since. With less than a week until the 2023 NHL Draft, the options that will be available to the Flyers on draft night, as well as Matvei Michkov’s future, are unclear as ever.
Despite the constant rumours surrounding the Philadelphia Flyers, Daniel Briere is yet to pull the trigger on another trade, lest one that would yield the organization another first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. The offseason is far from over, though, and Briere might be shifting his focus towards narrowing down which prospects he will be most interested in drafting on Wednesday. The narrative around the draft hasn’t changed much, if at all; Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, and Leo Carlsson are still expected to be the first three players off the board. The draft truly starts at pick four with the San Jose Sharks. After that, it’s anyone’s game.
With the seventh pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Philadelphia Flyers select…
Without question, Russian superstar Matvei Michkov is the most polarizing prospect in this draft class. Michkov is a supremely talented winger whose hockey IQ and vision are second to none amongst his peers, including Connor Bedard. For all his strengths, Michkov doesn’t come without risks. On the contrary, Michkov might come with more risks than strengths. For starters, Michkov is signed with SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL until 2026, which means three hockey seasons where Michkov is not in the building with the organization, coaches, and teammates. Then, teams selecting Michkov run the risk of the winger never actually coming over to North America. The NHL has also shown an abundance of bias against Russian players recently, with previous reports suggesting that teams will be less likely to sign or draft prospects due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Alex Mogilny, among others, was snubbed by Hockey Hall of Fame voters again, as well. For these reasons, it has been virtually impossible to get a gauge on where Michkov will go in the draft, and which teams are interested in him. The Flyers, however, might genuinely be interested in Michkov after all. Flyers amateur scouting director Brent Flahr said Thursday that “We’ve done a lot of our background and we’ll spend time with [Matvei Michkov] and his family. We’ll get a comfort level and make a decision real quick”.
If Matvei Michkov truly does fall in the draft, it would be a no-brainer for the Philadelphia Flyers to take a flier on him. As a player, Michkov’s only true weakness is his average skating ability, which can be worked on and corrected over time, if not by the time his KHL contract is up. Michkov is diminutive in size and isn’t explosive, but his ability to read the ice should allow him to make up for that and get him to the right places at the right times. Michkov has an elite shot, elite hands, and elite vision that will allow him to pile up the points at the NHL level if he develops. If the cookie crumbles the right way, the Flyers could end up with a top-10 talent in the NHL in Matvei Michkov.
Pro comparison: Patrick Kane