The Ivan Fedotov saga has taken numerous twists and turns since the Philadelphia Flyers tried to bring the Russian goaltender over to North America. Their efforts were futile, however, as Fedotov was forced to serve a year of military service. Since then, there hasn’t been a lot of updates in regard to when the Flyers may see Fedotov.
He signed an entry-level contract in the summer of 2022, before he was detained after reportedly trying to evade military service. The contract was tolled, giving Philadelphia a chance to have him under that deal this upcoming season. But after returning from service, an understanding came out that he was going to return to Russia and play for CSKA Moscow. While the report was originally denied, it became true as Fedotov did sign a new two-year contract.
What made all of this interesting was the previous memorandum of understanding between the NHL and KHL. While the MOU had been squashed for a few years, both leagues still respected contracts that were signed and went by the unspoken role. This is the first time that there has been controversy. The NHL had looked into investigating this matter as they believe that the KHL is violating the contract that Fedotov signed with the Flyers. The KHL did not see that Fedotov having signed a binding contract, though.
Speaking for the first time, Fedotov talked about how he was able to stay in shape and the amount of hockey he was able to play during his service.
"“As part of the service, time was allocated – two 100% ice a week, where there were officers, and urgent guys, and cadets,” Fedotov said in a translated version of his press conference. “There used to be three. The rest was compensated by the hall. Combined whenever possible. Now a couple of days for acclimatization – and let’s get started. Today I had an in-depth medical examination.”"
Keeping in shape wasn’t necessarily easy, but he was able to get on the ice a few times a week. He decided to return to CSKA because he had been out of hockey for a year and wanted to get back into the shape that he once was in. Last playing in 2021-22, he helped lead his team to winning the Gagarin Cup, the KHL’s championship.
In the regular season, he posted a 14-10-2 record and a .919 save percentage. He improved upon that in the postseason, recording a .937 save percentage over 22 games on his way to the championship victory.
"“A year was missed, the level of hockey in the army, as you know, is not very high. I tried to keep my shape. Now the decision has been made.” Fedotov said. “I want to return to the podium as soon as possible and in the form in which I was. As far as we know, CSKA owns my rights, besides, it is the most titled club with the biggest ambitions. The decision to return to CSKA was made in order to start winning again, feel the adrenaline and zest for life.”"
Fedotov mentioned that he has only spoken to the Flyers once during his time away. There wasn’t much of a way to communicate with the outside world so the team learned of things once the news was made public. This situation, however, has not stopped his dream of eventually becoming an NHL goaltender.
He was also asked about if he believed that CSKA played a part in him being detained. Fedotov did not want to speculate on who played a role in it. There is no exception for anyone when it comes to serving for their country.
"“All citizens liable for military service in the country must repay their debt to their homeland. You can argue for a long time, but the law is the law. It must be observed. Everyone, in one way or another, repays the debt to the motherland."
Sergei Fedotov, head coach of CSKA Moscow and NHL Hall of Famer, was also available to speak on Fedotov’s condition as well. The team is happy to have him back and is expecting it to take some time for him to return to the form he was once in.
"“As the head coach of CSKA, I am glad that he joined us and will play for our team. It is clear that he spent a year actively, although he did not play at a high level. Our task is to create comfortable conditions for his return. I think he will quickly remember everything. In my understanding, in December we will see Ivan Fedotov, playing well at the gates of CSKA and the Russian team.”"
It’s clear that Fedotov will be spending at least the next two years with CSKA. The Flyers will continue to hold his rights as long as he remains in Russia. Whether or not the NHL will continue to honor the contract signed in 2022 is yet to be decided. Fedotov will be approaching 29 when his next contract ends. Could the Flyers still be in need of his services by then?
They recently signed Alexei Kolosov to a three-year, entry level deal. He will spend next season in the KHL as he continues to develop his game. He is likely to turn pro after that. The two sides appears to have a strong relationship and communication with how Kolosov’s development will be handled. The Flyers also drafted two goaltenders earlier this month, trading up to take Carson Bjarnason in the second round and drafting Egor Zavragin in the third round.
The Flyers will be well into their rebuild and could be close to competing again. There is no telling what the goaltending situation will look like at that point. It could all depend on the future of Carter Hart. He will be a free agent next summer. Will he want to continue spending his prime years on a rebuilding team?
That’s the biggest factor in if the Flyers would be interested in Fedotov if he becomes available to them in the future. For now, he is going to play the next two years in the KHL. We likely won’t know anything else before then.