Flyers plans won’t change even if Matvei Michkov arrives early

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One / Jason Kempin/GettyImages

Matvei Michkov’s reported early arrival made headlines a few weeks ago. It has been complete silence since then. It’s the nature of the beast when dealing with getting a player out of a KHL contract.

As Dan Hilferty and Keith Jones took to the podium on Wednesday morning, they discussed the a multitude of topics about the first season of the rebuild. When the subject of Michkov came up, the two were unsurprisingly noncommital. They didn't outright shut down the possibility of him showing up this upcoming season. They also did not show a ton of optimism that he would. It was strictly business.

But regardless of whether he comes to Philadelphia this year or in the coming years, Jones mentioned that the Flyers front office will approach their decisions the same way.

"“Yeah, it really doesn't affect it because, when we drafted him, the expectation was that he would finish his contract with SKA. We are listening, as well as reading many of your articles, and kind of following along. We have no update on it. We would welcome him with welcome arms. 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. We will watch along closely like you guys are as well, and when he arrives, our fanbase is going to be pretty excited about getting a highly talented player that is different then what we have right now. I think our fans are looking forward to that, for sure.”"

It is also no surprise that the Flyers do not have an update on Michkov's situation. They are not allowed to be involved in the decision making. That is up to Michkov and his current team. His KHL contract is still valid. So until it's not, there can be no outside voices making any calls in regard to where he plays.

With dead cap space playing an important role in how much space the Flyers have, don't expect them to be huge players in free agency. Never say never, but a quiet summer is expected in Philadelphia. With more younger players looking to carve roles for themselves on the NHL squad, the plan is to continue allowing them to do so. It's one of a few things the team has to focus on to do things right.

""There's no room for error on whatever players we add to the mix in a couple of years. Those are things that we have to pay a lot of attention to right now. And that's something that we're really focused on. Some of that is growth from within, some of our younger players, and whoever we draft with the two first round picks we have this year, and then the multiple first round picks next year," Jones said. "That's going to be key. At the same time, the removal of money off the cap, the dead money, is something that we're going to be able to use to our benefit, as long as we do everything right here and make sure that this is a place that people want to play. It's really important for us to get that message out.""

Jones noted the seeing the progression of players like Oliver Bonk and Hunter McDonald, two players the organization is very happy with. While neither is likely to jump into the NHL next season, they are part of the next wave of prospects that can help this team progress. Having Michkov on the roster will make this team better, no matter when he shows up. But other players can help the team soon as well.

That doesn't mean that someone like Hilferty isn't waiting in anticipation for what the Russian star can bring to this team. Hilferty joked that he asks "three times a day" about Michkov's status to which Jones joked in response that he doesn't answer those calls.

""Look, I'm a fan. The way I look at it is, he's still a young individual. As much fun as it would be and as good as it would be from creating that environment and getting fans excited," Hilferty said. "Yeah, I hope it happens, but we knew he's under a three-year contract. I can't be just a fan about this. I totally understand that. It's a situation where we have zero control over him, and we will continue to watch him regardless of where he plays. At some point, it will be a great thing for the Philadelphia Flyers.""

Whether or not Michkov comes this season or at the end of his KHL contract, he brings star talent to the Flyers. Two years remain on his contract. Everyone, including Hilferty, will continue to wait and see what happens next.