If Matvei Michkov is in tow, have the Flyers hastened their rebuild?

Matvei Michkov can't be the Flyers' savior, but will they open their contention window earlier thanks to his presence?
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

If the rumblings are true, Matvei Michkov is headed stateside to join the Philadelphia Flyers in time for the 2024-25 NHL season. This is a huge step for the franchise as they look to turn this 'New Era of Orange' into an era of competitiveness and ultimately a championship (or more).

It's an exciting development for the Flyers to add such a dynamic player into the mix, and it will certainly elevate the games of those who get to play with him. That alone won't be enough to make the Flyers serious contenders, but Michkov's arrival is a major piece of the puzzle that Keith Jones and Danny Briere are attempting to assemble.

It was widely accepted that Michkov would take three full years to arrive in the NHL after being drafted, thanks to his contractual obligations in the KHL. But now, if Michkov arrives two years ahead of schedule, it begs the question of whether the Flyers will speed up the process of trying to ice a winning team, as well as whether they should do so.

If Matvei Michkov is in tow, have the Flyers hastened their rebuild?

The thinking was that the Flyers would start to accumulate players to put around Michkov in the 2026 offseason, as they surrounded him with some help for his rookie season before ramping up into a 'win now' mode in the following seasons. Thanks to this somewhat surprising development, however, one has to wonder if Flyers management will bring in a major roster piece or two as soon as this summer to offer Michkov some assistance in Year 1. At the very least, it appears that they would be wise to make some splashy moves next offseason, which is still ahead of the original timeline.

The status of incumbent Flyers has to be called into question here, too. Michkov isn't coming over to play 11 minutes a night with Ryan Poehling. He has to be on a scoring line, making you think that the likes of Joel Farabee or perhaps even Travis Konecny might be moved to clear up a spot.

It's a bit of a highwire act for the Flyers, as they must decide who on the roster will be important for Michkov to have around to begin with and who might be expendable to acquire future assets that could line up better with the years where Michkov will hopefully be at the peak of his powers. There are no right or wrong answers right now, but you can be sure that any moves that are or aren't made will be hyper-analyzed years later.

The Flyers may have pulled off a major coup of sorts here, getting probably the second-best player from last year's draft at the #7 selection after he was passed over because of the presumed three-year wait for his services and the uncertain Russian geopolitical climate. The Flyers had nothing to lose and took a shot, figuring that they were in a position to wait it out. Now, something good may have finally fallen into their laps after years of horrible luck that was often compounded by bad moves.

It remains to be seen if Michkov is some sort of Eric Lindros-like presence (he shouldn't have all that kind of weight put on him), but this at least qualifies as the most exciting development for Flyers Nation in many moons. They likely still won't be a playoff team in 2024-25, but it will be fascinating to see just how much the contention window has been moved forward.

Timelines always have to remain dynamic as a team's front office adapts to the changing environment around them. The best teams and most successful franchises know how to adjust when they should put their foot on the gas, and when it wouldn't be wise to do so. The Flyers' current management has made some bold moves since coming into power, and they seem to have a grasp of what it takes to win.

Now, it will be time to see exactly how they plan to get the Flyers back to being at the top of the league. It's been far too long, and Michkov will be a major part of executing this long-overdue turnaround.