Is Matvei Michkov Worth Holding Onto?

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits / Terry Wyatt/GettyImages

When newly minted Flyers' general manager Daniel Briere announced Philly's first of two draft picks this past June, he made a lot of Flyers faithful fans excited. The team had drafted Russian phenom Matvei Michkov with the seventh overall pick. The selection was seen as a huge steal as he was projected as being the best player in draft not named Connor Bedard.

There was, however, one wrinkle in drafting him. He was signed to a long term deal in the KHL. Despite the fact that he said he'd love to play in the NHL and for Philly, the 18 year old won't be donning orange and black for quite a while. A recent news story suggests that his debut, in the NHL, could be as long as six years. Though, it appears he could avoid staying longer than his current contract.

The Flyers are currently in a rebuild mode. Five or six years from now could mean that Travis Konecny, Sean Couturier, and Scott Laughton are long gone. The torch could be passed over to Owen Tippett, Morgan Frost, and Cutter Gauthier to take the reins of this team into the 2030s. Maybe Michkov, being 24 or 25 at that point, could be an asset that the Flyers could use. After all, he's already been an All-Star in the KHL.

But what if the Flyers don't want to wait that long for his services? Instead, what if they could trade his rights for a draft pick right now or to add a player that could bolster the lineup for a playoff run?

The Flyers are poised for the postseason. What if it took the rights to Michkov to add a player like William Nylander, Casey Mittelstad, Martin Necas, Elias Lindholm, or Cole Perfetti in a sign and trade deal? What if a player could be acquired that would turn the Flyers from dreamers into contenders now?

Or, if instead of a trade deadline deal, what if Michkov could be traded for a first round pick (or picks)? Maybe he could be packaged with the Flyers first rounder for this year for a lottery level pick? That player could end up making a mark on the Flyers a lot sooner than Michkov could.

Dealing with players in the KHL can be tricky. The Flyers have not had a lot of success thus far with them. After all, the Flyers have had a heck of a time with Ivan Fedotov. And while the KHL would love to have Russian stars showcase their talent on the NHL stage, at the same time, they’d love to keep their talent at home. As we've seen with treaties and agreements regarding Olympic sports, the Russians aren't always reliable when it comes to holding up their end of the bargain.

Would it be nice to see Michkov playing here in Philly? Absolutely. Maybe there is a way that they can smuggle him out of St. Petersburg to neighboring Finland or Estonia to bring him over. Either way, this is a predicament that the Flyers are in. Should they play the long wait game and risk never seeing him at all? Should they cash out now and risk that he becomes the next Alex Ovechkin? Time will tell.