Ivan Fedotov's Long and Strange Journey to Becoming a Flyer

Ice Hockey - Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Day 16
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Man, that took a long time. To be honest, I pretty much had Ivan Fedotov and his chances of becoming a Flyer written off. When you look at his long and bizarre story of coming to Philadelphia, there were doubts. A lot of it was out of his control. However, he has arrived and could help this team when needed, even if he simply gives Sam Ersson some time off here and there. Let's examine his strange path to the NHL.

Drafted by Philadelphia

Fedotov's Philadelphia journey began in 2015 as a 19-year-old. He was drafted in the seventh round. He was the final pick the Flyers made that year and was the third goalie selected in that year's draft. Ahead of him were Felix Sandstrom and Matej Tomek, both taken in the third round. Sandstrom was the backup in Philly, while Tomek is currently playing in the Czech league.

Fedotov was good enough to be drafted but was nothing special at that time. He was fairly raw and appeared to be a project. In his first year in the Russian MHL, their junior hockey league, he played for Reaktor Nizhnekamsk. In 24 games he had a 3.30 GAA with a save percentage of .866. In his second season, he shook off the rust. He appeared in 41 games, had a GAA of 1.91 and improved his save percentage to .911.

That's when the Flyers selected him. Based on his improved skills, former GM Ron Hextall wanted to give the kid a chance. He saw something in him that looked good.

Most players drafted go on to play in a minor league system somewhere or an overseas league to hone their skills. Then, they moved up the ranks until, hopefully, they make it to the NHL. If it had only been that easy for Fedotov

Red Star Rising

Over the next few years, Fedotov played at various levels in the Russian hockey leagues. He played in the MHL, the VHL (the Supreme Hockey League, their version of the AHL), and the KHL. After being promoted to each level, he struggled initially, as he had to get accustomed to the higher level of competition but once he figured it out, he became solid and steady.

Fedotov also played in international competitions for Russia. The highlight for him was earning a silver medal with the 2022 Russian men's hockey team at the Beijing Olympics. He was tremendous in six games, posting a 1.61 GAA and a .943 SV%.

The other highlight for him, and the one that ended up having severe consequences was when he was traded from his KHL team, the Traktor Chelyabinsk, to CSKA Moskva. While a member of CSKA, Fedotov led them to the KHL Championship. During the 2021-22 season, his stats were solid: 14-10-2 record with a 2.00 GAA  and a .919 SV% during the regular season and 1.85 GAA  with a .937 SV% in the postseason. He was named the KHL's Best Goaltender and was named to the First All-Star Team.