While there has been plenty for Philadelphia Flyers fans to be happy about with the current team, a future member could have to wait longer than expected to join.
Matvei Michkov is in year two of his contract in the KHL that runs through the 2025-26 season. He signed the original five-year deal with SKA Saint Petersburg during the 2021-22 season. But a potential new rule may change all of that. In an interview with MatchTV, well-known agent Shumi Babaev spoke on the current situation with one of his clients, Nikita Evseev. Babaev shared an interesting quote in that conversation as he discussed what’s next for his client.
"“Evseev can go abroad. Just terminate the contract and leave. The guy is very determined and says he won’t tolerate this. But neither he nor I want to leave Russia. This will be a forced measure. We have an order from the president, according to which young players should stay here - in Russia.”"- Shumi Babaev
There are two ways that this can be interpreted. The first is what is being alluded to above. That would mean Michkov will have at least an extra year or two added, even though his contract ends after the 2025-26 season. That would be devastating news to the Flyers and was always a concern when drafting Michkov. We have already seen this type of situation play out with Ivan Fedotov. And that was even after he signed his NHL contract and made an attempt to come to North America. CSKA's recent appeal to allow Fedotov to play in Russia was denied, so he is not playing.
The other way this can potentially be interpreted is that Michkov will already appear in five seasons in the KHL by the end of his contract. He would only need two more years to reach that total. It will depend on how the league is going to use the rule. Will it count from the rule being applied, or will players have years counted already in the league before it? That is the big question we do not have the answer to right now.
This situation could also affect Russian goaltender Yegor Zavragin. The 18-year-old has not appeared in the KHL yet. He has split his time between the VHL and MHL, where he has put up impressive numbers. If he is to debut next season, this rule would mean he would not be available to the team until at least after the 2028-29 season. It would, of course, be longer if more time passes before he heads to the KHL. The Flyers aren't necessarily hurting for goaltending depth at this moment, but who knows what will happen by then.
Alexei Kolosov is in a different situation, as the communication between the Flyers and Dinamo Minsk has been wide open. The expectation is that Kolosov will be loaned to the KHL next season, where he continues to develop. This move will burn the first year of his ELC. Sticking to that plan, though, will help when it comes time for him to move to North America. Things can change by then, but at the moment, there does not appear to be any worries in Kolosov's arrival to the NHL.
The Flyers, namely John Tortorella, have already admitted their current style is built around players like Michkov. Not having him on the team when expected could mess with things quite a bit. This news does not ruin the Flyers' rebuild plans. The rebuild was already in motion before Michkov was drafted. Depending on where the team is in a few years, having a potential high-end player like Michkov would help. This is another saga that the Flyers will have to wait through unless they find a way to bring Michkov over sooner.