It’s been a very Merry Christmas for most Philadelphia Flyers fans, as the team finds itself with an 18-11-4 record and sitting pretty at 12th place in the NHL. If you’re Flyers GM Danny Briere, though, the latest news out of Russia might give you a little bit more than just a winter chill.
In a chat with MatchTV, well-known Russian agent Shumi Babaev shared, whilst discussing the situation around client Nikita Evseev, that “We have an order from the President, according to which young players should stay here – in Russia.”
This is notable because, in recent months, it has been speculated that the Russian Ice Hockey Federation had been working to formulate a set of rules that would determine how long teenaged prospects would have to stay and play in Russia before heading elsewhere. For the Flyers and Matvei Michkov, this could potentially mean a wait time of 4-5 years, even though Michkov’s current KHL contract runs only through 2026. 2023 draft pick Yegor Zavragin just turned 18 in August and hasn’t played in the KHL at all yet. If the Flyers can’t get their hands on these guys on schedule, the entire rebuild timeline will have been turned upside down.
The good news, though, is that the Flyers won’t have as much reason to worry with Alexei Kolosov. The Belarusian goalie has already signed a contract with the Flyers, and is currently on loan with the KHL’s Dinamo Minsk. Minsk, of course, is located in Belarus and not Russia. This is not to say the risk factor has been completely eliminated for the Flyers, but the chance Kolosov comes to Philadelphia is substantially higher.
No matter what, the Flyers are going to be waiting until 2026 for Matvei Michkov, and probably even longer for Yegor Zavragin. A lot can change between now and then, even with the hostile political climate and the defunct Memorandum of Understanding between the NHL and the KHL. By extension, that also means things can get worse.
The Flyers must do everything in their power to ensure Michkov arrives in Philadelphia when the time comes.