The Philadelphia Flyers have spent the past few years clinging to the hope they could be Stanley Cup contenders – it would be fair to say things have not gone to plan.

They have progressed past the first round of the playoffs just once since 2012-13 and have missed out on the post-season seven times during that period.

Their fans in North America and Europe have long been calling for the Flyers’ management to embark on a rebuild, but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

The Flyers were one of the bookmakers’ biggest allies last season, with their 31-38-13 record the seventh worst in the National Hockey League.

A quick look at the latest 22bet odds to win next season’s Stanley Cup paints a bleak picture, with the Flyers listed at odds of 150/1 to get their hands on the trophy.

While it would be foolish to back them to upset the odds, there are reasons to believe the Flyers can bounce back into contention over the next few seasons.

The 2023 NHL Draft could be a pivotal moment in helping them achieve their aims, with the Flyers acquiring several players who could become big stars in the NHL.

Matvei Michkov

The standout name is undoubtedly Matvei Michkov, who the Flyers drafted seventh overall in a move that took many people by surprise.

Photo: NHL/YouTube

Michkov burst onto the scene in Russia’s second-tier league before being loaned to one of the poorest teams in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). However, he produced a series of stellar performances for HC Sochi to cement his status as one of the most promising Russian youngsters in the sport.

A headline performer at the junior level with Russia, Michkov has drawn comparisons with Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin. The 18-year-old has the tools to become a goalscoring phenomenon in the NHL, but Flyers fans will have to wait a while before seeing him in action.

Michkov is contracted to SKA St Petersburg for the next three seasons and is unlikely to link up with the Flyers until 2026. The fact the Flyers are willing to wait for him not only speaks volumes about his talent but also indicates they have finally accepted a rebuild is necessary.

Oliver Bonk

Oliver Bonk’s addition to the defensive unit will be expected to play quicker dividends, with the youngster already showcasing his quality in the Ontario Hockey League.

He logged big minutes for the London Knights last season and has the scope to become a top-four blueliner in the NHL. The Flyers made several other useful additions in the NHL Draft, some of whom may take a little longer to find their feet.

With team management also in the midst of using the trade market to revamp the roster, Flyers fans will need to be patient in the short term.

Michkov’s addition to the ranks gives them the future forward superstar they have craved, albeit with the caveat that he will not be on board for the next few years.

However, if the Flyers can work the trade market effectively and pick up more gems in future NHL Drafts, Michkov could be the final piece in the jigsaw that leads to a genuine run at the Stanley Cup. 

Photo: NHL/YouTube

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