The Flyers stole the show at the 2023 NHL Draft.
Philadelphia chose Russian phenom Matvei Michkov with the seventh overall pick. 

Let us get to know more about the Russian star.

The 18-year-old Michkov is from the Russian town of Perm. With a population of just under one million, Perm is the 13th largest city in Russia while being over 800 miles east of the capital in Moscow.

Michkov stands in at 5’8″ and 175 pounds as a left-handed shooting forward. He was seen as one of the best players in his draft class. But, fell to seventh overall because of the ongoing issues with Russia and more.

Matvei Michkov has been playing professional-level hockey in Russia since 2020. He plays for SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL, where preseason games for this year have already started as a part of the Sochi Open.

Michkov, usually a right-wing, was moved to the center position.

Additionally, he was on both the power play and penalty kill units. Throughout the round-robin style tournament, Michkov left Flyers fans with much to hope for. He serval goals and assists, a strong forecheck, incredible skill, and a high hockey IQ which can hopefully translate to the North American game. Michkov could be one of the draft’s biggest steals due to the uncertainty of drafting a Russian player. Such as fewer scouting reports and having to wait longer for them to make their debut on this continent.

Hockey writers believe that Michkov could have a ceiling as high as Connor Bedard with the extra time he takes to develop his game in Russia. One thing fans can be hopeful of is the day that Cutter Gauthier and Matvei Michkov take to the ice together wearing orange and black.

Flyers fans should not hold their breath waiting for Michkov to come to America.

He is under contract with SKA St. Petersburg until the end of the 2026 season. At the same time, there is also the challenge of getting players out of Russia with continuous political uncertainty. As the Russian government might not want to let, a skilled young player leave their county to play in America. This can be proven with Flyers prospect Ivan Fedotov being detained for a year to serve his mandatory military service. Before last season there were fears that Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov would not be allowed to leave Russia to return to America for the upcoming season after he went home for the summer. And it may be the reason why Alex Ovechkin’s Instagram profile picture is of him and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Experts believe that if Russian hockey players speak about their country in a negative way that they will be in danger if they return to Russia and any family that still live there, which may have already affected Michkov’s family. On April 2nd of this year, Matvei’s father, Andrey Michkov, went missing, and his body was discovered two days later. It is still unknown what happened to Andrey Michkov, but his death raises suspicion since it happened weeks before the draft to the father of a player whose NHL front offices wanted to get to America as quickly as possible and out of his KHL contract.

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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