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Flyers prospect Michkov makes season debut in KHL

The 18-year-old played limited minutes

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After a pair of healthy scratches, Matvei Michkov made his season debut Wednesday.

And the fact that he played turned out to be the biggest storyline because the Flyers' prospect didn't play much, finishing with 6:12 minutes over 11 shifts. The 18-year-old went scoreless as SKA St. Petersburg lost to Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod, 4-3.

As we've noted, SKA St. Petersburg is one of the premier teams in the KHL, Russia's top pro league. The KHL is not touted as a developmental league because there's plenty of experience and a huge focus on winning.

However, with time, Michkov should get some opportunities. He's one of the top prospects in Russian hockey and put up 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) through 27 KHL games last season playing on loan for Sochi.

With the loss, SKA St. Petersburg dropped to 2-1. Michkov, the seventh overall pick in the 2023 NHL draft, was the youngest player in SKA St. Petersburg's lineup Wednesday. In Year 1 of his three-year KHL contract, he'll have to navigate the inconsistencies of ice time and opportunity.

"If you guys are familiar with them, they're probably the richest and most powerful team there," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said following the draft in late June. "They keep signing players constantly. As far as me, selfishly, I just want him to play and play lots, have a big role offensively.

"He's a young kid, they care about winning only there, but he is a big name there, so I assume he's going to be taken care of and brought along. We were well aware of the contract status of him, we're fine with that. In three years, he should be NHL-ready and have an impact when he comes over."

The Flyers will remain hopeful. While it's not the end of the world if Michkov's role fluctuates in the KHL this season, it's still highly important for a prospect to play consistently and build confidence.

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