Flyers analysis

Flyers surrounding Michkov with help just as important as his arrival

Michkov joining the team in 2024-25 is a big victory, but the Flyers need more victories to follow

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Matvei Michkov is a bona-fide prospect with plenty of validation behind the hype.

One of his former development coaches called him a "spotlight player" with a "very unique skill set."

An opposing coach was "confident that Philly's got one of the top talented players of his age group in the world."

When the Flyers drafted him at seventh overall last summer, they felt he was unlike anyone they had in the organization.

So if Michkov is poised for Philadelphia two years earlier than anticipated, he would absolutely shift the Flyers' outlook to a degree. But the key will be the Flyers helping him, a plan likely in place to make this an effective transition for the 19-year-old Russian.

Because while Michkov puts the rebuild into a different gear, he won't turn the Flyers into a contender overnight.

Update: Michkov officially released from KHL team, contract with Flyers likely next

Four days ago, general manager Danny Briere labeled the 2023, 2024 and 2025 NHL drafts "critical" for the Flyers' rebuild. The team had two first-rounders last summer, the first of which they used on Michkov. They have two first-rounders coming up this week and two more in 2025.

These will be huge opportunities for the Flyers to identify more talent, particularly down the middle of the ice. Michkov comes with clear-cut first-line potential on the wing. Can the Flyers find him a first-line pivot? Center is a premium position and it's the franchise's thinnest area.

"Let's face it, we're lacking centers coming up throughout the organization," Briere said. "We haven't tried to hide that; it's a reality."

Morgan Frost is the only center the Flyers have taken in the first round over the past 11 drafts that is currently on their roster. It's no secret the club needs to hit on more centers in the draft.

As the team's roster stands right now early in the offseason, Sean Couturier and the 25-year-old Frost should give the Flyers solid options to center a line with Michkov. Next offseason, prior to the 2025-26 campaign, the Flyers could be in a better, more advantageous spot to spend in free agency, another avenue to supplement what's around Michkov.

Over their four-year playoff drought, the Flyers have ranked 29th in goals per game with 2.72. Michkov may bolster the club's scoring efforts in the future, but it can't fall solely on him, just like it can't fall solely on Travis Konecny now.

Briere, president of hockey operations Keith Jones and assistant general manager Brent Flahr have more work to do. And the good thing is they know it.

Make no mistake, though, Michkov joining the picture just a year after he was drafted is a significant victory for the Flyers' rebuild. It's even more significant when you factor in the loss of Cutter Gauthier five and a half months ago.

Fans have pleaded for more high-end talent. The Flyers answered by taking a swing on Michkov.

And they followed through.

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