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Matvei Michkov time is now as Flyers' top prospect signs contract

The 19-year-old Russian winger inked his entry-level deal two years earlier than expected

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Matvei Michkov is a Flyer.

Following two months of reports, questions and speculation, the No. 1 prospect in the organization signed his three-year entry-level contract Monday, a little over a year after being drafted by the Flyers at seventh overall.

Michkov was officially released by his KHL club SKA St. Petersburg last Tuesday, clearing the way for the 19-year-old winger to pursue his NHL dream in Philadelphia. On Monday, he put ink to paper.

"I’m extremely happy to officially become a part of the Flyers family," Michkov said in a statement released by the team. "Being in the NHL has been a dream for me since childhood. I would like to say a huge thank you to the Flyers management for their trust. I will do everything possible to meet their expectations. I can't wait to join my teammates and start preparing for the new season together, and I would especially like to greet our fans. We have the same dream to win the Stanley Cup and I promise that I will do my best to help this team and make that possible."

More: Briere says Tortorella will coach Michkov 'just like he does everybody else'

Michkov is coming to the Flyers two years earlier than anticipated. When he was drafted last summer, the 2026-27 season was the expectation for his arrival because of his three-year contract to play in the KHL, Russia's top pro league. That and the precarious geopolitical landscape made Michkov drop down the board.

But the Flyers courted Michkov prior to the draft, making them comfortable with the risk and wait.

"We took a big swing, but we hope that this turns out to be a home run," Flyers general manager Danny Briere said at the 2023 draft. "Time will tell, it's a little early, but we feel when he's ready to come, he could really be a difference-maker. That's the risk that we were willing to take, to wait a little bit to hopefully have a difference-maker on our hands."

More: How Flyers prospect Michkov's rise was evident in 'a title fight'

Last season, Michkov played only one game for SKA St. Petersburg, one of the premier teams in Russia. After sitting three times and playing just 6:12 minutes in his lone appearance, he was loaned to Sochi, a lesser KHL team. He put up 41 points (19 goals, 22 assists) in 47 games.

"Matvei was extremely frustrated not playing," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said last September. "He had a goal of being the top scorer in the league and he was sitting there. They have 40-something players on their roster. Obviously he was frustrated. As a young guy in Russia, you kind of have to bite your tongue and just put in the work and hopefully you get to play."

As a teenager playing against men, Michkov recorded 66 points (30 goals, 36 assists) in 91 career KHL games. He tore up the junior level in his home country, putting up 68 goals and 107 points over 84 career MHL games.

He now becomes what the Flyers hope is a pillar to their process, both in the present and future.

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