Major development concerning Flyers top prospect Matvei Michkov
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Major development concerning Flyers top prospect Matvei Michkov

Whoa! You just knew something was going to happen.



The puck has dropped on the KHL season, with the league opening its regular season earlier tis month. But, while it's 'game on' for most players in the league, top prospect Matvei Michkov will have to wait awhile to see any action.

Michkov, the Philadelphia Flyers' 7th overall pick from this past summer's 2023 NHL Entry Draft, was made a healthy scratch for SKA St. Petersburg's first two games of the season.

When he managed to finally get into the lineup, SKA St. Petersburg head coach Roman Rotenberg played him on the 4th line, with just over 6 minutes in total ice time. Ouch.

Michkov played the entire preseason with the team, with Rotenberg stating that Michkov would have to "earn his way" into the lineup. Which, honestly is kind of interesting considering that Michkov put up over a point per game during the pre-season and was clearly the team's most energetic forward. Still, Russian hockey and especially the culture of SKA St. Petersburg is old school hockey full of outdated coaching practices.

More on the situation from Daily Faceoff:

Michkov showed tenacity on the forecheck along with a desire to compete for the puck, including on the backcheck and deep in his defensive zone. Michkov’s preseason was far from errorless hockey with one period being quite rough due to a few turnovers. Aside from that period there was not much to critique regarding Michkov’s all around performance in the KHL preseason.

The young forward saw his ice time reduced drastically as the preseason continued. Michkov played only eight minutes and five minutes, respectively over the course of two games that took place between August 19-24. Eventually this led to Michkov becoming a healthy scratch in the preseason on August 25th when SKA took on HC Sibir Novosibirsk. Such on ice usage above has clearly led to Michkov being utilized in a similar manner for SKA’s first two regular season games.

-Vasili Gianarakos

Well, today SKA St. Petersburg made the decision to loan Michkov to HC Sochi in order to get him some more development time. 

It's been reported that Michkov is not happy with the re-assignment. Michkov's father Andrei Michkov died suddenly in Sochi earlier this year, at just 51 years old. It's unclear exactly what happened but there have been rumors circulating about the elder Michkov's death being possibly linked to Matvei's NHL career. Frankly, I have no clue about any of these unsubstantiated rumors, but it's worth noting that Matvei earlier requested NOT to return to Sochi as it is difficult for him at this time.

Nevertheless... that's where they sent the kid. It'll be up to him now to take advantage of the "opportunity" in front of him.

This, of course, is exactly what teams were afraid of with Michkov heading into the 2023 NHL Draft. With a three year contract in the KHL and with SKA St. Petersburg showing no interest in player development, it was always understood that Michkov would be out of his NHL team's hands. The Flyers essentially have no say in when and where their top prospect gets ice time and that's a serious problem.

Source: Flyers Nation