In what was hailed as a significant move for the Philadelphia Flyers, Matvei Michkov, the seventh overall pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft, is experiencing a slow start to his latest season in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). With 30 games played last season (split between Sochi HC and St. Petersburg SKA), Michkov’s first four games have seen him get into the action just once. His lack of playing time has raised questions about his development and the reasons behind why he’s not being used.
Michkov has kicked off this season with an unexpected series of healthy scratches on September 2nd, September 4th, and September 8th leaving fans and analysts puzzled. When he hit the ice on September 6th, Michkov’s performance was underwhelming, with no points, shots on goal, or significant ice time, playing just 6 minutes and 12 seconds.
Michkov’s recent benchings have raised eyebrows, considering his impressive performances during SKA’s early preseason matches. Despite being asked to adapt to a new position as a center, the promising prospect showcased his skills effectively. He was registering points in nearly every preseason game but also making valuable on-ice contributions in various aspects of the game. It was in the last couple of games that his ice time started to drop.
Head coach Roman Rotenberg talked about why Michkov was scratched, saying the forward would have to earn his way into SKA’s lineup. A standoff situation appears to be developing between Michkov and Rotenberg, where the determined coach is making efforts to assert authority over the young, equally resolute player, Michkov.
The timing of Michkov’s healthy scratch drew attention, especially considering the existing tensions between the Flyers and the KHL regarding another Flyers prospect, Ivan Fedotov.
Should The Flyers Already Be Concerned?
The situation has prompted discussions about whether the decision to draft Michkov at number seven was wise, especially if his development is hindered during his time with SKA HC in the KHL. While there is undoubtedly potential for further development, and Michkov has yet to reach an elite level with SKA, this is probably not what the Flyers were hoping to see.
The Flyers, looking to secure a valuable long-term asset, chose him in the draft despite uncertainties about his immediate future. So far, it’s not looking good and while frustrating, there isn’t much the Flyers can do. The good news is, it’s early and there’s still plenty of time.
As Matvei Michkov navigates the early stages of his professional career in the KHL, both the Philadelphia Flyers and the young prospect will be closely watching his progress. Whether he thrives in Russia or becomes a valuable trade asset in the future, one thing is certain: Michkov’s dedication to the Flyers remains unwavering, even as he faces challenges on his path to success.
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