Flyers cornerback Matvei Michkov is as important for his help as his arrival – NBC Sports Philadelphia

Matvei Michkov is a real prospect with plenty of evidence to back him up.

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

One opposing coach “believed Philly had one of the top talented players in the world in his age group.”

When the Flyers selected him seventh overall last summer, they thought he was unlike any other player in the organization.

So if Michkov is selected to work for Philadelphia two years early, he will certainly change the Flyers’ approach to some extent. But the most important thing the Flyers will do is help him, a plan has been put in place to make this an effective transition for the 19-year-old Russian player.

Because while Michkov will take the rebuild to another level, he won’t make the Flyers competitive overnight.

Four days ago, general manager Danny Briere called the 2023, 2024 and 2025 NHL drafts “crucial” to 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 this week and two more in 2025.

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

“We have to face the fact that there is a shortage of centers 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 in the last 11 drafts who is currently on their roster. It’s no secret that the club needs to look at more centers in the draft.

As the team’s roster is right now at the start of the offseason, Sean Couturier and the 25-year-old Frost should give the Flyers solid options to center the line alongside Michkov. Next offseason, ahead of the 2025-26 campaign, the Flyers could be in a better, more advantageous position to spend in free agency as another way to complement what they have around Michkov.

During their four-year playoff drought, the Flyers ranked 29th in goals per game with 2.72. Michkov could boost 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 ​​right now.

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

However, there is no doubt that Michkov joining the team just a year after being drafted is a significant win for the Flyers’ rebuilding. It becomes even more significant when you take into account the loss of Cutter Gauthier five and a half months ago.

Fans demanded more high-level talent. The Flyers responded by taking a chance on Michkov.

And they followed it.

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