The biggest question at next Wednesday’s draft will be how far top Russian prospect Matvei Michkov falls – if at all. Over the past few days, the consensus had become that he wouldn’t get out of the top eight selections, with the Washington Capitals set to take the offensive dynamo if he fell to them.
It seems they may not get the chance. The Philadelphia Flyers are one of many teams set to meet with Michkov in Nashville early next week before the draft commences, and The Fourth Period’s Anthony DiMarco says the team is “seriously considering” selecting him with their seventh overall selection if he’s still available.
Exactly where Michkov would go in the draft has been a roller coaster all season. A surefire top-three selection at the beginning of the season, even with the off-ice factors surrounding any Russian prospect, an early-season injury and subsequent slow start at the bottom of the lineup with KHL club SKA St. Petersburg hurt his stock slightly.
Players like Swedish center Leo Carlsson and American center Will Smith soon surpassed him on some public boards. NHL Central Scouting finished the season with Michkov as the second-ranked international skater behind Carlsson.
Michkov had an exceptional finish to the KHL campaign after being loaned to basement-dwelling club HK Sochi, scoring nine goals and 20 points in 27 games and finishing first on the team in points per game, a massive achievement in the second-best league in the world as an 18-year-old. But off-ice concerns about his stability as a top selection only intensified, as teams couldn’t get any meetings with him while in Russia, and he wasn’t present at the draft combine – both for reasons reportedly out of Michkov’s control. It led to speculation that he could fall out of the top ten entirely.
But with the news that Michkov was coming early to Nashville and opening up opportunities to speak with NHL teams and Washington’s reported willingness to take him, interest in Michkov from the first few teams selecting in the draft has once again spiked. As indicated by multiple previous reports, any team selecting Michkov will likely need approval from ownership, given the potential lost value on the pick if he never comes over to the NHL.
Michkov never coming over is an improbable scenario, but a team will almost definitely have to wait three seasons before they see him on this side of the Atlantic. He’s under contract with St. Petersburg for three more seasons, and one of the KHL’s powerhouses likely wouldn’t be too keen on letting go of one of the highest-ceiling talents in the entire sport.
He would immediately become the best prospect in the Flyers organization – yes, even ahead of top collegiate scorer Cutter Gauthier. Philadelphia’s new front office seems to be content with a proper rebuild, though, and Michkov’s potential arrival in 2026-27 could line up perfectly with the team beginning to turn the corner back toward contention.