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Matvei Michkov learns to play center from Sidney Crosby

By drafting Matvei Michkov seventh overall in the last draft, the Flyers took a gamble on one of the most dynamic forwards of recent years. Michkov is a real offensive bomb, and if he does make the jump to the NHL, he’s likely to rack up points at a breathtaking pace.

In recent years, we’ve mainly seen him play as a winger, but since the start of the KHL preparatory schedule, Michkov has been used at center. Our colleague Marc-Olivier Cook mentioned this to you this week.

Clearly, then, they seem to want to use him in a new role. There might be a bit of an adjustment period, but so far, it doesn’t seem like it.

In fact, the results so far have been very promising: even today, he found the back of the net. Two goals (and an assist) in two games at center ice, that’s a nice touch.

And clearly, Mishkov seems determined to make the transition a smooth one: according to the principal, he began studying the game of none other than Sidney Crosby from the moment he learned he’d be employed at center.

You could do worse as a role model, let’s say.

Obviously, the sample size is still small, but we can begin to wonder whether the position change will benefit Michkov, who is already producing at an impressive rate for an 18-year-old in the KHL. And that’s not counting the fact that he’s doing it without moving to his natural position.

If we’re going to play a bit of a prediction game for the upcoming campaign, we might wonder whether Michkov could have a historic season there. Remember that each team plays 68 games in a KHL season, and the record for goals in a single campaign is 48 (by Sergei Mozyakin, in 2016-17).

It may be a little early to ask whether Mishkov will already be in a position to fight to dethrone his Russian compatriot, but I don’t think it’s absurd to believe that he’ll be able to go for the 30-goal plateau. And if he scores 32, he’ll already be in the top-20 in league history for most goals in a single campaign.

(Credit: Screenshot/QuantHockey)

If he and Ivan Demidov (a top prospect in the upcoming draft) have the right chemistry this year, both guys have the potential to make a splash, even if they’re playing against professional players.

And if both have big seasons, they’ll continue to cement their place among the NHL’s elite prospects.

In gusts

– What do you think?


– Two former teammates are in the thick of the race for MLB’s National MVP. My text on the subject.

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