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Matvei Michkov: SKA imposes tough conditions for him to play in America
Credit: Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Yesterday, Matvei Michkov’s name was back in the news when a Russian newspaper seemed to confirm that the youngster would be making the jump to North America as early as the 2024-25 season. Considering he wasn’t due to arrive until the summer of 2026, this was big news.

The Flyers didn’t confirm anything, of course, but you could sense that negotiations were going on behind the scenes.

Seeing Michkov like a post on Instagram linked to his arrival in Philadelphia didn’t calm things down, of course, but at this point, nothing is official.

Except that…

SKA coach Roman Rotenberg (who owns Michkov’s rights in Russia) chatted with MatchTV, and from what we understand, if SKA lets Michkov play in America, it will be under tight conditions.

What we understand, basically, is that if Michkov leaves for America, SKA won’t let him go and wait in the AHL. The club will let him go on condition that he plays in the NHL and becomes “the leader of Philadelphia”. If not, he says he’ll do everything in his power to bring him back to SKA.

On social networks, another translation speaks of forcing him to play on the first line, but reading the context, we seem to understand that Rotenberg is really talking about the first “league” (thus, the NHL) and not the first “line”.

Rotenberg justifies his decision by pointing out that he has invested heavily in Michkov’s development and that family values mean that we want to think of the good of the kid and the good of his development.

The question now is how SKA would react if Michkov were sent back to the AHL for the Calder Cup series or to rehabilitate an injury, for example.

And there’s also a world out there in which Michkov doesn’t adapt easily to the North American game and would need to fine-tune his game in the AHL, but obviously that won’t be an option.

We’ll see how the situation develops over the next few weeks, but it’s clear that the Flyers’ hands will be somewhat tied even if Michkov makes the leap to America next season. That’s not ideal… especially when John Tortorella, not known for liking to be told what to do, is the coach of the club in question.

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