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Matvei Michkov likely to play NHL before David Reinbacher
Credit: Getty Images
Yesterday, we learned that the Philadelphia Flyers should be able to count on Matvei Michkov for next season. All indications are that he will be able to get out of his contract in Russia.

Obviously, he’s a potentially big addition for the Flyers. A guy with this kind of talent doesn’t come along very often.

Of necessity, this brings back the old 2023 draft debate: did the Habs do the right thing by drafting David Reinbacher at #5 when the Russian was available? In my opinion, they did the right thing. But we’ll see in a few years.

What you need to know is that Mishkov’s contract wasn’t the biggest red flag in his candidacy in the eyes of the Habs. Russians pretty much always end up in North America with the team that has their rights, unlike NCAA players.

Even if Michkov is likely to play in the NHL before Reinbacher (who is expected to start next season in Laval because of congestion in Montreal), the Montreal club isn’t at the stage of fighting for the Cup. There’s no rush.

But even if Mishkov is obviously ready to land in Pennsylvania from a contractual point of view, he’s still an unappreciated teammate and a guy who can’t fold up defensively. That’s one of the red flags of his candidacy, and the Habs have chosen to say no to that.

That’s not to say Reinbacher was the right choice under the circumstances (only time will tell), but Michkov remains a controversial prospect nonetheless. That doesn’t change.

Ivan Demidov, who is also Russian and brimming with talent, is not in the same situation as Michkov. His attitude scares NHL teams less, and in this draft week, it’s worth remembering.

And the fact that Mishkov was able to get out of his contract (there were two years left on the SKA deal) suggests that it’s possible that Demidov, who shouldn’t have a place in the KHL this year because he doesn’t want to sign long-term with SKA, could do the same.

But hey. In the long run, we’ll see who’s better able to help his team win the Cup between Reinbacher and Michkov, and who’ll have the best career. As you know, we can’t evaluate 19-year-old prospects today.

What we can do today, however, is watch Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final… and celebrate la Saint-Jean Baptiste.

Don’t expect a Quebecer to score the winning goal tonight, since that’s not Vincent Desharnais’s job in Edmonton.

Three years ago today, Artturi Lehkonen scored a goal of vital importance for the Habs on their national holiday: the goal that sent the Habs to the Final.

It was the last time the Habs won a playoff round.

If Quebec wants to celebrate in 2024, it’s through music (now’s a good time to listen to Karl Tremblay’s work on this first Saint-Jean-Baptiste without him), but not through hockey.

One day, if all goes well, maybe we’ll see some Canadiens hockey on June 24.

Overtime

– The 2021 one is pretty low.

– The Habs avoided a catastrophe.

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