The Philadelphia Flyers made the most exciting splash of the first round of the NHL Draft by selecting Russian winger Matvei Michkov with the seventh-overall pick.
Andrew Salciunas and self-proclaimed “zamboner” Jamie Lynch praised Danny Briere’s willingness to take a bold risk.
They invited Jason Myrtetus on to break down the rookie GM’s leap of faith, the selection of Oliver Bonk with the 22nd pick, and the status of goaltender Carter Hart.
Despite Michkov’s status as one of the top prospects in a loaded draft class, other factors caused him to slip.
He is under contract to play in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in Russia for three years.
“If he’s born in North America, if he’s born in Belarus, he goes number two. The fact that he’s born in Russia made him fall to seven.” -Myrtetus
The situation surrounding the Russian invasion of Ukraine certainly played a factor also. The Flyers have assumed a major risk.
“There’s some other things in play here. His father mysteriously passed away a few months ago…We obviously know what’s going on in Russia is less than ideal, so there’s a lot of variables in play here.” -Myrtetus
However, they took the player with the highest upside. After ignoring the calls to tank the 2022-23 season, they still ended up drafting a potential superstar.
Myrtetus described Michkov as a player who can play checkers by beating his opponents with raw speed and skill or by playing chess and thinking two moves ahead.
“He’s an offensively gifted player… He’s a great playmaker. He’s got great vision. He’s a guy that sees the ice incredibly well.” -Myrtetus
Jamie had more fun with the names Michkov and Bonk than any fan who attended the draft in Nashville.
The memes have been excellent already.
Jason Myrtetus spoke about the connection Keith Jones has with his former teammate Dale Hunter.
Hunter is now the co-owner, president, and head coach of the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, where Bonk plays junior hockey.
“That team is run like an NHL team. Their players are extremely prepared to jump to the next level because of the way they do things there in London, and the quality of that OHL program is unparalleled in all of major junior.” -Myrtetus
The 6-foot-2, right-handed defenseman will help rebuild the Philadelphia blue line.
The Flyers are currently shopping defensemen Tony DeAngelo and Travis Sanheim, and they’ve already dealt Ivan Provorov this offseason.
Jason Myrtetus on Carter Hart
While Andrew and Jamie had Jason on the phone, the Flyers executed a trade into the second round of draft goaltender Carson Bjarnason.
Jason’s initial reaction was to wonder if the move is an indicator that the Flyers might trade Carter Hart, an idea he’s firmly against.
“I’m fine with them taking a goalie in the draft. I’m surprised they do it here.” -Myrtetus
It’s unclear what the move means for Hart’s future. Trade rumors have been swirling throughout the offseason about the franchise goaltender.
Bjarnason will turn 18 on June 30, and most goaltenders reach the NHL at a later age than skaters. It’s realistic to think it’ll be at least five years before he makes an impact for the Flyers.
The organization has solid goaltending depth with Hart, Sam Ersson, Felix Sandstrom, and Alexei Kolosov. They also selected goaltender Egor Zavragin in the third round.