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SKA releases Michkov, opening door to join Flyers

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SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL released Philadelphia Flyers top prospect Matvei Michkov from his contract, the NHL team announced Tuesday.

Michkov, the seventh overall pick in 2023, is now eligible to sign an entry-level deal in the NHL. The Flyers drafted Michkov while he was signed in Russia through 2026. The supremely talented forward's commitment to SKA affected his draft stock, but he's now available to play in North America sooner than expected.

"We are certainly excited to learn of this news and look forward to reconnecting with Matvei's representatives in the coming days," Flyers general manager Daniel Briere said in a statement. "Additionally, we are appreciative of SKA Saint Petersburg for allowing Matvei Michkov to pursue his dream of playing in the NHL."

Michkov was loaned to Sochi HC this past season, scoring 41 points in 47 games as a 19-year-old.

Rumors of Michkov leaving the KHL early had been circulating since the Flyers' season ended. President of hockey operations Keith Jones said earlier in June that the organization hoped to accelerate Michkov's arrival.

"We absolutely love what he is going to bring to the Flyers," Jones said at the time. "If that timeline is sped up, that would be wonderful. But we don't know. ... When he arrives, our fan base is going to be pretty excited about getting a highly talented player that is different than what we have right now."

The Flyers were a surprise team in 2023-24 but ultimately missed the playoffs by four points. They'll pick 12th overall in the upcoming draft.

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