Most teams around the NHL were turning July 1 into the usual free-agency frenzy that it becomes. The Flyers handled business on the homefront instead.

After announcing a new one-year deal for Erik Johnson and a two-year contract extension for Garnet Hathaway, the Flyers dropped the news everyone had been waiting for over the last week.

Matvei Michkov was officially a Flyer.

“We’re excited that he’s finally coming,” Briere said. “There was a lot of things that needed to happen in the background, but that was mostly for him and the team in Russia and his representatives. It was nice when we had the chance to start talking to his agent to finally get this deal done. We never thought when we drafted him last summer that this would result in him coming over a year later, so that’s exciting.”

So now begins the journey for Michkov, the team’s top prospect, and the road ahead for the Flyers. Michkov will not be at this week’s development camp due to the timing of the deal and visa issues, but will be at training camp in September. That’s when the Flyers will get to see what they really have up close.

“I expect him to be in the NHL. He’s going to be given every chance to make the team, but at the same time, he’s going to have to earn his ice time,” Briere said. “Just on the power play alone, we hope that he can help us there. As far as the rest of his game, he’s going to be in control of that and how much he’s committed to playing 200 feet for Torts. To be honest, we don’t have really anyone like him in the organization as far as the skill level. He’s got a lot to learn and he’s not going to be put above anybody else, but he’s an exciting player and he’s a very talented player.”

Briere also stated that he’s excited for John Tortorella to coach the newest Flyer. Tortorella will have full reign on how ice time is distributed for Michkov.

“I know he’s going to coach him the right way. Just like he does with everybody else, he’s going to be tough on him, he’s going to be fair, and he’s going to teach him the right way,” Briere said. “He’s going to come here and nothing’s going to be given to him. He’s going to have to earn it. Knowing how competitive we’ve been told he is, it’s going to be great. It’s going to be fun to see. I know I’m really excited about that matchup.

“Torts is hired to coach the team, so John is going to be in charge of the ice time. If he needs to scratch him because he doesn’t play the right way or doesn’t listen, coach has the authority to do that.”

In an offseason where the Flyers had very little to work with in terms of cap space, adding Michkov slightly changed plans. Since the rookie will take a roster spot, the Flyers had one less position to fill for the upcoming season.

The hype created by Michkov is certainly going to be the talk of the team for the remainder of the offseason and beyond. That said, Briere noted the adjustment period that all players go through and advised on a patient approach.

“He has special skills. He’s extremely talented. We hope that down the road it turns out to be,” Briere said. “But, let’s be honest, it’s not going to be the case next season or even the following season. Again, patience is the key here. It’s going to take a little bit of time.”

Another indication of the patience approach came from the Flyers accumulation of draft picks in next year’s draft. They hold six picks in the first two rounds, and will also see some additional cap relief with a few expiring contracts. Briere remains steadfast in his approach, allowing the early years of the rebuild to free the team of dead cap and be ready to strike when the time is right.

“We knew coming in that the first three years would be tough as far as the dead money,” Briere said. “This is probably going to be the toughest year coming into. After that, things will ease off a little bit. It puts us in a tough spot right now.”

Briere added that having as many picks as they do in the 2025 NHL Draft, which is projected to be deeper than in 2024, provides some wanted leverage and puts them in a good position.

“It’s too early to tell if we’re going to pick or if we’re going to move them or use them to upgrade somewhere. We’re going to look at all different scenarios,” Briere said. “According to our scouts, next year is a really good draft, really top-heavy. We want to wait and see how good this draft will be. But if there’s something that makes sense along the way, we’re going to look into that. But it’s kind of nice to have that leverage on our side.

As for the rest of this offseason, don’t expect much more from the Flyers. Briere had no update on negotiations with Travis Konecny on an extension – Monday was the first day one could be signed. Aside from any potential trades that could be in the works, Briere expects the offseason will get slower after another week or so, which means the roster you see for the Flyers today is very likely to be the one at training camp.

“There gets to a point that teams get away for the offseason, another maybe 10 days they’ll shut down for four or five weeks normally,” Briere said. “But at the moment, we’re having some discussions with a few teams on a few different things. If that doesn't happen in the next week, there’s a good chance that what you see is what will be at training camp.”

So the Flyers are mostly going to run it back in 2024-25. After a surprising 2023-24 season that saw them on the cusp of a playoff spot, the Flyers hope they can be competitive enough to repeat the same in the upcoming season, but understand that the process must continue for now so that, rather than compete for a final playoff spot, they can be considered contenders.

“At the end of the day, we’re not trying to build a team to make the playoffs. We’re trying to build a team to win the Stanley Cup. I want to be careful there. For us, it’s not just about making the playoffs. When we take a step forward, it’s to become closer to being a contender. That’s what every move is made for.”

Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN. Follow him on social media @Kevin_Durso.

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