The Flyers goaltending pipeline has been under the microscope of late. From trade rumors involving Carter Hart to selecting two new netminders in the 2023 NHL Draft, this area of the Flyers prospect pool continues to evolve. 

On Sunday, the Flyers officially announced that they had signed goalie Alexei Kolosov to a three-year entry-level deal. The deal was originally reported on Saturday night by CapFriendly.

Kolosov played in 42 games with Dinamo Minsk in the KHL last season, posting a 13-21-5 record with a 2.55 GAA and .912 save percentage. The Belarussian goaltender has played three seasons in the KHL, all with Dinamo Minsk, with a 27-35-7 record, 2.67 GAA, and .910 save percentage.

Ivan Fedotov Signs with CSKA Moscow

The initial reports of Kolosov’s deal with the Flyers surfaced on the same day as another development within the Flyers goaltending pipeline. Ivan Fedotov, who last summer was arrested and detained in Russia to serve a required year with the Russian military. Fedotov recently completed service, and as a result did not play any competitive hockey in the 2022-23 season.

In the 2021-22 season, prior to signing an entry-level deal with the Flyers in May 2022, Fedotov played 26 games for CSKA Moscow and had a 14-10-2 record with a 2.00 GAA and .919 save percentage. In the playoffs, he had a 16-6 record with a 1.85 GAA and .937 save percentage. He was also awarded the KHL’s Best Goaltender award for the season.

It appeared Fedotov was once again on track to join the Flyers. They had tolled his contract for the 2022-23 season back to the upcoming 2023-24 season, since the original contract could not be honored. However, Fedotov recently also signed a contract with CSKA Moscow for the next two seasons. For a few days, that contract was not officially registered with the KHL, leaving the door open for Fedotov to report to the Flyers after all, but the KHL registered the contract on Saturday.

Previously, the NHL and KHL had a “memorandum of understanding” that required both leagues to honor each other’s contracts. That memorandum was suspended in 2022. Therefore, the KHL overruled the contract Fedotov had with the Flyers and he will continue his hockey career in Russia. At age 26, and set to turn 27 in November, it appears the next time Fedotov can even enter the conversation for the Flyers is two years from now, when he will be approaching 29. That puts any hopes of an NHL career in serious jeopardy.

Flyers to Loan Kolosov to KHL

Upon the initial reports of Kolosov’s contract, there was plenty of noise made on social media that GM Danny Briere had pivoted to the 21-year-old prospect, who played for Dinamo Minsk in the KHL, in an effort to get him to North America as soon as possible. However, Kolosov will not be on an ice surface in North America for the upcoming season. Instead, he will be loaned back to Dinamo Minsk in the KHL. 

Kolosov himself had stated his intentions to play in the KHL again this upcoming season just weeks ago, and his agent also confirmed that those intentions remained despite the news of the entry-level contract. 

This is a very different situation from Fedotov’s. Fedotov now has a new two-year contract in the KHL. Kolosov has an NHL contract and will be on loan for the upcoming season. He remains on track to potentially join the Flyers organization and play in North America as soon as the 2024-25 season. A loan also makes sense considering that Kolosov will get significant playing time in the KHL, while the Flyers still have Hart, Felix Sandstrom, Sam Ersson, and the recently-acquired Cal Petersen all available to play this upcoming season.

What Does This Mean for Matvei Michkov?

There was also a lot of discourse about what this means for the Flyers and their recent top draft pick, Russian forward Matvei Michkov. Michkov still has three years remaining on his KHL contract with SKA St. Petersburg, and while there seemed to be an understanding that the Flyers would wait out the contract, the events surrounding Fedotov’s contract situation could certainly open up a can of worms with how the two leagues view respective contracts. 

Similar to Kolosov, there doesn’t appear to be anything in his path as of today. The plan remains that Michkov, who has three years remaining on his contract in the KHL with SKA St. Petersburg, should be able to sign with the Flyers once that contract is up prior to the 2026-27 NHL season.

Of course, that is three years away, and a lot can change in that time.

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

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