Flyers’ Michkov, Gauthier ranked top 15 in prospect rankings

Flyers' Matvei Michkov, NHL
Matvei Michkov poses with a Philadelphia Flyers jersey after being picked by the team during the first round of the NHL hockey draft Wednesday, June 28, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Matvei Michkov and Cutter Gauthier earned high praise, per Scott Wheeler, landing in his top 50 NHL prospect rankings. The compliments were so great, they earned spots within the top 15.

Other Philadelphia Flyers prospects were listed as honorable mentions, such as Emil Andrae, Bobby Brink, and Tyson Foerster.

Matvei Michkov

Michkov ranked number two on the list, trailing only Connor Bedard. Leading up to the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, both occupied the top two prospect rankings. Bedard went first overall to the Chicago Blackhawks while Michkov, due to his KHL contract and the geopolitical situation with Russia, dropped right into the Flyers’ lap.

Debatably the highest touted Russian prospect since Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, Michkov possesses the skill and upside to be an NHL superstar. His skating, shooting, puck handling, and offensive awareness are elite. Defensively, he isn’t as strong, but he can improve upon his player development.

More importantly, Michkov made it known to Daniel Briere that he wanted to play for the Flyers after meeting with management multiple times before the first round of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. As the franchise rebuilds, they’ll have a potential superstar waiting to take them to the next level once Michkov arrives in the NHL.

“I’m extremely excited and extremely happy to be with the Philadelphia Flyers; it was dream, this was the team I wanted to be drafted by.”

Matvei Michkov; 6/28/2023

The Flyers understand Michkov will abide by his KHL contract in place. When that expires after the 2025-2026 season, the door opens for Michkov to step into Philadelphia in 2026-2027.

Cutter Gauthier

Tucked inside the top 15, Gauthier is the 13th-ranked prospect on the list.

Gauthier was the fifth overall pick at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. He was impressive at Boston College as a freshman, at the 2023 IIHF World Juniors, and at the 2023 IIHF World Championship on Team USA.

In the NCAA with Boston College, Gauthier led the team with 37 points (16G, 21A) in 32 GP. His production proved an average point pace of 1.16 per game, quickly becoming a go-to player in the lineup.

Most impressive from Gauthier was his performance at the 2023 IIHF World Championship. He scored nine points (7G, 2A) in ten games, ranking him eighth in tournament scoring.

Next season, Gauthier will be back at Boston College to continue his growth and development. He is still getting used to playing C at Boston College, changing to the wing when needed. Gauthier has the tools to become an impactful scorer in the Flyers lineup. A shoot-first forward is in high demand in Philadelphia. Eventually, a Gauthier and Michkov partnership will help fix scoring woes.

“That’s something I developed over the past two years; shooting versatile where I can play left or right wing, or center if that being the case. I displayed my message to the Philadelphia Flyers that I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win if that’s on the wing or that’s in center. I’m willing to do whatever.”

Cutter Gauthier; 7/7/2022

Honorable Mention: Emil Andrae

Andrae skyrocketed up the Flyers’ prospect chart. His first taste of hockey in North America was in 2022-2023, spending ten games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He tallied six points (2G, 4A) with a -4 rating, then appeared in his first AHL postseason against the Charlotte Checkers.

After the 2022 IIHF World Juniors, Andrae popped follow his performances with Team Sweden. In seven games, Andrae scored eight points (4G, 4A) with a +6 rating. His development in Sweden helped him see instant success in the AHL, citing a smaller rink as helpful to his style of play.

“I think my style works better on the smaller ice, too. It’s less skating; more thinking and timing. I like the smaller ice, it’s more like small passes and stuff like that. For me, as a more smarter player, it’s better to play on the smaller ice than the big ice.”

Emil Andrae; 7/2/2023

Standing at 5’9″, Andrae isn’t the biggest blue-line defender, but he is downright relentless. An agile skater with the capability to creatively move the puck, he impressed at the 2023 Flyers Development Camp. His NHL debut isn’t too far away.

Honorable Mention: Tyson Foerster

In September, Foerster will contest for a full-time NHL role at the 2023 Flyers Training Camp. He was a game-changer with the Phantoms in 2022-2023 and impressed in eight games in the NHL.

During the 2023 Flyers Development Camp, he provided a preview of what can be expected during the upcoming 2023 Flyers Training Camp. Foerster has an NHL-ready shot, great puck vision, and playmaking abilities. He’s all but earned a full-time role on the Flyers’ roster.

When Foerster was selected, his skating was an issue. He improved during his first professional season, helping elevate his game.

“I think every summer it’s all about everything really. This summer, I’ve been here for a month now. Just my legs, my leg strength and my quick steps, I feel like I’m getting better at that. But like I said, everything needs improving.”

Tyson Foerster; 7/2/2023

Honorable Mention: Bobby Brink

Missing the 2022 Flyers Development Camp due to a torn labrum in his hip, Brink did reappear at the Flyers Training Center this month. In 2021-2022, he made his NHL debut, totaling four assists in ten games.

Last season, Brink totaled 28 points (12G, 16A) in 41GP with the Phantoms. His performance at the 2023 Flyers Development Camp captured the attention of fans, scouts, writers, coaches, and executives.

“You’re only as good as how you’ve been playing recently. I wouldn’t say I’m at step one. I think a lot of these guys have seen me play in the past. But yeah, there’s always something to prove.”

Bobby Brink; 7/2/2023

(AP Photo/George Walker IV)