Flyers GM Addresses Media Following Matvei Michkov Acquisition

Philadelphia Flyers general manager Daniel Briere, left, and Ivan Fedotov pose with Fedotov’s Flyers jersey during an NHL hockey press conference, Friday, March 29, 2024, in Voorhees, N.J. Nine years after he was drafted by Philadelphia, goalie Ivan Fedotov has joined the Flyers.(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Daniel Briere, the affable General Manager of the Philadelphia Flyers, sat at the podium inside the Flyers Training Center ready to answer questions from the media on the opening day of NHL free agency in 2024. One of the more remarkable things about Daniel Briere has been the transparency in media press conferences over the classic overly-used sports cliches that fans often hear.

Takeaways from Flyers’ GM Danny Brierre’s press conference

In front of a background featuring an Xfinity sponsorship and the iconic Philadelphia Flyers hockey logo, Briere flashed a small with the long-awaited secret finally revealed to the public. Matvei Michkov officially signed his NHL entry-level contract with the Flyers on Monday afternoon. 

While major parts of the conversation centered around the Flyers new star forward, there was also some business to attend to for Danny Briere knowing Flyers fans were antsy for a roster move on July 1st. Instead, the former NHL forward continued to preach patience and optimism about the legendary franchise’s direction:

“At the end of the day, we are not trying to build a team to make the playoffs. We are trying to build a team to win the Stanley Cup.” 

Target Acquired: Matvei Michkov

The initial thing the Flyers’ second-year GM covered was his shock at Matvei Michkov’s availability right along with the rest of the world. “We never thought when we drafted him last summer would result in him coming over a year later.” Daniel Briere made it very clear that all coaching decisions are up to Flyers head coach, John Tortorella, including any lineup decision including Matvei Michkov.

Philadelphia Management is incredibly excited to get Michkov into Voorhees to see what he can do on the ice with their own eyes. “Just like you, we’ve watched him on tape. Right? So, it’s exciting, you see the stuff he pulls off. He has special skills”. Briere then once again reminded everyone in the Delaware Valley to be patient with the learning curve of a 19-year-old hockey player entering the best hockey league on the planet. Matvei will have to ”earn” his ice time but will start in the NHL in the fall. 

Flyers' Matvei Michkov
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)

Mikchkov and his representatives are responsible for handling issues such as the immigration process, so Briere is only able to project an appearance for #39 in September at Flyers Training Camp.  Once Statside, Philly can do its’ best to assist the young man getting settled into the Philadelphia area.  “We are going to help him. Provide a tutor so he can help to speak English better.”  

The Flyers GM added a short story about going through the same process himself back in 1997-98. “I barely knew any English when I started my first-year pro in Springfield”. The French-speaking forward scored 92 points in 68 games for the Springfield Falcons on his way to the 1998 AHL Rookie of the Year award. Not too shabby for someone barely communicating with those surrounding him.

Briere acknowledged the culture shock between Russia and America could be challenging for Michkov but hopes that the presence of defenseman Egor Zamula and goaltender Ivan Fedotov can help ease the transition to his new home.

Garnet Hathaway Extension Near Same Cap Hit

It is not very often teams will go out of their way to extend the contract of a 32-year-old veteran forward a year before they have to. Philadelphia and Garnet Hathaway agreed to extend their relationship for a few more seasons.  Briere credits Hathaway for being “difficult to play against” and noting he was a big reason other teams felt it was difficult to play against Philadelphia in 2023-24. 

What the extension really does is take the temptation off the table to trade a valuable locker room player at future trade deadlines. More importantly to Briere was to extend Hathaway around the same salary cap number. Hathaway’s 2.4M cap hit sits just above his $2.3M contract from last offseason. 

Travis Konecny Contract Extension Talks On-Going

There is “nothing new” on Travis Konecny extension talks according to the Canadian-born executive. It was the first day of a possible extension opportunity. “I’ve said from the beginning, I am not going to negotiate through the media. We love Travis, and we hope he is here for a long time.” Konecny is entering the final year of a six-year, $33 million extension signed in 2019. 

Trades Discussions Limited By Salary Cap Position

Daniel Briere admitted to making calls around the league, however, there were no roster decisions that made sense on the first of free agency. With limited cap space, the Flyers would have to make a trade to clear salary to complete the rest of the salary cap gymnastics routine to acquire their intended target. 

Philly’s GM thinks the Flyers have approximately a week to make additions or subtractions to the roster while rival teams are actively shopping. Briere acknowledged an unofficial August cooldown period for most General Managers across the league, so late summertime trade discussions can sometimes be very difficult.  

Regarding Philadelphia’s six draft picks over the first two rounds in the 2025 NHL draft, Daniel Briere will “leverage that as best as we can”. Briere indicated all options are on the table from making the selections in a “strong draft” to including them in a hockey trade to improve the roster further down the line. 

AP Photo/Chris Szagola