June 28, 2023
Danny Brière took a massive gamble but nonetheless jolted the Flyers' rebuild with the selection of Matvei Michkov at seventh overall in the NHL Draft Wednesday night.
It'll likely be a few years until the Russian phenom – and the 2023 draft class' biggest mystery man – can come over to Philadelphia, as he's under contract with his home country's Kontinental Hockey League for the next three seasons, but if Brière's bet pays off, the Flyers, in time, could end up with the NHL's next elite goal-scorer.
The risk is great, but the reward can turn out even greater, and on the whole, the move caught the eye of a former Philadelphia executive who knows a thing or two about daring rebuilds.
So, Sam Hinkie, what do you think?
"Trust the Process" and the "New Era of Orange" might share some DNA after all.
As the GM of the Sixers from 2013-16, Hinkie was the architect of the (in)famous "Process"-era, which stripped the team down completely in order to accumulate as many high draft picks as possible – and he wasn't subtle about it. Along the way, the Sixers were bad – historically so – but it was all for the purpose of eventually finding and drafting a homegrown superstar to build a championship-caliber roster around.
Joel Embiid ended up being the Sixers' guy in 2014, but injuries – which ultimately kept him sidelined through the first two years of his career – carried serious concern over when he could play or if he ever would. But he did. He became a star, and this past season won NBA MVP. Unfortunately still looking for that championship though.
Brière took over the Flyers, first as the interim and then as the full-time GM, when it was evident it was time to start over. He was open about what was to come being a rebuild – though not a firesale – and so far has been aggressive on the trade market in trying to clear out the old to make way for the new.
And the new is being staked on Michkov, who carries the skill and superstar potential over in Russia that has drawn comparisons to Alex Ovechkin, if the Flyers can just wait until 2026 for him to realize it and bring it here.
"It is what it is," Brière told ESPN after taking Michkov Wednesday night down in Nashville. "We know he's got a contract for three more seasons, but for us, we just felt that after watching him play and after meeting him, we just felt it's a talent that we cannot pass up.
"If we have to wait, we'll wait."
It'll be fine. Just trust the process.
Follow Nick on Twitter: @itssnick
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports