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August 14, 2023

IIHF upholds Ivan Fedotov's Flyers contract, but the goalie's status remains murky

Fedotov's one-year Flyers contract is valid for the 2023-24 season, the IIHF ruled, but the Russian goaltending prospect's status for an NHL jump isn't much clearer.

Russian goaltender Ivan Fedotov still has a valid contract with the Flyers, the IIHF ruled, but that doesn't necessarily mean his future in Philadelphia – provided there even is one – is any clearer. 

On Monday, hockey's international governing body announced its ruling that the one-year deal Fedotov signed with the Flyers in May 2022 is still legitimate and applicable to this coming NHL season. As a result, the IIHF also determined that the deal Fedotov signed with the Russian KHL's CSKA Moscow in the time since is in breach of that original NHL contract and made punishable by the following:

In accordance with Article II.4.1 of the IIHF International Transfer Regulations, Ivan Fedotov was given two (2) weeks to either go back to his former club (i.e Philadelphia Flyers Hockey Club); or obtain a release from his former club. As neither action occurred within the given period, the IIHF has imposed the following sporting sanctions on Ivan Fedotov:

- A four (4) month suspension on playing in official national and international games during playing periods. The suspension shall take effect on 1 September 2023 (first CSKA regular season game) and conclude on 31 December 2023. [IIHF]

CSKA Moscow itself also received a one-season ban on international transfers after being found to have signed Fedotov while aware of his Flyers contract. 

Originally picked up by the Flyers in the seventh round of the 2015 draft, Fedotov was a goaltending prospect rapidly on the rise over in Russia, and the initial plan following a dreadful 2021-22 season in Philly for former GM Chuck Fletcher's regime was to have him make the jump to North America and serve as the backup for Carter Hart. 

However, as Fedotov was trying to leave Russia, he was detained and conscripted into required military service that he never fulfilled prior. It cost him the 2022-23 season in its entirety while forcing the Flyers to look elsewhere for goaltending depth as it became clear they needed to undergo a lengthy rebuild. 

And for a while, it seemed like all parties were just moving on. 

For the Flyers, Samuel Ersson flashed promise in his first taste of the NHL and was recently re-upped for another two years, Felix Sandström has one year left on his deal, and the team also collected Cal Petersen as a salary dump from the Ivan Provorov trade, all while drafting two more goalies – Carson Bjarnason and Yegor Zavragin – in June then inking another Russian prospect in Alexei Kolosov to his entry-level deal. 

For Fedotov, he signed that new deal with CSKA Moscow upon completing his service, which made any remaining plans on his end for an NHL jump appear unlikely. And now, approaching age 27, is looking at four more months of inactivity after more than a year of not seeing the ice if he stays in Russia.

Further complicating matters is CSKA Moscow's stance on the IIHF's ruling, which is embedded below:

Since Danny Brière took over as the Flyers' general manager and Keith Jones as the president of hockey operations, complications stemming from the Fedotov situation haven't seemed to deter the organization from scouting Russian prospects, as they did just take goal-scoring phenom Matvei Michkov seventh overall at the draft a couple of months ago despite knowing that they'll likely have to wait three years for him. 

Still, the future of Fedotov's hockey career, despite their being a valid NHL contract with the Flyers, remains murky.

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