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June 24, 2024

Projecting the Flyers' 2024-25 lineup with Matvei Michkov on the roster

How could the Flyers' opening night lineup shape up now that top prospect Matvei Michkov is on his way?

Flyers NHL
Joel-Farabee-Flyers-Devils-4.13.2024-NHL.jpg Kyle Ross/USA TODAY Sports

Could Joel Farabee be one of Matvei Michkov's first NHL linemates?

Matvei Michkov is arriving ahead of schedule, which suddenly has the Flyers going into the 2024-25 season with potentially their next goal-scoring star in the lineup. 

So how is that lineup going to look? 

Here's an early projection – as well as a few notes for each position group – keeping in mind that free agency, contract buyouts, possible trades, and training camp are all still ahead and could alter what the Flyers are going to look like quickly.

But with all that said, here's the early opening night outlook with where the roster stands right now...

Offensive lines

Joel Farabee Morgan Frost Matvei Michkov 
Owen Tippett Sean Couturier  Travis Konecny
Tyson Foerster Ryan Poehling Bobby Brink 
Noah Cates Scott Laughton Garnet Hathaway 

RESERVES: Nic Deslauriers, Olle Lycksell, Rhett Gardner, Elliot Desnoyers.

• Word broke Sunday that Matvei Michkov has gotten out of his KHL contract with SKA St. Petersburg and is headed to North America, two years sooner than originally thought. He's going to be a Flyer

• The Flyers are lacking a clear-cut top-line center, but Morgan Frost is probably the best bet to put with Michkov in the early going since he's the most offensively skilled one they have – unless, of course, something else significant happens this offseason.

• Adding to that, Joel Farabee is a pure left winger who can work the puck up ice and keep possession when he's at his best. Michkov is coming in as the goal-scorer for that line, so it should be built to get the puck into the offensive zone and then to him. 

• It was a tough stretch for Sean Couturier after he earned the captaincy, but he'll be around to try and bounce back – that contract isn't about to go anywhere. Travis Konecny is still looking for a new deal though, but doing so now with the next prized right winger en route. It'll be interesting to see if that has any affect on negotiations between him and the Flyers. 

• Unlike center, the Flyers have a glut of wingers, which is likely going to force some right-handed shots over to the left again. Owen Tippett and Tyson Foerster have done that already and are probably the most sound choices for it, since having them on the left side keeps their sticks – and in turn, their quick and powerful wrist shots – facing in toward the slot. 

Bobby Brink probably has a spot to lose right now, and he's still only 22 (going on 23), but he's going to need to show signs of a more consistent game in camp and the preseason.

Scott Laughton's name has been on the rumor mill for a while, but he finished this past season as a Flyer, and at the moment, still is one. But the draft is coming up, the whispers haven't exactly stopped and probably won't now that the outlook for the organization has just taken a major shift. 

Nic Desaluriers is under contract for two more years, but is likely to sit out often as the Flyers continue to get younger. He popped in and out of the lineup regularly last season. 

Olle Lycksell is good for a depth call-up, and Rhett Gardner if the Flyers are really banged up. Elliot Desnoyers has been on the fringe of the NHL, but numbers-wise, last season with the Phantoms down in the AHL was a step back. It could be a big camp for him coming up.

Cam Atkinson does have one more year left on his contract, but he's about to be 35 and was largely ineffective last season after making his way back from neck surgery and a year-long absence. It's hard to imagine him back. 

Defensive pairings

Cam York Travis Sanheim 
Nick Seeler Jamie Drysdale 
Egor Zamula Rasmus Ristolainen 

RESERVES: Ronnie Attard, Adam Ginning, Emil Andrae, Helge Grans, Louis Belpedio.

Cam York and Travis Sanheim logged a ton of heavy minutes on the top pairing last season, especially down the home stretch of the playoff push, which they both said did take a toll after the season ended. They should be coming back from the summer all healed up, rested, and still as the Flyers' best two defensemen right now, which means they should remain as the top pairing heading into opening night. 

• The Flyers committed to Nick Seeler with a four-year extension and have a long-term outlook for Jamie Drysdale, who is 22 and still developing as a blueliner. This pairing had some brutal looks toward the end of last season as the Flyers were stalling out, but they did settle down a bit and have a belief that they can build chemistry and figure it out with more time. 

Rasmus Ristolainen's name has been thrown around in trade rumors over the past few months, but for right now he's still here and still getting paid at a cap hit of $5.1 million, so as long as he's healthy, he's going to play. 

• Egor Zamula skated in 66 games, put up 21 points, and posted a plus-3 rating last season. He looked a lot more comfortable moving the puck, walking the blue line, and using his size to his advantage, and even gave the Flyers' woeful power play a jolt for a bit there. He's 24 and an arbitration-eligible RFA. The Flyers still seem to believe in him as a long-term project, so it should be reasonable to expect him back on the bottom pairing for this coming season, and perhaps with a bit more responsibility to shoulder. 

Adam Ginning, after recently re-upping on a two-year extension, is probably the first in line for a defensive call-up along with Ronnie Attard, as they were both up with the Flyers post-trade deadline. Helge Grans could be on the bubble, too, as well as Emil Andrae, though he might need more time in the AHL and figures to be a much more long-term piece down the line.

Marc Staal was on a one-year deal and was one of the names that general manager Danny Brière mentioned were unlikely to come back during his end-of-year press conference. Erik Johnson was also on an expiring deal after being acquired at the trade deadline, and could come back in a veteran role, though likely only on a cheap, one-year term. There is reported interest though.


Sam Ersson 
 Ivan Fedotov

RESERVES: Cal Petersen, Alexei Kolosov.

Sam Ersson played way more than expected last season, better than expected, and earned an honest look as the full-time No. 1. 

Ivan Fedotov suddenly arrived in from Russia late last season and was thrown straight into the NHL fire because the Flyers really had no one else dependable behind Ersson by that point. The 6-foot-7 netminder got re-upped for two more years soon after, and will get a shot as Ersson's backup, this time with the benefit of a full summer and camp to adjust to his new surroundings. 

• The Flyers seem intent to eat Cal Petersen's $5 million salary for its last remaining year, per The Fourth Period's Anthony Di Marco, but he'll likely stay down with the Phantoms unless there's an emergency call-up. 

Alexei Kolosov also arrived late last season from Belarus, and for right now, is expected to play and develop in the AHL with the Phantoms this season. There were rumors that Kolosov, 22, was homesick and intended to return home, but nothing was ever made official in that regard.

MORE: Danny Brière is keeping the Flyers on the long-term plan

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