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Matvei Michkov is being released by his KHL club, a step toward him joining the Flyers, AP source says

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Matvei Michkov is being released by his club in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, the first step toward the Philadelphia Flyers' top prospect joining them in the NHL next season, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because neither the Flyers nor SKA Saint Petersburg had announced the transaction.

Michkov's arrival in North America ahead of schedule would be a major boost for Philadelphia, which selected the slick, skilled, playmaking forward with the seventh pick in the 2023 draft knowing he had three years left on his KHL contract.

But there had been buzz building in recent weeks about work being done behind the scenes to bring Michkov over well before 2026. The Flyers recently went through a bizarre saga with goaltender Ivan Fedotov, who was conscripted for Russian military service after signing his NHL contract in 2022 and returned to the KHL before they finally brought him over in March.

Michkov's situation is much simpler, but the 19-year-old has the potential to help change the fortunes of a franchise that has not won the Stanley Cup since going back to back in 1974 and '75. Philadelphia is just now coming out of a rebuild having missed the playoffs each of the past four seasons and beginning to transition into a contender.

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