Ivan Fedotov’s long and difficult journey reaches Flyers; so what now?

By | March 30, 2024

Ivan Fedotov’s long and difficult journey reaches Flyers; so what now? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

VOORHEES, NJ – Ivan Fedotov was selected by the Flyers in the final round of the 2015 NHL draft over eight and a half years ago.

He did not appear on an ice hockey rink last season. He was sent to a remote military base in northern Russia.

He is 27 years old.

And there he was on Friday, holding up a Flyers jersey with general manager Danny Briere.

An NHL dream realized. Finally.

“It’s been a long time,” said the towering goalkeeper. “Now I’m here.”

Fedotov signed his one-year entry-level contract with the Flyers in May 2022, signaling his plan to come to North America and compete for a roster spot. Less than two months later, he was suddenly arrested for allegedly avoiding military service in his home country, Russia.

After Fedotov completed his military duty, doubts about his future with the Flyers only grew. He returned to the net, but did so by signing a two-year contract with CSKA Moscow of the KHL while his NHL contract was considered valid.

You’d think at some point the Flyers would have lost hope that a day like Friday would ever arrive.

“It’s been a long time, it’s been a long time,” Briere said with a smile. “I think we were always hopeful that he would come. But it’s been a long road. I give him a lot of support to keep pushing and finally get the chance to come here. Hopefully it’s a new chapter for him and he.” gets to start his NHL career and is off to a good start.”

Fedotov’s KHL deal was terminated on Thursday and CSKA Moscow wished the goaltender good luck.

The Flyers introduced him Friday morning in Voorhees, New Jersey.

“I’m so excited and happy to be here,” Fedotov said. “Great feelings, because they were two very difficult years.”

The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder underwent on-ice training with goaltending coach Kim Dillabaugh, skills coach Angelo Ricci and new teammates Nick Seeler, Jamie Drysdale, Marc Staal, Nicolas Deslauriers and Denis Gurianov.

For now, Briere declined to comment on the details behind the timeline of Fedotov’s arrival.

“All we did was follow the NHL’s lead and get clarity on what we were allowed to do and how we could do it,” Briere said. “So everything was done right on our side.”

The Flyers have seen a lot of change in their net since Jan. 23, when Carter Hart requested a personal leave of absence due to a sexual assault case. Fedotov will immediately take on the role of Samuel Ersson’s backup. Felix Sandstrom, who had the club on an emergency loan, reported to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

“We’ve been ahead of the curve, Sam has been kept informed and Felix has been kept informed,” Briere said. “We try to be as open as possible with our players and that would have consequences for them. But at the same time we said to Sam: you have earned the right to be No. 1, we believe in you, we trust in you. We are been honest with both of them.’

The Flyers have eight regular season games remaining and are looking to clinch a spot in the playoffs. They have another back-to-back set when they visit the Sabers next Friday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Blue Jackets the next day (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Last month, head coach John Tortorella said he would not overload Ersson, a 24-year-old rookie in his first full NHL season. Briere said playing time for Fedotov will be determined by Tortorella and Dillabaugh.

“You know how things work here, Torts is in charge of that,” Briere said. “[Fedotov will] available, he will be on the ice, he will be with the team practicing. The coaching staff will decide whether he plays or not.”

Fedotov is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. Both parties are interested in a contract extension.

“I hope it will last together for a long time,” Fedotov said.

Danny Briere, Ivan Fedotov

Danny Briere, Ivan Fedotov

Friday wasn’t Fedotov’s first time at the Flyers Training Center. He had been to the facility for a number of summer development camps in his earlier days as a prospect. He met Ersson during the 2018 camp.

This season, Fedotov posted a 2.37 goals-against average, a .914 save percentage and four shutouts in 44 games with CSKA Moscow. He had a 2.57 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage in five playoff games.

In 2021-2022, the season prior to his mandatory military service, Fedotov was named a finalist for the KHL’s Best Goalie Award after going 14-10-2 with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage during the regular season. He was even better in the playoffs, leading CSKA Moscow to a championship with 16 wins, a 1.85 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage through 22 games.

He also represented Russia at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, winning a silver medal. He went 4-2-0 with a 1.61 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage.

Fedotov, who is eager to contribute to the Flyers’ playoff run, knows there will be an adjustment from the KHL to the NHL.

“It’s faster, but for me it’s really good,” he said. “I like it when the game is as fast as possible.

“Everyone knows that the players are very good at playing in front of the net, behind the net, they are more deflectors and goal scorers. But that goes for all goalkeepers, in Russia you have to be focused on the puck, don’t think too much. ” a lot of.”

The Flyers are impressed with Fedotov’s determination.

“That gives us confidence that he can come and help us,” Briere said. “He’s been through a lot in his career, he’s been through a lot in his life and his personal life. He keeps fighting, he keeps getting better, he keeps working on his craft, so it’s a big part of why we feel at ease and we are happy to have him on board.”

The club has spoken highly of the dressing room and how it has been instrumental in the organisation’s turnaround in a rebuilding season. The Flyers aren’t concerned that the Fedotov storyline will be a distraction at a critical time.

“Hopefully it’s a little boost,” Briere said. “We’re getting on the right track. You can’t make any more trades, so hopefully it’s a little bit of a boost and everyone gets excited so we can finish strong and find a way to get to the playoffs. That’s obviously the number one. There’s only one thing here these days.”

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