Goalie Was Drafted in 2015, Just Made His NHL Debut

Ivan Fedotov's story got a little geo-political on his way to playing for the Flyers
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2024 12:10 PM CDT
This Goalie's Journey to the NHL Was Quite Curious
Russian Olympic Committee goalkeeper Ivan Fedotov skates across the ice to receive his silver medal after Finland defeated Russian Olympic Committee in the men's gold medal hockey game at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022, in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

Ivan Fedotov was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2015—which was great for the aspiring Russian goaltender, but a move made with "low expectations" on the part of the Flyers, as NPR puts it. Fedotov finally made his NHL debut with the Flyers on Monday night, some nine years later. Here's a look at his most curious path to the league:

  • After that draft: The Flyers didn't sign Fedotov and didn't really take notice of him until 2022, after he had a big season on Russian soil and helped the Russian Olympic team bring home a silver medal from Beijing. The Flyers signed him in May of that year as a free agent.

  • That's when: Fedotov tried to leave Russia to join his new team and was arrested on charges of dodging military service (all Russian men between 18 and 27 must serve at least a year or serve two in prison). Fedotov chose the former and was sent to an Arctic outpost. Much more here.
  • And then: Once out of the military, Fedotov signed a two-year contract with the Russian military-affiliated Moscow club CSKA, of Russia's KHL league. The league has a frosty relationship with the NHL after the latter cut ties over Russia's war in Ukraine, and the Athletic reports the Flyers thought the CSKA was invalid but chose not to fight it.
  • When suddenly: Last Thursday, CSKA unceremoniously dumped Fedotov with a year left to go on his contract. On Friday, he was on a plane to Philly. "We'll just leave the details out," says Philly GM Danny Briere of the plot that could've been penned by Tom Clancy.
  • His future: Fedotov's arrival couldn't have been better timed, notes the AP. Philly's starting goalie, Carter Hart, is on indefinite leave over sexual assault charges. Backup goalie Samuel Ersson was pulled after a halting start, and Fedotov stopped 19 of 21 in his long-awaited debut.
  • Fun stat: Fedotov is listed as standing either 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-8 tall. If it's the former, he ties the record for the tallest goalie to ever play in the NHL; if it's the latter, he now holds the record.
(More hockey stories.)

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