The Philadelphia Flyers made a rather intriguing pickup on Wednesday, signing 32-year-old blueliner Yevgeni Medvedev out of the KHL.
Updated: Per Sportsnet, it’s a one-year pact worth $3 million.
Medvedev has spent the majority of his professional career with Ak Bars Kazan, and is regarded as one of the Russian league’s best defensemen. He’s represented his country internationally on several occasions — including each of the last four World Championships — and, domestically, has captured two Gagarin Cup league championships (2008-09, 2009-10) and has been a three-time KHL All-Star (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14).
Described by GM Ron Hextall as a solid, two-way defenseman that can move the puck, Medvedev is a relatively tall, lanky d-man (6-foot-3, 187 pounds) that has good skating ability for his size.
Given his age and experience level, it’s safe to assume Philly signed Medvedev to play in the top-six. In light of that, GM Ron Hextall has some decisions to make — Philly has six d-men under contract for next year (Mark Streit, Andrew MacDonald, Luke Schenn, Nicklas Grossmann, Nick Schultz, Radko Gudas), still has to decide the future of RFA Michael Del Zotto and also signed Swiss prospect Christian Marti to an entry-level earlier this month.
What’s more, Philly has a crop of talented prospects on the horizon — Samuel Morin, Travis Sanheim, Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg — and it’s possible new head coach Dave Hakstol could be much more aggressive in activating his defense than his predecessors were.
“His teams go at the net, shoot for rebounds, make plays, and really emphasize the defense being an active part of the offense,” NCAA hockey analyst Dave Starman said, per NHL.com. “His use of weak side [defensemen] to pinch and extend plays is a huge component to their offensive success, and defensive as well, as they don’t retreat and regroup as much as other teams did.”