Ivon Fedotov joins the Philadelphia Flyers
(Photo Credit: @NHLFlyers/ Twitter)

After a tumultuous two years filled with legal battles and forced military service, Russian goaltender Ivan Fedotov has finally arrived in Philadelphia to join the Flyers.

The 6-foot-7 netminder, drafted by the Flyers in the seventh round back in 2015, signed his one-year entry-level contract in May 2022 with the intention of competing for a roster spot that fall.

However, Fedotov’s plans were derailed when Russian authorities detained him in July 2022 for allegedly evading military service. The then-25-year-old was taken to a remote military base in the Arctic Circle, where he was required to fulfill his one-year conscription.

“It has been a long time,” Fedotov said during his introductory press conference alongside Flyers general manager Danny Briere. “Now I’m here and I’m so excited. I have great feelings because it’s really difficult two years for me.”

Prior to his detainment, Fedotov had been playing for CSKA Moscow in the KHL, where he posted impressive numbers. In the 2021-22 season, he recorded a 14-10-2 record with a 2.00 goals-against average (GAA) and .919 save percentage, helping lead CSKA to the Gagarin Cup championship. He was also the starting goaltender for the Russian Olympic Committee team that won silver at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

After completing his military service, Fedotov signed a two-year deal with CSKA Moscow in the summer of 2023. However, the NHL and the Flyers contested the validity of this contract, arguing that Fedotov already had a binding agreement with Philadelphia. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) ultimately ruled in favor of the Flyers, paving the way for Fedotov’s long-awaited arrival.

In 44 games with CSKA Moscow this season, the now-27-year-old posted a 2.37 GAA and .914 save percentage. His KHL contract was terminated on March 28, allowing him to finally join the Flyers for their playoff push.

Standing at an imposing 6-foot-7, Fedotov’s size and skill have drawn comparisons to other elite Russian goaltenders in the NHL, such as Andrei Vasilevskiy and Igor Shesterkin. His shoulders nearly reach the crossbar even when in the butterfly position, making him a formidable presence in the crease.

“I want to help the team struggle for the playoffs and be one of the best teams in the playoffs,” Fedotov said. “I want to say thanks a lot to the organization. They support me a lot.”

Fedotov’s arrival could provide a much-needed boost between the pipes as the Flyers look to secure a playoff berth in the tightly contested Eastern Conference.

With his legal battles behind him and a burning desire to compete at the highest level, the towering Russian goaltender is ready to make his mark in the NHL.