Flyers happy to have Ivan Fedotov, don’t see a distraction ‘at all’

Flyers happy to have Ivan Fedotov, don’t see a distraction ‘at all’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

VOORHEES, N.J. — Nick Seeler was one of five players to witness the 6-foot-7 Ivan Fedotov up close on the ice Friday.

“Hard to miss,” the Flyers’ defenseman said with a smile.

The team’s new goaltender, known mostly via the internet, with his impressive stats and hard-to-believe story, skated with the full team Saturday for the first time. To wrap up morning skate, the Flyers had Fedotov lead stretches at center ice and fervently tapped their sticks to welcome him.

Fedotov embraced the moment and the day. He took a picture with a young, aspiring goaltender holding a sign and watching along the boards. He played to the enjoyment from his teammates with some fun of his own.

The Flyers have eight games to go in their surprise playoff push, which continues Saturday at home against the Blackhawks (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP). General manager Danny Briere felt Fedotov’s sudden arrival from Russia would be a boost for his club and not a distraction. The players don’t seem to mind the late-season development.

“Our mindset all year is just kind of have everyone included,” Owen Tippett said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a distraction at all. He brings in a lot of energy and guys can build off that.”

To get the 27-year-old up to speed in net, John Tortorella will leave that to goalie coach Kim Dillabaugh.

“I don’t know anything about goaltending, I don’t want to hear about goaltending,” the Flyers’ head coach said. “I want him to stop the puck. That’s all a coach wants. That’s why we have one of the best goaltending coaches I think in the league in Dilly. That’s his stuff.”

When might Fedotov make his NHL debut? We’ll see, but one would think it could be next weekend. The Flyers have a back-to-back set as they visit the Sabres on Friday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Blue Jackets the following day (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

“Meeting him, he’s a really good kid,” Seeler said. “He’s super athletic. Shooting on him yesterday and today, you can tell he’s quick post to post, covers a lot of net obviously. He’s excited to be here and we’re excited to have him.”

Joel Farabee met Fedotov at 2018 development camp.

“Even then, I don’t think he spoke much English when I first met him, I think he pretty much just came right over,” the Flyers’ 24-year-old winger said. “Now you can talk to him and things like that, it’s super cool. You see the success he’s had just the last few years, playing for Russia at the Olympics, playing in the KHL and doing really well. We’re super pumped to have him and I think it’s just nice that he got all that contract stuff figured out and he’s over here now.”

The most unique and obvious aspect of Fedotov is his sheer size. He has come a long way since the 2015 NHL draft, when the Flyers selected him in the seventh and final round.

“I played with a guy in junior that was 6-7 or 6-8,” Tippett said. “That would have been the last time that I played with a guy of his stature. He’s a big guy, covers a lot of the net. It’s good to have him on our side.”

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