Center Mikhail “Misha” Vorobyev, who had a strong season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms but struggled when he was recalled by the Flyers, has decided to forego his dream of playing regularly in the NHL.
A Russian website reported that Vorobyev, 23, is going to sign a three-year deal to play in Russia’s KHL.
An NHL source confirmed that Vorobyev is indeed headed to the KHL and that the Flyers will retain his rights; he will be placed on the Flyers’ reserve list.
NHL teams are allowed to recall extra players as they attempt to restart the season this summer. Vorobyev had been expected to be recalled, but that is not going to happen, a source said.
Phantoms coach Scott Gordon said Vorobyev (12 goals, 28 points in 45 games) was the team’s most consistent player this season. In three stints with the Flyers, however, Vorobyev had just a goal, two assists, and a minus-5 rating in 20 games.
A fourth-round draft selection in 2015, Vorobyev played in 35 games (two goals, three assists) with the Flyers, and his AHL success never translated into the NHL.
A restricted free agent this summer, Vorobyev earned about $2.35 million in his three years in the Flyers’ organization. Before joining the Phantoms, he played parts of two seasons in the KHL.
Wyatt Kalynuk, a mobile defenseman who was an all-Big Ten selection at the University of Wisconsin this season, is testing free agency.
Kalynuk, 23, was selected by the Flyers in the seventh round of the 2017 draft, and he has improved greatly during his three seasons at Wisconsin. This season, as team’s captain, the junior had 28 points, including seven goals, in 36 games.