On Monday Flyers announced the signing of Russian forward Roman Lyubimov to a 1-year, 2-way entry level contract. According to Tim Panaccio, Lyubimov can earn $925,000 if he can make the Flyers roster.
An undrafted free agent, Roman was ranked 138th in European skaters in the 2010 entry level draft, but spent the last 6 seasons in the KHL where he was able to develop as a very reliable two-way forward. “He plays a solid, two-way game. Kind of an up-and-downer. We’ve had our eye on him for a couple years, but he kind of really popped at the World Championships this past year.” Hextall said during a press conference.
— Russia Hockey (@russiahockey_en) June 4, 2016
In 10 games in the World Championships, Lyubimov scored 4 goals and 4 assists helping the Russian team win Bronze. He also 15 playoff games this season with his KHL team, CSKA Moscow and earned eight points. It seems that he was under utilized on CSKA before injuries plagued the team. Then when given a chance he was able to finally break out of his shell and show what he can do.
He seems to be a bit weak on faceoffs, but he’s also able to switch to the Left Wing, a position the Flyers are looking to fill. He is a strong two-way forward that isn’t afraid to get into the dirty areas. He has size and despite a 6 foot 2, 207 lbs frame, he has speed. With a lot of skills at his disposal, Lyubimov seems like a low risk, high reward type of signing.
Lyubimov won’t be a top-six player in the NHL but he can score a bit when he has open opportunity. Has been a good young two-way player CSKA
— Bill Meltzer (@billmeltzer) July 11, 2016
With Lyubimov in the mix and Jordan Weal being signed to another one-year contract, there’s a lot of competition for the Flyers bottom six spots. The Russian could be a steal and give the Flyers secondary scoring a boost. Or he could end up like Evgeny Medvedev and move on after the season is over. Either way, it’s worth the risk and Lyubimov is much younger. At only 24 years old, Lyubimov could still develop a bit more and time with the Phantoms could help him if he doesn’t make the Flyers right away.