Mikhail Vorobyev is headed back to Europe.
According to a report out of Russia, Vorobyev has signed a contract to play for Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the Kontinental Hockey League next season. The contract is reportedly a three-year deal with an annual value of 40 million Russian rubles, which is equivalent to roughly $575,600 in the United States.
The Philadelphia Flyers drafted Vorobyev in the fourth round (No. 104 overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. After standing out for Salavat Yulaev Ufa as a teenager, Vorobyev finally crossed the pond to North America in 2017 to begin playing for the American Hockey League’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Despite having to adjust to a completely new lifestyle in America, Vorobyev performed quite well in his first season in the AHL, collecting nine goals and 29 points in 59 games.
Unfortunately, Vorobyev’s game just didn’t seem to translate to the NHL. In a pair of brief auditions for the Flyers during the 2018-19 season, Vorobyev managed only two points in 15 total games, ultimately leading to his demotion back to the minors. He spent some time with the big club in 2019-20 as well, but once again failed to make much of a positive impact — he managed just three points in 20 appearances before being demoted yet again to Lehigh Valley in January.
But he really only tallied two points, considering Conor Sheary pretty much scored his one goal of the season for him.
Vorobyev was set to become a restricted free agent for the Flyers during the offseason, but with the status of the current NHL season in doubt (as well as the start of the 2020-21 season), his decision to go back home and play for his hometown KHL club is somewhat understandable.
It’s unfortunate that the Mikhail Vorobyev project never ended up panning out. After picking up 10 assists in seven games for Team Russia during the 2017 World Juniors, it looked as if Vorobyev had the potential to become a good find for former Flyers GM Ron Hextall and company. However, things just didn’t click for Vorobyev in Philadelphia, and it’s fair to wonder if his career as an NHLer is over for good.
In case you missed it, you can learn more about Vorobyev’s recent performance in Maddie’s season review of the soon-to-be former Phantom’s 2019-20 campaign.