Ilya Mikheyev Signs Free Agent Contract With Western Team

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The Vancouver Canucks signed free agent right winger Ilya Mikheyev to a four-year contract worth  $4.75 million AAV per season. This free-agent contract carries him through the 2025-26 season.

NHL free agent frenzy

Ilya Mikheyev Contract Official

For the first three years of his NHL career, Mikheyev has played for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has put up 36 goals and 36 assists for 72 career points in 146 career games. He originally signed a one-year entry-level deal with the Leafs in May of 2019 after going undrafted.

Last season he scored 21 goals and 11 assists for 32 points in 53 games. His goals and points totals were career bests. He also added 36 minutes in penalties. His possession numbers were 55.2% Corsi and a relative Corsi of 1.3.

Signing Further Depletes Leafs’ Depth

With Mikheyev choosing not to re-sign with the Leafs, they will now need to find a replacement. During his three years with the team, he proved to be a versatile player. Head coach Sheldon Keefe often used him in a top-six role alongside second-line centre John Tavares. He was also used as part of a third-line checking unit. Mikheyev scored four short-handed goals last season. He was a key part of the Leafs’ penalty-killing unit that was ranked in the top ten.

Mikheyev is the latest example of an important depth player that the Leafs did not re-sign. Zach Hyman was a top-six forward that played his way out of the Leafs’ price range and recently left the team. Their ability to re-sign their players has proved difficult with such a large percentage of their salary cap devoted to key players Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Tavares, William Nylander, and Morgan Rielly.

Mikheyev is coming off his best season as a Leaf. He was finally able to consistently capitalize on prime scoring chances that were generated by his above-average speed. It resulted in a career-high 21 goals last season in only 53 games played. His departure means the Leafs will be counting on internal development from players like Robertson and Abruzzese to fill the role vacated by Mikheyev.

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