Vancouver Canucks Sign Ilya Mikheyev to 4-Year Deal

The Vancouver Canucks have signed forward Ilya Mikheyev to a 4-year, $4.75 million contract.

To start his professional hockey career, Mikheyev played four seasons with Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) from 2015-2019, where he developed an impressive two-way game that utilized his speed and growing scoring talent, culminating in an 11-point playoff run in 13 games in 2019.

Once he made the jump to the NHL, he signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 6th, 2019, and eventually signed a two-year extension at the conclusion of that deal in 2020.

Related: 2022 NHL Free Agent Signing Tracker

While his transition to the NHL wasn’t the smoothest, as injury slowed his rookie season, by 2021-22, Mikheyev started coming into his own. He posted 21 goals and 32 points in 50 games played, along with four points in seven postseason games. He is a player that really seemed to turn that corner offensively, and he seemed to be ready to take on a bigger role, which he just wasn’t able to find with Toronto.

Mikheyev’s Fit With The Canucks

As a big-bodied two-way forward who has been developing a scoring touch, there’s a lot of room for a player like Mikheyev in the Canucks’ lineup. At the worst, they have added a middle-six forward who can chip in 15 goals and 30 points minimum each season.

Ilya Mikheyev Toronto Maple Leafs
Ilya Mikheyev had an offensive breakout during the 2021-22 season, where he started cashing in on his scoring opportunities. (Photo by Andrew Bershaw /Icon_Sportswire)

However, Mikheyev is a forward with a lot of potential. First and foremost, he is an incredibly strong skater, as he was one of the fastest players on the Maple Leafs during his tenure. He’s also a fantastic penalty killer, who scored four short-handed goals during the 2021-22 regular season.

With this in mind, he could be looking to take that next step in his career. If Vancouver gives him the opportunity and additional ice time, he might be able to flourish alongside their talented forward corps and take another step in his scoring output. If this happens, 25 goals and 50 points isn’t out of the question throughout the regular season.

Canucks Had Space to Pay Mikheyev

For the Canucks, signing a player with Mikheyev’s toolking makes a lot of sense. While you can argue that they overpaid for his services based on his relatively short track record, the price for a player with his toolkit is only going up every season.

More importantly, if Vancouver are able to unlock the full potential of Mikheyev, then they could be getting a bargain. Top-six forwards aren’t cheap, and this is the going rate for a player that can make a difference for your franchise on the open market.