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.
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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.
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.
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.