Toronto Maple Leafs: Grading the Ilya Mikheyev signing

lya Mikheyev, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
lya Mikheyev, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed to a two-year deal with RFA forward Ilya Mikheyev.

The Toronto Maple Leafs checked off one of the last remaining boxes on their offseason to do list on Tuesday night, as they were able to work out a deal with RFA forward Ilya Mikheyev just before his arbitration hearing.

Re-signing Mikheyev is an important move for the Leafs, as they get to hang on to a top-nine forward who was a very pleasant surprise last season. Last season, he had eight goals and 15 assists for 23 points in 39 regular season games.

Mikheyev was limited to just 39 games thanks to an unfortunate injury. He was able to return for the play-in round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, during which he had zero points in five games against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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Contract Information

It’s a two year contract worth $1.65 million per year. Reportedly, Mikheyev took a little bit of a discount from the initial agreed upon asking price.

Grading The Signing

On paper, $1.65 million is a tad bit of a hefty price for someone who has just 44 NHL games (39 regular season and five postseason games) under his belt. But considering he got less than the halfway point between the Leafs asking price ($1 million) and Mikheyev’s asking price ($2.7 million), this is a pretty good deal for the Leafs.

Mikheyev was one of the Leafs best forwards last year. Among Leafs forwards who played at least 200 5v5 minutes, he had the best 5v5 points per hour rate. That said, of his 15 5v5 assists, seven of them were secondary assists.

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Expect Mikheyev to be a valuable middle six forward for the Maple Leafs. With his playmaking ability and ability to win pucks, he’ll be a great fit anywhere in the Leafs lineup. Mikheyev had a lot of success with John Tavares last year, so he could wind up there. But given their forward depth, the third line might be where he winds up.

Grade: A-. The second year is really huge.