A few days ago, we covered reports stating that the Toronto Maple Leafs had made it clear to teams across the league that they would be open to trading the early negotiating rights to Ilya Mikheyev to any interested teams. Now, we have some more clarity on what those interested teams might look like. According to TSN’s Chris Johnston, there look to be many. Johnston reports that “as many as half the teams” in the NHL are expected to hold at least some interest in acquiring Mikheyev this summer, and adds that Mikheyev is looking for a deal “in the $4MM range,” if not higher.
Such a vast level of interest in Mikheyev is not a complete surprise. The speedy, undrafted Russian winger scored 21 goals and 32 points in 53 games this season, bouncing back from an off 2020-21 where he only had seven goals and 17 points in 54 games. While not the largest reason for each team’s success, both the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning feature premium middle-of-the-lineup players, and it’s likely that the teams interested in him consider him a “premium” middle-sixer. The NHL is a “copycat” league, so it’s very possible that the playoff success of relatively comparable players such as Artturi Lehkonen or Nick Paul has grown Mikheyev’s market. The more teams that enter a bidding war for his services, the more likely Mikheyev is to earn the type of contract the desires. So if anything, Johnston’s reporting is great news for Mikheyev and his camp, and could also be an early sign of the type of players that will be in high demand on July 13th.
Now, for some other notes regarding Eastern Conference teams:
- The New York Rangers could lose both Andrew Copp and Ryan Strome this summer, two top-six players who were important pieces of the team’s run to the Eastern Conference Final. Those losses will likely leave a hole at the Rangers’ second-line center slot, and the Rangers will need to find a replacement this summer. One way the team can find a replacement is in the trade market, and according to The Athletic’s Arthur Staple, that’s something they’re considering. (subscription link) Per Staple, two league sources noted that center Filip Chytil, the hero of the team’s second-round victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, is the “most talked-about” Ranger in GM Chris Drury’s trade conversations, and that “the Rangers are willing to lose Chytil in order to acquire an older, more established top-six center.” Chytil, a 2017 first-round pick, is a veteran of over 250 NHL games despite being just 22 years old. He had 22 points in 67 games this season and his strong playoff performance could motivate the Rangers to “sell high” on him if they don’t view him as part of their long-term plans.
- One player who could potentially fill the Rangers’ second-line center need is Calgary Flames pivot Sean Monahan. Per Staple, Monahan “has been discussed in trade talks” with the Rangers. Monahan, 27, has seen his career derailed due to injuries as of late, and was placed on long-term injured reserve following hip surgery. If the Rangers believe in Monahan’s ability to re-discover the form that saw him score between 20 and 30 goals for seven straight seasons, then the Rangers could acquire him at an asset cost that would likely be far lower than the cost it would take to acquire a more in-demand center.