Sep 29: After initial fears that he may have suffered a torn ACL, it looks as though Mikheyev avoided serious injury altogether. Rick Dhaliwal of CHEK TV reports that he had two opinions and could resume skating as soon as tomorrow.
Sep 27: One of the big free agent signings for the Vancouver Canucks is in danger of missing the start of the season, as Ilya Mikheyev is out “week-to-week” according to head coach Bruce Boudreau. Mikheyev suffered a lower-body injury in his preseason debut with the team on Sunday.
Signed to a four-year, $19MM contract in the offseason after a 21-goal campaign with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Mikheyev has been one of the impressive players at Canucks camp, with J.T. Miller referring to the Russian’s speed as “humbling.” The 27-year-old forward has had some pretty unfortunate injury luck in his short NHL career so far, including a sliced wrist and a broken thumb.
That has limited him to just 146 regular season games in three years, though it was his production in those matches and his versatile profile that made him such an appealing target in free agency. With 21 goals in just 53 games last season, he is the kind of perfect secondary scoring option that teams crave. His speed, length, and puck protection make him a great option on the penalty kill, and he can often create offense without the help of teammates.
Still, at some point, he’s going to need to be able to put together a full campaign, especially now that he is carrying a cap hit of $4.75MM. The Canucks need him to be everything he was last season and more if they are going to get their money’s worth, especially given he will play this season at 28 and the final season of this contract at 31. The hope was that they were buying his best years – a weeks-long injury isn’t a great start.
Given the team will also be without Brock Boeser after he underwent hand surgery, there will be plenty of minutes up for grabs in Vancouver.