Ilya Mikheyev reportedly requested a trade from the Toronto Maple Leafs and it doesn’t look like the team plans to honour that request.
With training camp approaching quickly, it appears as if one member of the Toronto Maple Leafs was doubting his future with the club.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported last week that Ilya Mikheyev asked for a trade at the end of the 2020-21 season. Friedman was also quick to say that Toronto had no desire to honour that request as they see Mikheyev as a key part of their team going into the upcoming season.
First off, it’s easy to see why the Russian winger wanted a change of scenery as he took a step back last season and going into the final year of his deal, he wants to maximize his opportunity to earn a better payday.
This is the part that doesn’t really make sense because with Zach Hyman gone, there is a great opportunity for Mikheyev to try and lock in a top-six role. It’s obviously something he struggled with last season considering how many different players were shuffling on the left wing with John Tavares and William Nylander.
Sure the team will likely have an open competition with Mikheyev going up against newcomers Nick Ritchie, Ondrej Kase, and Michael Bunting. If that’s the case, then Mikheyev should be looking to prove he is deserving of the opportunity that he is looking for.
Toronto Maple Leafs wouldn’t get enough back in a trade for Ilya Mikheyev
Mikheyev’s value to the Leafs comes as a penalty killer and being an aggressive forechecker. There wasn’t a player more snake-bitten offensively on Toronto than Mikheyev so he could bounce back in that department but it’s tough to gauge whether this is the year he can reach 15 to 20 goals.
At some point down the road where Mikheyev isn’t able to produce for the Leafs, Kyle Dubas can look to move him and give him a fresh start as he did with Mikko Lehtonen and Alexander Barabanov.
Regardless, this is a player who has carved himself out a role with the Leafs and they need him to be a productive player if they want to overcome their disappointing results in the playoffs.
What are your thoughts on Mikheyev requesting a trade? Should the Leafs consider moving him or does he possess too much value? Let us know in the comments below.