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LEAFS AND ILYA MIKHEYEV AVOID ARBITRATION WITH MULTI-YEAR PACT

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced on Tuesday evening that they have reached an agreement with 26-year-old RFA Ilya Mikheyev, keeping the Russian winger in the fold through 2021-22 at a very modest $1.645M AAV, effectively avoiding arbitration.

Mikheyev, whose hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, Oct 21st, scored 23 points through 39 games for the Leafs last season, prior to suffering a gruesome wrist laceration during a game against the New Jersey Devils in December of 2019.

The Leafs have had a very impressive offseason thus far, despite having entered the break in what some folks would label "cap hell". Though Mikheyev's deal puts the Leafs over the cap by ~$200k, Dubas and company need only assign a player to the AHL Toronto Marlies to become cap compliant, albeit with a 21-man roster. Dubas himself has previously stated that the Leafs could spend much of the 2020-21 season running with a 20-man or 21-man roster, given the fact that the team's AHL affiliate is in such close proximity.

The Mikheyev camp was reportedly seeking a one-year $2.7M deal in arbitration, while the Leafs were reportedly seeking a two-year deal at $1M per season.



After signing Wayne Simmonds, T.J. Brodie, Travis Boyd, Zach Bogosian, Jimmy Vesey, Aaron Dell, Joe Thornton, extending Mikheyev and trading Andreas Johnsson to New Jersey in exchange for 22-year-old prospect Joey Anderson (who is likely to accept his qualifying offer), the club has just one significant piece to lock up in RFA defenseman Travis Dermott.

Dermott, 23, does not have arbitration rights and, as a result, does not have much bargaining power. At this point, it seems likely that Dermott's extension will be one or two years, not much higher than the $863,333 that the feisty blueliner earned in each of his last three seasons over his ELC. The possibility also exists that Dermott could elect to accept his qualifying offer from the team.

Have yourself an offseason, Kyle Dubas.

MIKE ARMENTI
OCTOBER 20, 2020  (20H18)
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