Maple Leafs Are Likely Losing Ilya Mikheyev
Ilya Mikheyev is coming off the best season of his young NHL career, but his price tag will likely be too much for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The 27-year-old speedster tallied 21 goals and 11 assists in 53 games for the Maple Leafs last year. Toronto would obviously love to retain an ultra-skilled forward of his caliber, but the cap-strapped Leafs won’t be able to meet his high asking price.
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic (subscription required) reports that Mikheyev’s agent, Dan Milstein, will eye “a multi-year deal in the $4.75 million AAV to $5.5 million AAV range” if the forward hits free agency.
It’s also “believed that the Leafs never” submitted a contract offer to the former KHL standout, LeBrun previously reported at The Athletic (subscription required).
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Though the Maple Leafs will likely lose a capable long-term top-six forward in Mikheyev, they remain one of the prime favorites to win the 2023 Stanley Cup. Only the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche (+400) have higher odds than the Maple Leafs (+800) at DraftKings and FanDuel (Colorado is +500, Toronto is +900).
Report: Leafs & Jack Campbell Haven’t Had “Serious” Contract Talks
Jack Campbell is one of several big-named goalies who could hit the free agent market come July 13.
And with each passing day, it certainly sounds like the Maple Leafs will have to find a new starting goalie for next season. According to Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet 590 The Fan, the Leafs and their 30-year-old goaltender still haven’t held any “serious” NHL contract discussions.
In 2019, the Los Angeles Kings signed Campbell to a two-year contract extension worth a bargain $3.3 million. Ahead of the 2020 deadline, the Leafs acquired Campbell and Kyle Clifford from LA to bolster their playoff push.
If Campbell walks to free agency, Toronto will have plenty of options to replace him in free agency. Future Hall of Famer Marc-Andre Fleury, Avalanche starter Darcy Kuemper and St. Louis Blues backup Ville Husso could also hit the open market next week.
Though Campbell’s 2021-22 regular season stats looked mediocre on paper (a .914 save percentage with a 2.64 goals against average), he played magnificent in the opening round against the Lightning and nearly led Toronto to their first playoff series win since 2004.
Campbell’s strong showing in the postseason as well as his ability to handle the tough pressure of playing in the Toronto market have set him up nicely for a strong payday. Perhaps one that’s too rich for the Leafs.
Senators Reportedly Looking At Buyouts, Have Interest In Puljujarvi
With the team coming off a fifth straight non-playoff season, this is an especially critical offseason for Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion.
Dorion has spent the last four years stockpiling draft picks and young assets. But now it’s time for the up-and-coming Senators to make progress and actually push for a playoff spot in 2022-23.
According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, the belief is that “the Senators are weighing their options” ahead of the buyout window. Garrioch listed struggling forward Colin White and blueliner Michael Del Zotto as possible options. Garrioch added that goalie Matt Murray has also “been mentioned”, but it feels unlikely at this time.
In his latest 32 Thoughts column, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the Senators and Montreal Canadiens discussed a White trade ahead of the deadline. The 25-year-old is signed for three more years with a cap hit of $4.75 million, according to CapFriendly.
Speaking on TSN’s “Insider Trading” last week, hockey insider Chris Johnson reported that the Senators are “believed to be” one of the teams talking to the Edmonton Oilers about a trade for forward Jesse Puljujarvi.
The No. 4 pick of the 2016 draft tallied 14 goals and 36 points in 65 games for the Oilers last year. Despite a strong skill set, Puljujarvi has yet to emerge as a reliable top-line forward in Edmonton, so a trade certainly feels inevitable at this point.
Needless to say, the Senators are poised to be among hockey’s busiest teams this offseason.