Maple Leafs avoid arbitration with Ilya Mikheyev on two-year deal

Justin Cuthbert
·2-min read
NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 27: Ilya Mikheyev #65 of the Toronto Maple Leafs reacts after scoring a goal against the New Jersey Devils during the game at the Prudential Center on December 27, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Ilya Mikheyev and the Toronto Maple Leafs avoided arbitration. (Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Toronto Maple Leafs and forward Ilya Mikheyev have avoided putting their fate in an arbitrator’s hands, coming to an agreement on a two-year contract extension.

Mikheyev, who scored eight goals and racked up an impressive 23 points in 39 games in his rookie season with the Maple Leafs, will earn $1.645 million on an annual basis.

It’s believed that Mikheyev was asking for $2.7 million in arbitration, while the Leafs countered at $1 million.

It seems like a reasonable agreement for both sides despite Mikheyev settling for more than $1 million less than his original ask. But more important than keeping the average annual value down, it seems, for the Leafs is that they achieved term in the negotiation on a deal that will eat up the remainder of Mikheyev’s restricted free agent seasons.

It would have been quite an interesting arbitration case if it wound up in the hands of a third party, and perhaps that’s the reason the Leafs and Mikheyev were willing to come to an agreement. Mikheyev contributed a solid 0.59 points per game and emerged as a key member of the Leafs’ top six until a scary laceration on his wrist ended his rookie regular season. Both the Leafs and Mikheyev’s agency would have had some pretty strong points to build their cases around before simply crossing their fingers and hoping for an advantageous decision.

As of right now, the Leafs are over the cap with Travis Dermott still waiting on a contract. But if the restricted free agent defender signs for roughly less than $1.5 million after a disappointing season, it seems the Leafs will be able to cram together a 20-man cap compliant roster.

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