Report: Maple Leafs have told teams they are ready to trade Ilya Mikheyev’s UFA rights

It looks like the Toronto Maple Leafs have accepted that Ilya Mikheyev won’t return next season.

According to Elliotte Friedman, the Leafs have informed teams in this league that they are willing to trade the right to the future unrestricted free agent if anyone wants a head start on his signing.

Mikheyev signed with the Leafs as an undrafted free agent in May 2019 after a few strong seasons in the KHL. He has scored 36 goals and 36 assists in 146 games for the Leafs over the three seasons since arriving in North America.

Mikheyev will enter unrestricted free agency after a season in which he set career highs in goals (21) and points (32) in just 53 games.

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Bringing back Mikheyev is a luxury the Leafs can’t afford right now, as the team is in a tight salary cap situation with some key players needing new contracts. Pierre Envall and Ondrej Kase are restricted free agents with arbitration rights, Rasmus Sandin’s entry-level contract is up and goalkeeper Jack Campbell is eligible to hit the open market as a UFA.

Last summer, the Leafs and Edmonton Oilers were in talks to trade UFA rights to Zach Hyman, but couldn’t agree on a deal. Hyman ended up moving to free agency and signing a seven-year contract with the Oilers.

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