The Blackhawks are among the final three NHL teams trying to sign Russian right wing Ilya Mikheyev, reports Igor Eronko of Sport-Express. The Golden Knights and Maple Leafs are also pursuing the 24-year-old. Mikheyev’s decision is expected to be made this weekend.
Mikheyev scored 23 goals and 45 points in 62 KHL games in his fifth season with Avangard Omsk. The 6-foot-2, 194-pounder added four goals and 11 points in 13 playoff games as Avangard fell in four games to CSKA Moscow and Blackhawks prospect Max Shalunov in the Gagarin Cup Final.
Mikheyev also scored three goals and four points in eight games for Russia at last year’s World Championship where he was teammates with Shalunov and Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov. Mikheyev was also teammates with Blackhawks goalie prospect Ivan Nalimov, former prospect Ville Pokka, former defenseman Cody Franson and forwards Viktor Stalberg and Kris Versteeg with Avangard.
Here’s a scouting report on Mikheyev from The Hockey News:
While his overall point total may not seem impressive, Mikheyev was the best player on a team that features a handful of former NHLers and did a lot of the heavy lifting for Omsk. Mikheyev features a good mix of speed, strength and skill and doesn’t back down from a defensive challenge. Mikheyev is 24, so there’s potential he could step into a bottom-six role right away.