JPat: Trying to envision what Ilya Mikheyev’s next goal will look like

Photo credit:© Simon Fearn-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
4 months ago
Let’s get this part out of the way right off the top: Ilya Mikheyev has shown signs of life lately. It’s a low bar for a guy making nearly $5m a year, sure. But based on his play – and particularly his production – over the past three months, Mikheyev has been noticeable for the right reasons on the Vancouver Canucks’ four game win streak. He’s been active on the forecheck on a line with JT Miller and Brock Boeser and is fourth on the team with 11 shots on goal. But you know where this is going.
That’s 11 more shots added to the collection. All of them with the same depressing result. It’s been 34 games now since one of those shots found the back of the net. And it’s reached the point where it’s hard to imagine what Ilya Mikheyev’s next goal will look like. But that’s all we’re left to do these days. Without his trademark straight-line speed, it’s hard to envision him going coast to coast, leaving defenders in his dust. Lacking the confidence necessary to be a scoring threat, it’s hard to picture him picking a corner and rifling a shot past a goalie. Perhaps he’ll pounce on a rebound somewhere along the line and shovel a puck home. But even that is hard to picture, given how many of those opportunities he’s had lately without anything to show for them. 
It’s tough to imagine the next goal coming on a power play because Mikheyev has rightly lost his spot on the Canucks’ second unit. 
And it’s not likely to come into an empty net because the Canucks have players they trust more late in games to protect leads. 
Mikheyev’s stick is truly where offence goes to die these days. And it’s remarkable really given that he’s spent so much of his drought playing with Elias Pettersson and for the last four games has skated on the wing with Miller, the team’s leading scorer.
A quick check of the last handful of goals Mikheyev scored – he does have 10 on the season – shows a deflection, a couple of goal-mouth redirects and a rebound. The last time Mikheyev actually fired a puck past a netminder was off the rush in Montreal on November 12th. Two games before that in Ottawa, he scored twice — in the same game.
You’d think for a guy that averages more than 14 minutes a night since his last goal, there’d be a bounce along the way. But at this stage it almost feels like Mikheyev would be better served to save whatever contributions he has left in him and keep them for the playoffs. Don’t waste one now, Ilya, even as much as I’m sure he’d love to put an end to his incredible drought.
No NHL forward has come close to the number of shots on goal Mikheyev has produced without converting since he last found the back of the net in Chicago on December 17th. Since then, the 29-year-old has registered 67 shots on goal without a payoff. Edmonton’s Connor Brown is next at 56. Chicago’s Taylor Raddysh is at 50. The Leafs Noah Gregor is up to 46. And LA’s Arthur Kaliyev is at 43. That’s the complete list of forwards over 40 shots without a goal to show for their efforts since Mikheyev last tallied.
It really has reached an absurd level.
This brings us back to the original question of what Mikhevey’s next goal will look like. The guess here is a deflection. That was how he scored his last goal, and until he shows otherwise, it seems like the best guess. Maybe a puck will simply hit him and go in. At this stage, it’s just hard to imagine his drought ending any other way.

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