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Why trading Ilya Mikheyev is a better option than buying him out: Canucks Conversation

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Photo credit:Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
10 days ago
On yesterday’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal discussed the different ways Vancouver can try to move on from Ilya Mikheyev after a pretty poor season from him. 
Mikheyev started off strong in Van City—after the first month of the season, he was among the Canucks’ top forwards for 5-on-5 goals. However, he would go on to be a non-factor for basically the rest of the season. Scoring just 1 goal in his last 61 games of the year, he finished with 11 goals and 31 points in 78 games. 
“Calculating the buyout of the remaining two years of Ilya Mikheyev’s contract, you’re going to be stuck with a cap hit for four years,” Quads stated. “$1.15 million next season, $2.15 million the next, $1.55 million the next, and $1.55 million in the final year.”
“I don’t think the cap math makes sense for the Canucks, especially because they already have Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s dead cap charge,” Harm chimed in. “To have Mikheyev on the books for those extra years just stings too much. The savings would be great this coming season; $3.6 million you’d save, but the year after, you’re saving $2.6 million, which is nice. But is it enough to justify having him on the books for two additional years where his contract would’ve otherwise expired? I don’t think so. OEL’s buyout cap hit will ratchet up to nearly $4.8 million as of 2025-26, so I think it’s too difficult to do. It’s also not just saving X amount of money; you also have to replace Mikheyev. Even if that’s a million dollars to bring in a bottom-6 forward, that’s still a million dollars out of your savings.”
“You put those dead caps together, and it’s a legit piece in terms of your cap space,” Quads added. “You put what Mikheyev and Ekman-Larsson are going to cost you in dead cap, and you’re looking at not being able to afford a good player when they’re put together.”
“I’d be much more open to the idea of the trade route as an exit option,” Harm continued. “It’s more fascinating and intriguing to dissect; even if you have to retain a little bit of money, it’s only for this season and next. You can still garner significant cap savings that way. Mikheyev at, let’s say, $3 or $3.5 million flat-cap, maybe there’s a team that looks at him and says, ‘We think he can bounce back.’ That being said, I don’t want to pay a substantial sweetener if I’m the Canucks. Even if I can get the full freight of his $4.75 million cap hit off the books, I don’t think it’s worth it because the Canucks don’t have a lot of expendable future assets. They already aren’t picking until round 3 in this year’s draft. Plus, you have to account for the fact they don’t have a 3rd round pick in 2025 or 2026. This team is going to continue adding to the roster in the offseason and presumably at the deadline if they’re a buying, contending team again. If you’re making a big swing trade for a Necas or an Ehlers, unless you’re using Nils Höglander as the centrepiece of the package, you’re giving up picks or prospects. The Canucks don’t have a lot of expendable assets. I don’t want to be in the business of giving up a 2nd round pick and something else just to get Mikheyev’s cap hit off the books because you still have other business you’re going to need to get done. Think about how many assets the Canucks had to part ways with over the last 18 months to build the team we saw last season; the picks that went out in the Hronek trade, Sam Lafferty, Elias Lindholm—you only have so many bullets in your chamber. I would rather retain and have a scenario where I don’t have to give up sweeteners rather than a plan B scenario of getting the full cap hit off, but you’re going to have to pay for it.”
You can watch the full replay of the show below:

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