Toronto Maple Leafs: Does Ilay Mikheyev Make Zach Hyman Replaceable?

Souperman Has Been Making a Name for Himself as the Season Progresses and Could  See a Promotion if Things Continue.

It was announced on May 6th 2019 that the Toronto Maple Leafs had signed Russian forward IIya Mikheyev to a one-year entry level contract.

The Toronto Maple Leafs scouts saw potential in the 6’3 195lb Left Winger who scored 23 goals to go along with 22 assists in the 2018-2019 season of the KHL.

As with any players coming overseas, they are generally an unknown entity as Europe, and Russia have different styles and facilities in which they play.

Although the scouts got it wrong with Ozhiaganov last season there was hype surrounded around Mikheyev that he was something special, and we can see now that is coming into fruition.

Is Hyman Now Expendable?

Zach Hyman broke into the Toronto Maple Leafs scene in the 2015-2016 season and had limited time to showcase anything much.

He has had a steady progression over the last few seasons establishing himself as a workhorse who posted a career high 21 goals and 41 points in 71 games last season.

Some people may say that he gets overpaid at 2.25 mil a season, and that he is an overglorified 4th liner player on the 1st and 2nd lines.

But, there is a reason why Coach Mike Babcock said “Hyman’s Good, Eh?”

The Tavares, Marner line which features Kapanen at the moment has not been looking sharp. They are producing a high number of shots but, they are not in high danger areas.

That being said, I think Kapanen belongs on the 3rd line RW spot.

Once Hyman returns, I think the question becomes, move Mikheyev to the 2nd line LW spot or put Hyman there?

I would like to say that Mikheyev has a great attitude and comes in to play hard every night, and he likes soup so there’s that too.

He has put up five points in six games and no one really knows if he can maintain his 65-70 pt pace or if it’s because defences haven’t found him out yet.

I truly believe that he is the real deal, which can be seen from his agressiveness, deceiving speed, and puck handling skills.

Although I would really like to see him on the 2nd line and do think thae he would fit in well, I know that Mike Babcock loves Hyman and that he will reacquire his position on that line with Tavares and Marner.

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But, if the struggles still continue on that line there is no doubt in my mind that Mikheyev will find himself lining up with Marner and Tavares. If so, then GM Kyle Dubas has the decision on whther he wants to keep Hyamn or use him in a package to acquire more defensive help.

 

 

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