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Maple Leafs’ Options In Wake Of Bad Mikheyev News?

What should the Toronto Maple Leafs do now that Ilya Mikheyev’s injury has been reported as a long-term one? Is there a plan to replace his production?

The Toronto Maple Leafs learned that the news on forward Ilya Mikheyev’s injury is not good. Mikheyev suffered a nasty cut on Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils when the skate of Jesper Bratt sliced his right wrist. After skating off on his own but leaving a trail of blood behind, Mikheyev was immediately rushed to the hospital where he underwent treatment.

Word has come down this morning from agent Dan Milstein that Mikheyev not only suffered damage to the artery in his wrist, but also the tendons. The result is that he could be out the rest of the season, possibly longer. The Maple Leafs organization later confirmed “the 25-year-old is expected to make a full recovery but a more accurate timeline for his return will be provided in three months.” 

So Now What for the Maple Leafs?

An organization that was already looking to fill holes will have to find a way to fill another one.

Mikheyev was considered found gold when he signed with the team at a bargain price of just $925K and wound up on pace for about 50 points before his injury. Getting that kind of production at that low a cost will be close to impossible for the Maple Leafs. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what they need.

Considering the team was already looking for a backup goalie, and there were rumors of uncertainly on the blue line, needing a forward was not on their to-do list. Now that it might be only complicates things for GM Kyle Dubas.

Could Another Ilya Be an Option?

One other Russian forward who might fit the bill is Ilya Kovalchuk. It sounds a bit out there but Sport-Express’ Igor Eronko notes (Twitter link) that the deadline for him to sign in the KHL has now come and gone. His choices are pretty much NHL or bust.

Kovalchuk is willing to sign with an NHL team for league minimum and has the potential to score in bunches, specifically on the power play and as a sniper with some strong centers. The Maple Leafs offer a number of options for someone like him.

Next: Rangers to Hold Sell-Off Prior to NHL Trade Deadline?

One Other Option For Dubas

A number of fans have been calling for Kyle Dubas to make sure he has a few conversations with Mikheyev about his interest in sticking around long-term with the Maple Leafs. It’s a nice gesture considering the awful news.

That won’t help the Maple Leafs this season, but it might not be a bad idea.

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