Vancouver Canucks need more from Ilya Mikheyev

Vancouver Canucks v Columbus Blue Jackets
Vancouver Canucks v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

For the Vancouver Canucks, consistent depth scoring remains an issue through the All-Star break. Despite Pius Suter's heroics against the St. Louis Blues, the Canucks still need more contributions, more consistently, from almost every other forward that isn't on the Lotto Line.

Ilya Mikheyev, who was once on the first line with Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko, is one of those forwards.

It's been 16 games since Mikheyev last scored a goal for the Canucks; he last scored in a Dec. 17 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. And while goals aren't the be-all and end-all, Mikheyev hasn't produced many assists either. The 29-year-old has posted just three assists in the month of January.

Indeed, Mikheyev does have two more points than Kuzmenko in two more games played, and expectations for Kuzmenko were undoubtedly much higher. The Canucks have established this months ago, and the ice time distribution amongst the forwards reflects that.

The point is more that Kuzmenko is not the only player the Canucks need more from. As frequent linemates, neither he nor Mikheyev are making things any easier on each other.

Looking further down the lineup, players like Nils Hoglander, Dakota Joshua, Conor Garland, and Sam Lafferty have all done equal or more with less ice time. Hoglander, in particular, stands out with his 14 goals - fourth-most on the team - despite barely averaging 11 minutes of ice time. All 14 of those goals have come at even strength.

While it would be clearly unrealistic to expect Mikheyev to shoot at a 22% clip for the Canucks like Hoglander has, it shows it can be done. It was the same deal with Kuzmenko last season, and obviously, that has not carried over into 2023-24.


Mikheyev is currently shooting 11%, which is 3% lower than his final rate from his previous two seasons. It's a long shot, but the Canucks would love to see the Russian hit 20 goals and 50 points this season. It will take a big jump in performance for that to happen.