Ilya Mikheyev has found himself a home in the NHL, as the Russian winger has cemented his name on Mike Babcock’s lineup card for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The head coach of the Leafs was one of the biggest reasons why Mikheyev decided to make the transition to the NHL, and an easy transition it has been. “Soup” as his teammates call him has found himself on the top penalty-killing unit, and on Alexander Kerfoot’s left-wing on the third line. Mikheyev plays a high tempo game and is the perfect compliment of speed, skill, and work ethic.
Perfect example, in 3,2,1…
Ilya Mikheyev! Great speed to chase down the loose puck and beat Howard. 2-1. pic.twitter.com/O0c170kAS4
— Flintor (@TheFlintor) October 13, 2019
Its plays like these where ‘Soup’ shows off his blazing speed and surprises everyone across the NHL. Even though Mikheyev is a rookie, he spent 5 seasons in the KHL and came to the North America as a seasoned 25-year-old professional.
Let’s check the pulse of Leafs Nation to see how they’re feeling about the new guy:
I’d like to travel back in time to 1994 just to see the reaction from Leafs fans when I tell them that in 25 years, their two most physical forwards will be named Ilya Mikheyev and Dmytro Timashov.
— Nick 👻 (@_nickrichard) October 13, 2019
The Souperman 65 Ilya Mikheyev is on pace for 82 point season with another stellar performance for the Toronto Maple Leafs with 2 points and +3 BUT still no soup deal for North America? #MakeSoupPopularInCanada! #ShowMeTheMoney! #tmltalk #WeAreGoldStar pic.twitter.com/S0eRKKcSAK
— Dan Milstein-Hockey (@HockeyAgent1) October 13, 2019
Ilya Mikheyev: We can better. pic.twitter.com/dn7LtnAPRz
— Chris Adamo (@adamotweets) October 13, 2019
— David Tait 🇨🇦 (@taiterstan) October 13, 2019
Aiding the @MapleLeafs with his 1G-1A outing in a 5-2 win vs DET on Saturday, 1st year NHL'er Ilya Mikheyev is off to a fine career start as his point total is only bested by 6 rookies on a list dating back 3/4 of a century worth of seasons pic.twitter.com/FiGYuRahC6
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) October 13, 2019
A historic pace to start his career, Ilya Mikheyev is fitting in perfectly for the Maple Leafs. Next time you chirp Kyle Dubas about the handling of contracts or any transaction for that matter, remind yourself the Maple Leafs signed this player for basically nothing. And found him in the KHL after he went through several NHL drafts undrafted.
Leafs Nation has their new favourite player. An undrafted Russian, who wears #65, kills penalties, works hard, competes, and eats way too much Soup.
Just like everyone predicted this year.