Blackhawks bolster forward group, acquire Ilya Mikheyev, rights to Vancouver draft pick Sam Lafferty – NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide insurance agent Jeff Vukovich

LAS VEGAS – The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired the negotiating rights of forward Ilya Mikheyev and forward Sam Lafferty, along with a 2027 second-round pick as a sweetener, from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a 2027 fourth-round pick, the team announced late Wednesday night.

It’s a pure salary dump for the Canucks, who were desperate to create cap space before the NHL Draft and Free Agency. The Canucks retain 15% of Mikheyev’s $4.75 million cap hit; There are two years left on his contract.

Mikheyev also has a 12-team no-trade list that will be transferred to the Blackhawks. The framework between Chicago and Vancouver had been ironed out hours earlier, but the deal was dependent on whether or not Mikheyev would approve it, which he ultimately did.

Mikheyev, 29, produced 11 goals and 20 assists for 31 points in 78 games for Vancouver last season. The year before, he had 13 goals and 28 points in 46 games before undergoing season-ending ACL surgery.

Mikheyev was on pace for 50 points – which would have broken his previous career-high of 32 – and was considered one of the fastest skaters in the NHL. There is a higher ceiling he can reach if he finds his previous skating form and plays his way to a line with Connor Bedard.

Also returning to Chicago in Lafferty is a familiar face, having scored 24 points (13 goals, 11 assists) in 79 games with Vancouver. His 13 goals were a career high, three of which were game-winners.

Lafferty spent two seasons with the Blackhawks from 2021 to 2023, scoring 15 goals and 17 assists for 32 points in 97 games during that span. He was a key part of the team’s penalty kill and averaged a career-high 15:06 of ice time last season before ultimately being dealt to Toronto along with Jake McCabe in a trade package that included a first-round pick to Chicago.

Lafferty is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but it would be surprising if the player and team didn’t agree to an extension before then. It seems like both sides want to make it work.

Overall, Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson earned back the second-round pick — albeit in 2027 — which he sent to the New York Islanders to move up from No. 20 to No. 18 overall and four spots in the second round of the 2024 NHL Draft.

More importantly, Davidson has also added a pair of middle/bottom six forwards in Mikheyev and Lafferty to strengthen their group up front, led by 18-year-old franchise cornerstone Bedard, which was and remains a top priority this offseason.

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