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

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LAS VEGAS — The Chicago Blackhawks acquired the trading rights to 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 fourth-round pick in 2027, the team belatedly announced. Wednesday evening.

This is a pure salary cut for the Canucks, who were desperate to create cap space ahead of the NHL Draft and free agency. Canucks keep 15% of Mikheyev’s $4.75 million cap hit; He has two years left on his contract.

Mikheyev also has a 12-team non-tradeable roster that will be transferred to the Blackhawks. The framework between Chicago and Vancouver had been settled hours earlier, but the deal depended on whether Mikheyev approved it, which he ultimately did.

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

Mikheyev was on track to score 50 points – which would have shattered his previous career high of 32 – and was considered one of the fastest skaters in the NHL. He can reach a higher ceiling if he returns to his previous skating form and works his way to a line with Connor Bedard.

A familiar face also returns to Chicago in Lafferty, who recorded 24 points (13 goals, 11 assists) in 79 games with Vancouver. His 13 goals were a career high, three of which were game-winning goals.

Lafferty spent two seasons with the Blackhawks from 2021-23, racking up 15 goals and 17 assists for 32 points in 97 games during that stretch. He played a key role on the team’s penalty kill and averaged a career-high 15:06 of action last season before ultimately being dealt to Toronto along with Jake McCabe in a trade that included a first-round pick from Chicago.

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

Overall, Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson got back the second-round pick — albeit in 2027 — that he sent to the New York Islanders to move up from 20th to 18th overall and four spots in the second round of the 2024 NHL Draft.

More importantly, Davidson also added two middle and bottom-six forwards, Mikheyev and Lafferty, to bolster their attacking group led by Bédard, the 18-year-old franchise cornerstone, who was and remains a top priority this offseason.

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