Canucks winger Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Mikheyev described the injury as an "almost complete" tear.

Canucks winger Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks have shut down Ilya Mikheyev for the season, months after the right-winger suffered a serious knee injury. 

General manager Patrik Allvin announced Friday that the 28-year-old forward will undergo surgery next week for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He said Mikheyev suffered the injury in the team's first pre-season game back on Sept. 25.

“Credit to Ilya," Allvin said. "(He's) been playing on basically one knee and our medical staff (have been) preparing him for all the games up to this point. I think that shows a lot about Ilya's character and will to play for the Vancouver Canucks here."

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week, missed the team's first three games of the regular season, then went on to make 45 appearances, amassing 13 goals and 15 assists. 

He scored in his final appearance of the campaign Friday, a 5-2 Canucks victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The goal marked his 100th NHL point (49 goals, 51 assists). 

Tears rimmed Mikheyev's eyes as he spoke with reporters Friday night. 

“Tough moment," he said. 

Mikheyev described the injury as an "almost complete" tear. Medical staff have been taping the knee and he's been playing with a brace, but the athlete admitted his speed has suffered this season. 

“It's not about pain. It's more about like power," he said. 

Mikheyev has been a big part of the Canucks lineup this season, said Elias Pettersson, who has often centred a line featuring Mikheyev and left-winger Andrei Kuzmenko.

"It sucks," Pettersson said. "He works hard and obviously, ever since he came here, has been great for us. So it's very unfortunate, but I mean, you’ve got to think of the future, too, and be ready.”

A native of Omsk, Russia, Mikheyev signed a four-year, US$19-million contract with Vancouver as a free agent last summer. He previously played three seasons for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Allvin said the six-foot-two, 192-pound forward wanted to continue playing despite the injury.

"Our medical staff did a tremendous job here preparing him and we felt that at this point, this will be in the timeline to start to train again," the GM said. 

“It needed a surgery. You're basically playing on one knee here and it speaks highly about his pain tolerance and what he's willing to do."

Allvin added that he expects Mikheyev to be ready for training camp next fall.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2023. 

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press