Maple Leafs extend qualifying offers to RFAs Mikheyev, Dermott

Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Ilya Mikheyev (65) manoeuvres past Detroit Red Wings defenceman Mike Green (25) during third period NHL pre-season hockey action in Toronto, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. (Christopher Katsarov/CP)

The Toronto Maple Leafs have extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents Ilya Mikheyev and Travis Dermott, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported Wednesday morning.

A rookie in 2019-20, Mikheyev made an instant impact with Toronto — and quickly became a fan favourite, too. The 25-year-old forward registered eight goals and 23 points in 39 games before suffering a serious laceration to his wrist in late December that sent him to the hospital and required significant recovery time. He was able to re-join the team upon the NHL’s return-to-play, but did not register on the score sheet. As Johnston noted, negotiations between Leafs brass and Mikheyev’s camp will continue following the draft.

Dermott, 23, followed up his breakout 2018-19 campaign with another strong season in 2019-20, becoming a mainstay on a Leafs blue line that suffered injuries down the stretch. That blue line will see plenty of change this off-season, with two unrestricted free agents in Cody Ceci and Tyson Barrie likely departing and some young faces in Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren looking to crack the roster.

Both Mikheyev and Dermott are coming off expiring entry-level deals — Mikheyev’s a one-year pact upon coming over from Russia in May 2019 as an undrafted free agent out of the KHL and Dermott’s a standard three-year deal which saw entry-level slides in the first two for the 2015 second-round draft pick.

The Maple Leafs did not extend qualifying offers to forwards Jeremy Bracco, Evan Rodrigues, Frederik Gauthier and Max Veronneau, meaning all four will become unrestricted free agents on Friday at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT.

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