June 30 2016 11:00AM
The Vancouver Canucks enter free agency with close to $11-million in salary cap space to burn and Jim Benning is ready to break the bank for the right top six winger. As eager as Benning may be, though, there are no guarantees in free agency and playoff push or not there's always the distinct possibility that they strike out on their primary targets, a list which includes Milan Lucic, Loui Eriksson, Andrew Ladd, Troy Brouwer and Mikkel Boedker.
While it may seem counterintuitive to suggest as much, but missing out on these players could work out in the Canucks favour because of the alternative avenues of roster development it would force them to unearth from the bargain bin. As frenzied as free agency promises to be when the festivities kick off Friday, a suddenly slow growing salary cap, Las Vegas expansion team and a limited number of teams with significant cap space could conspire against a number of free agents looking to cash in on new contracts.
June 22 2016 01:00PM
The Vancouver Canucks enter the heart of the off-season with little room for error, as they continue towards their goal of remaining competitive while all the while building towards the future. They've already invested significant assets and cap space on players expected to help them get back into the playoffs. There's also no disputing that the Canucks are trying to find the future stars in the draft. Through both avenues of talent mining, they emphasize intangibles, like character, toughness and leadership -- virtuous and undoubtedly important attributes.
What remains in dispute, though, is the value surrendered, be it in terms of salary cap space or assets surrendered, for players who don't meet the investment in goals. Canucks GM Jim Benning and President Trevor Linden have invested heavily in players like Erik Gudbranson and Brandon Sutter, parting with draft picks and players on favourable contracts, like Nick Bonino and Jared McCann, placing unnecessary constraints on their ability to stockpile at the draft and spend in free agency.
The Canucks are now in a position where they will look to spend most of the team's cap space on a goal scoring free agent forward and search for fewer needles in the drafts haystack with fewer picks to spend. It's all a work in progress, but we can explore the price paid at Rogers Arena in the interim.