The Canucks appear to have taken a step towards addressing their logjam on left defence, choosing not to tender an $840,000 qualifying offer to 24-year-old Derrick Pouliot.
The #Canucks did NOT qualify the contract of D Derrick Pouliot who is now a UFA. The 2 sides do continue to talk about a 1 year deal but Pouliot is free to sign anywhere.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) June 25, 2018
An extension is still a possibility, with Sportsnet’s Rick Dhaliwal noting that both parties have interest in getting a deal done nevertheless. By the looks of it, Pouliot will likely have to take a pay cut from the $800,000 he earned last year to stay with the Canucks organization.
As per Article 10.2 (ii) – the QO for Pouliot would've been 105% of current deal – so $840,000. (deal was $800,000)
By not qualifying, it avoids the arbitration rights that he has.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) June 25, 2018
One can assume that the selection of fellow undersized offensive defenceman Quinn Hughes impacted the decision not to retain Pouliot’s rights. Should Hughes crack the NHL roster for the upcoming season, it’s unfathomable to imagine both Pouliot and Troy Stecher also coexisting on the blueline. Stecher holds an advantage with his right-shot handedness and two-way defensive acumen, so it’s no surprise to see Pouliot on the chopping block instead.
If not this year, it’s realistic to expect the likes of Olli Juolevi and the aforementioned Hughes to surpass Pouliot on the left-handed defence depth chart — a group that already includes Alex Edler, Michael Del Zotto and Ben Hutton.
Pouliot was acquired from the Penguins last fall for Andrey Pedan and a 2018 4th round pick.