Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports

Canucks Sign RFA Sven Baertschi to a Three-Year Contract

During Canucks general manager Jim Benning’s media availability to discuss the team’s free agent moves, he eluded to an incoming restricted free agent deal to accompany this morning’s transactions. It would seem that the player in question was restricted free agent winger Sven Baertschi.

The Canucks and Baertschi agreed to a three-year pact for $10.1-million, with an annual average value of $3.367-million dictating his cap hit. Baertschi was a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, coming off of a two-year pact valued at $1.8-million. This contract nearly doubles his previous figure in cash and adds an additional year of security in term.

At first glance, the deal seems like a win-win for both sides. Benning was able to lock Baertschi in at almost the exact dollar figure that Hockey-Graphs Editor Matt Cane’s highly-predictive model suggested he was in line for on a three-year deal, which includes one year of unrestricted free agency.

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In an injury-shortened last season, Baertschi fared relatively well on the scoresheet. The Suisse winger finished his campaign early with 29 points (14 goals and 15 assists) in 53 games, good for a full season rate of 45 points, the best mark of his young career.

As I noted in a mid-season article for The Athletic Vancouver, though, the percentages at play suggested that these totals were a touch inflated due to on-ice variance beyond Baertschi’s control. Only further complicating matters was the fact that his team was routinely hemmed into the defensive zone according to the underlying metrics I rely on most frequently for my analysis.

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Based on the information available to me, a trade seemed the most prudent course for the Canucks. Some of what informed that opinion was concerns about Benning overpaying based on numbers that don’t hold up under further scrutiny. A deal like the one that the two agreed to today is a perfectly fine compromise for the Canucks and Baertschi alike, it seems.

  • Dirty30

    So the plodders whose best asset is their ability to … un … plod get $3 mil a year for four years, and a guy who can score in a team lacking scoring gets a little more for one year less.

    So scoring is worth less than plodding.

    Right. Understand the strategic plan now.

  • Canuck70

    Like Baertschi. He is talented and can score. Good signing. Why Rousell, Beagle, and Schaller when they aren’t productive? I know size and grit are important but scoring wins hockey games. The Vegas model was speed and scoring spread across four lines with an active defense. It works and boy is it great to watch! Canucks look like they are going old school thinking here. Two scoring lines and facey punchy on the others. I know Washington just won the cup with what looks like an old school team, but don’t forget that they had two superstar forwards and one of the highest scoring defenseman playing for them. I like the Vegas model better and I think they just might win a cup with their philosophy. The run and gun team that Crawford coached here was so entertaining. Too bad they fid not have elite goaltending. I would have preferred that Benning build a fast four line team that can all score but it looks like he has a different plan.

  • surreal78

    Good deal for both sides. Was 50/50 on a trade for Baer, but happy to have him back. A trade may still happen down the road with a palatable contract like this.

    JD – on the Hockey-Graphs / Matt Cane reference… from all of the posts on CA I’ve seen quoting the predictive contract values on that site, some light googling on my part didn’t find those references posted anywhere public. Maybe I’m missing it, but is it a paid service? It really seems tailored to estimating contractual values when renewing/extending your own players, not signing in free agency.

    Either way – have appreciated the overall change in tone/attitude of the the last few weeks of posts here. Nice work.

  • Killer Marmot

    The right move at roughly the right price. Although many want Baertschi traded, sound young(ish) two-way players with good shots don’t grow on trees.

  • Jim M

    Glad to see this. Baer is a good complementary piece and we need top 6 players for a couple more years while Dahlen, Lind, etc, develop.

    And not to be a grammar Nazi but Benning “alluded”, not “eluded.”

  • ColdOne

    Not an unreasonable signing. But this, along with the three UFA signings, probably means the end of the road for Goldobin (who I always felt had a little more upside than Baertschi) and Leipsic (who I wanted to see given a shot on an all-hustle third line with Jake and Gaudette).