Photo Credit: Darrel Dyck, The Canadian Press

What would an Eriksson buyout look like?

Everyone’s favourite topic of discussion that rarely happens, buyouts are just one way for a general manager of an NHL team to admit that they made a mistake and need a way to get rid of it.

With some general managers learning their lesson and not signing any older players to a significant contract with term, there are still some contracts lying around from yesteryear. A symbol of the time when GMs did not really care for the future cap situation of the team, and thought that 30 was the prime athletic age.

In the 2016 offseason, a summer full of bad contracts given out like a concert promoter giving away flyers to a horrible show, these contracts might be thrown out before they’re expired.

Milan Lucic and Andrew Ladd are some examples of the reckoning, but no contract effects the Vancouver Canucks’ future plans like none other than Loui Eriksson.

What was deemed a failure from the beginning, the ex-Boston Bruin winger signed to a six-year $36-million ($6-million AAV) contract. He was coming off a 30-goal, 63-point season with the Bruins, but turning 31-years-old just a few weeks after the contract signing, his game was not heading in the right direction for that amount of cap.

Since then, Ericsson has never had more than 11 goals or 29 points in a single season with the Canucks, and has never contributed more than below-average play when it comes to on-ice shot attempt and expected goal metrics.

Now they are stuck with an aging player for three more years that is deemed useless by the coaching staff and have only one clear option heading into what hopes to be a forward-looking 2019-20 season — buyout.

via capfriendly.com

With three more years left on his current contract, the buyout would span over six years and would include a total savings of $1,666,667. Meaning that the Canucks would be left with a $5,555,556-size hole in the cap situation with Eriksson gone for the first two years, then it gets slightly better.

Moving into just a $3,555,556 cap hit in what would be the last year of his deal, slightly over half of the actual cap hit that Ericsson carries. But because of the buyout, for three more years after the original contract would be finished, there would be a $555,556 hit on the cap.

Essentially, the only real savings that the Canucks would see from an Eriksson buyout would be in the 2021-22 season — saving close to $2.5-million on the cap. That would be very good timing for the Canucks, since that year would be the first year of a potential Elias Pettersson post-ELC contract.

The unfortunate part would be that for the next two seasons, the Canucks would be essentially paying the same amount of cap dollars for Eriksson, with or without him in the lineup.

That hole on the wing would need to be replaced by another player, so even if that player made $700,000 the cost of not having Eriksson would be greater than just sticking to his original contract.

If the Canucks waited a year, and did this process in the summer of 2020, the savings would look similar.

via capfriendly.com

Still with that massive carry-over into the 2020-21 season, the buyout cap hit would only be $333,333 less than Eriksson’s cap hit without the buyout.

It shortens the length of effect, finishing in 2024 instead of 2025, but that is really the only positive to gain from delaying the buyout by a full year.

What would really make sense is to wait until that crucial 2021 offseason to pull the trigger and set a 36-year-old Loui Eriksson free.

via capfriendly.com

In this hypothetical scenario, the cap hit would be $4-million for what would have been the final year of his deal, while carrying over for just one more single season a cap hit of $1-million.

The true value in a potential buyout like this would be the opportunity Eriksson’s absence could give to one of the younger forwards. His ice-time — albeit limited — could be given to someone that would have more of a future with this team and could further build the future core of this team.

If the Canucks value their young assets, seeing their potential development in the NHL could be slightly better than seeing an aging one slowly deteriorate into a shadow of what he once was.

The future of Loui Eriksson in Vancouver is not a pleasant one, the management must be proactive in handling his contract and what his roster spot or cap dollars could go towards.

      • Erik Lonnrot

        The marginal saving of having him in Utica ($900k per year I think) for the rest of his contract would be $3.6 million no? That seems like a smaller cap hit than buying him out and comes with the added benefit of being able to play him when he’s the best option available, either because prospects aren’t ready yet or when injuries strike.

        • Goon

          Eriksson has underperformed his contract, but he’s still *way* better than most 3rd/4th line forwards. Paying him almost his entire salary to not play with the team makes no sense at all.

    • CanucktillIdrop

      If it is Cap space we need; considering he looks heartless most nights, it probably would not require much convincing to place him on long term IR. Toronto has used this method effectively in the past to create cap space.

  • Dirty30

    What would this look like with retained salary? Is it a simple 50-50 split with this contract or something as convoluted as the buyout numbers?

    If it’s as simple as retaining dollar for dollar then trading LE to any team that he’s willing to go to (and is willing to take him) would be a viable option. If he’s happy sitting in the press box then let him sit until his contract expires or he agrees to a trade. If he at least agrees at the beginning he will likely have more say than waiting until his career is nearly finished and he gets sent somewhere he really doesn’t want to go.

  • canuckfan

    What he is being paid should not be of any concern right now, was his contract a mistake yes no one would argue that point. The trouble with signing free agents is you are going into an auction looking to fill your needs for the day but have to give more term and money. Let him stay here Eriksson is good on the penalty kill and can play up and down the lineup may as well utilize him and have him as a reminder of stay away from the bidding wars that free agency are and build the team through the draft and trades.

    • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

      Eriksson has shown on countless occasions that he CANNOT play up and down the lineup. He is a black hole magnet akin to Brandon Sutter offensively.

      • wjohn1925

        Clearly I’m in the minority, but I fail to see the problematic issue here, at least at this point. Put the 6 million aside. Eriksson is a decent player, unspectacular, but responsible and intelligent. Where is the fire? We do not need the cap space this coming year. We do not have prospects that are ready to earn his spot on the team. We simply do not need to move him. He’s a decent, if unspectacular contributor to the team. The only thing that makes him stand out from the other bottom 6 or 7 is his contract. When we become a cap team, then we should make changes. To be honest, I’m completely ambivalent about what happens to Eriksson, but I think people are way too preoccupied with this guy, and to no end.

      • Bud Poile

        Drama Queen from the dumpster.
        In actuality,LE’s points production decline is tied to his ice time and deployment.
        Like Virtanen ,Green has not always put his players in positions of their greatest strengths.

  • wojohowitz

    Maybe it`s a competition like teams calling Holland about Lucic and Benning about Eriksson. If an old pro like Holland cannot figure out a favourable deal then we can`t expect better from Benning.

  • TheRealPB

    The Eriksson signing is probably the worst of Benning’s tenure given the term and the AAV (though the Gudbranson, Sbisa and Sutter re-signings after trade all are up there), but arguably it was a better bet than any of those other ones (or the lower-tier signings that didn’t work out like Schaller, MDZ, Gagner, etc). Eriksson was coming off a very good season, had shown excellent results at multiple International tournaments with the Sedins and didn’t have the kind of game that looked like it would fall off a cliff (i.e. he wasn’t a power forward or a player who really relied on a lot of speed). But he’s been useless here not only in a top 6 role but also in a bottom 6 aside from the PK. I don’t think he’s lost the trust of the coaching staff (who after all did only bench him for one game), but he’s an expensive guy to have on the fourth line. I still wonder if he might not be a worthwhile pickup for teams with internal caps for real dollars since his actual salary is $1 million this year. To actually have to pay him $9 million over 3 years after the signing bonus is paid out but have it count as $18 million towards the cap could be very attractive to a team like the Senators who have very few good RFAs to resign (unlike the Avalanche) and are stingy. They also have a plethora of picks — to me this is a way better way of weaponizing the cap than trying to pick up other team’s bad signings and block our own prospects.

    • liqueur des fenetres

      The question that still needs to be answered is why would he agree to go to one of these internal cap teams like Ottawa or to a place like Edmonton? From his recent Swedish interview it doesn’t sound like he is shouldering much responsibility for his current situation. A buyout would suit him better as that erases his cap hit and allows him to sign with any team that he wants.

      • TheRealPB

        This is a very good point. There’s not much incentive for him to go to a crap team like the Senators who will be bad for years. He’s likely got some investment in the Canucks and their younger players. Perhaps a place like Florida or Arizona both of whom have at least some good young players would be appealing? What are the internal cap teams besides Florida, Arizona and Ottawa?

          • TheRealPB

            On the basis of what? They’ve got three very good young players (Chabot, White, Tkachuk) but I’d take Pettersson, Boeser and Hughes over them any day.

        • liqueur des fenetres

          He had his agent build an unmovable contract for a reason, he wants to be in control — and he didn’t choose Vancouver because it gave him a good chance to compete for a Cup. There’s no reason for him to be moving now or getting bought out as it doesn’t sound like the relationship with TG is that broken. If he wants to leave that’s another issue, but even there his contract is a barrier Luongo-style, and even then I don’t see him just jumping ship, but rather choosing his specific destination.

  • Killer Marmot

    I agree with Williams. A buy-out right now gets you very little.

    What I would do is trade him before his final year to a club with plenty of cap space. This would open up cap space with the Canucks, which will be useful when re-negotiating Pettersson’s and Hughes’ contracts. Eriksson’s actual salary in his final year will be $4 million, which should make such a trade more palatable, although some salary retention may be necessary.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Yeah, but does anyone want Loui? For what he does teams can trade for and/or sign someone younger and cheaper. Loui doesn’t hurt them but like everyone else have always had an issue with what he is being paid. He’s not a bum but he ain’t worth the money and all the GMs know it. Get use to the idea he’ll still be a Vancouver Canuck.

    • Beer Can Boyd

      Exactly, and this topic is really getting boring. He’s going nowhere for 2 years, no other team wants him for any reason, cap or otherwise. He’s on the 4th line until then. Get used to it, and can we please move on from talking endlessly about this?

      • Cageyvet

        Yes, it’s been beaten to death already, and the buyout is not good for another 2 years. The only option other than playing him is a retained salary trade. You still eat money, but no worse than what he chews up on the roster, and you try and get something back in return. Wishful thinking, maybe, but probably the best-case scenario short of a miraculous resuscitation of his career.

  • Kneedroptalbot

    Loui Eriksson, is a decent skater and can kill penalities too. A buyout doesn’t make sense. He is also very good in the room with young players. Lucic in Edmonton, he can’t skate at the NHL level any more, and doesn’t help out any young players at all.

  • bushdog

    waive him, then send him to utica. he can sit in the press box and watch guys try to get to the bigs. if there’s any yapping, suspend him. we’re stuck with him, so make the best of it

  • Kootenaydude

    Buying him out would be dumb and wouldn’t really benefit the Canucks. Ask him to waive his NTC. Pay his signing bonus in July. Now he costs $3 million for 3 seasons. He also has a cap hit of $6 million. A team trying to hit the cap minimum might go for Eriksson then.

  • speering major

    I wonder if there’s a deal to be made with the Sens. Gaborik has 2 years left on his contract. If the Canucks retain a bit of salary then the $ figure of the contracts is equal. The Sens get a roster player that does all “the little things” and might get a bump from a change of scenery with no additional cost to their bottom line. The Canucks get out of an aging cap trap player a season earlier. Seems like it could benefit both teams

  • North Van Halen

    I’m confused by many comments.

    If I’m not mistaken, Louie has a total of $4mil cash owed after his bonus is paid next July 1. In other words his cap hit will be $6mil while he will be only owed $2mil/yr and after the next bonus he is owed only $1mil for his last season. This is when he’ll be attractive to cap floor teams and when a trade that won’t cost us massive assets can occur.

    Also, doesn’t Louie’s limited NTC kick in this summer – he can name 15 teams he won’t allow a trade with. So he can’t block many of the possible moves. Finally, if the Canucks want him gone, benchings & a demotion to Utica will likely further expand his list.
    As long as Ericksson remains useful, moving him in the last 2 seasons won’t be near as hard as it’s being made to seem here.

    • Killer Marmot

      “he is owed only $1mil for his last season”

      According to Cap Friendly, Eriksson’s bonus in his final year will be $1 million and his base salary will be $3 million. This means that if he’s traded after July 1, 2021, the Canucks pay him $1 million on July 1 and the receiving team pays him $3 million over the course of the season.

      • North Van Halen

        Okay I got it backwards (old man memory) but that doesn’t change that his $4mil in the last 2 years with the $6mil cap hit and the fact his deal is far from a NMC make him very movable next summer.

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    The Leafs got creative only a couple yrs back when they refused to medically clear a player on their roster whom they felt was essentially useless and costing them due to his cap hit. I don’t recall his name, but he stayed home in Europe and went on twitter showing himself skiing with his family while insisting he was fully healthy. The Leafs faced criticism, but never were reprimanded by the league.

    This example just shows that no matter how bulletproof a contract may seem, you can always find ways of voiding it, whether it be for medical reasons, conditioning, or violating terms of the contract (see Mike Richards, Slava Yoynov).

    All it takes is having a GM with some balls and outside the box thinking ability to get it done. Unfortunately, balls and creative thinking and two qualities our current GM simply does not possess.

    • North Van Halen

      I believe that was Joffery Lupul but he had a legitimate ailment that the Leafs may have embellished a bit.
      Ericksson so far has no such pre-existing condition nor do the Canucks have a pressing need to do anything about it for at least a season or 2.

          • Bud Poile

            Sure,Beer Can. Let’s all applaud Green for sticking a 30 goal scorer on the fourth line and expecting him to produce offensively.Green has the attention span of a gnat when it comes to keeping lines together and facilitating chemistry between the players.

          • Goon

            Calling a guy who hasn’t scored 30 goals in four seasons a “30 goal scorer” is a bit rich.

            He got plenty of ice time in his first two years with Vancouver and he did nothing with it. And I seem to recall you recently defending Eriksson’s $6 million contract because he was so defensively sound on the fourth line.

    • Killer Marmot

      So treating a player honestly shows a lack of “out the box thinking” does it? A lack of balls and creative thinking?

      There are ramifications to dishonesty, most of all the loss of trust in management from the rest of the roster. Players understand it’s a tough game on and off the ice, but they do expect honest dealing from management.

  • Fred-65

    I don’t believe there is even a whiff of interest for Ericksson from any team. I’m also sorry to say I don’t think you’ll get any assistance from LE or his agent. If he’s so bent out of shape about Green ( who in my mind bent over backward to placate this once quality player ) then so be it. ut him om waiver, I understand we pay the same and suffer the Cap, but we basically do anyway but let’s get a prospect who is going to improve from his time up and wanting to play ( MacEwen for instance) I think it would remind some what Pro hockey is about

  • wojohowitz

    There`s no mentoring with veterans like Eriksson and Lucic. They are a demoralizing presence taking up cap space, locker room space and roster spots that could go to a younger player trying to prove themselves. They are a terrible example for young players because everybody knows that all they want is to get paid while winning is secondary. They don`t mind playing as long as they don`t get bruised and they don`t have to break a sweat. The team must pay their salary but can also tell them to stay home unless emergency injuries opens up a roster spot.

      • wojohowitz

        When I say demoralizing it means having Eriksson on the roster sends a bad message to young players. Dressing 17 skaters (and two goalies) is better than a guy like Eriksson doing nothing. As for replacements; maybe Kero or Gaunce for 10 games each or Lind or Jasek for 5 games each. I say something similar about injuries; Having Edler and Tanev miss 30 games each means young players get a taste like Sautner, Brisebois, Chatfield and McEney re: injuries are opportunities.

    • tyhee

      It’s really troubling that the reference given as authority for that statement got by the CA editors (assuming they have editors) and actually got published despite the article not in any way supporting the statement it was supposedly authority for.

      The statement was that Eriksson was deemed useless by the coaching staff. The authority given was a link to an article by Daniel Wagner which was published in the Vancouver Courier’s Pass it to Bulis section.

      The Wagner article says nothing about Eriksson being deemed useless by the coaching staff. There is nothing resembling that statement in it. To say there is would simply be fiction.

      Further, an examination of what the article says about the view of the coaching staff regarding Eriksson gives a very different conclusion. Eriksson was quoted about not fully getting on with the coach and not having found a role, but the article pretty much debunks the player’s statement.

      Among other things, from the Wagner article:

      “Publically, Travis Green has always been supportive of Loui Eriksson. He has repeatedly defended Eriksson, pointing out the subtle details in his game that make him an effective player …”

      That doesn’t sound like Green considers Eriksson useless.

      ” …Green has shown Eriksson a lot of trust, just not in the offensive situations he may have played in with previous teams. After a stint on Elias Pettersson’s wing to start the season, Eriksson was moved to a checking role. He played much of the season with either Jay Beagle or Bo Horvat and lined up against the opposition’s top lines on a regular basis. …. Here’s the thing: Eriksson still got a lot of ice time and offensive opportunities last season. His most common linemate was Horvat, who was second on the Canucks in scoring despite some heavy defensive usage. He started the season with Pettersson, the Canucks’ leading scorer. He got regular ice time on the Canucks’ second power play unit.”

      Again, it sounds like Green gave Eriksson a role, though the role changed during the season. He had a regular role and job to do and got regular ice time. How on earth does that suggest the coaching staff deemed him useless?

      Finally, in the last paragraph concluding the piece, is “The truth is, despite Eriksson’s complaints about his role, it’s one in which he is effective. He can be a good checking-line winger and penalty killer, even if his contract would make him the most expensive fourth-line forward in the league, tied with Milan Lucic. …”

      Ok, according to the Wagner article, the coach has spoken positively about Eriksson and the little things he does, given him regular ice time and a regular role, which the player has been effective in (though it in no way makes him worth his paycheque.) That’s essentially the opposite of the statement the article was quoted as authority for.

  • West Coast Hockey Fan

    Can the Canucks demote him to the Utica Comets, and then loan him to whatever AHL team is in the worst geographic location? That might motivate his willingness to wave…