Adding to the earlier report that the Vancouver Canucks will not send a qualifying offer to defenceman Ben Hutton, it appears like they will have another free agent walking away in Markus Granlund.
Sure sounds right now like the #Canucks are leaning towards not giving Markus Granlund a qualifying offer.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) June 24, 2019
Per Rick Dhaliwal, the Canucks most likely will not qualify the 26-year-old forward, therefore making him an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Acquired in a one-for-one trade with then-prospect Hunter Shinkaruk heading the other way to Calgary, Granlund’s presence in Vancouver has always been contentious. In his four years on the Canucks, Granlund has played 215 games, scored 41 points and 28 assists, while averaging over 16 minutes per game throughout those games.
Just last season, Granlund played the most games of his career (77), while only scoring 12 goals and 10 assists. His most common teammates were Jake Virtanen and Tyler Motte — not the most skillful linemates but Granlund was a non-factor to say the least.
With Granlund and Hutton departing, the Canucks now have just over $17.5-million in cap space left, with still big-time restricted free agent Brock Boeser to sign, Nikolay Goldobin to re-sign, and Josh Leivo holding arbitration rights.
Beyond those three forwards, Vancouver has only minor restricted free agents to sign, and none will really have an effect on the NHL roster.
Whether they find his replacement internally or via trade or free agency, the Canucks are now in need of finding a forward to take the 11 minutes that Granlund averaged at even-strength this past season. But considering that Granlund really didn’t add any offence or defence — that replacement won’t be tough to find.
Teams all around the NHL and the Canucks especially will be re-signing their restricted free agents in the coming days, or risk them to offer sheets throughout the summer. There will most likely be contract news around July 1, where the floodgates of contract and cap hell open.