Why The Canucks Should Offer Sheet Mitch Marner and How The Rebuild Will Be Over

There aren’t too many opportunities in the history of a sports team to leave a legacy. Difference makers come and go but the ones that leave a lasting impression are remembered the most. Legacies can be both rewarding and damaging and in the Canucks’ case, we’ve seen a bit of both. Pat Quinn left his legacy in a few ways, one being the determination to draft Pavel Bure after every other team thought he was ineligible; a decision that eventually would put the Canucks within a goal of winning the Stanley Cup.

He also was responsible for bringing in the lion’s share of the players that would represent the Canucks in the ’94 playoff run as well as drafting players like Trevor Linden who would go on to leave his own legacy as one of the greatest Canucks to ever put on the jersey.

The Sedins left their legacy as two of the most honest, hardworking, players and humanitarians to play in the NHL. Statistically, it will take some time before any Canuck will touch their records and their donations of time and money to local charities and Children’s Hospitals can’t be forgotten.

Mike Keenan and John Tortorella left their mark in ways that would change this franchise forever, slightly less fond memories than the previously mentioned individuals.

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Vancouver has a handful of legacies left from their hockey players, coaches, and management but it’s what comes next that could be one of the most defining and longest-lasting decisions that could shape the Canucks’ future and arguably, end the rebuild.

Jim Benning is on very thin ice and the pressure to turn the Canucks around is staggering. The target of making the playoffs next season seems to be the thing that will prolong his tenure as GM but what does that really prove? Making the playoffs to get swept isn’t an accomplishment.

Benning needs to turn this team on its head and do something crazy, something that will leave his mark on this team whether he’s re-signed or fired.

Jim Benning needs to offer sheet RFA, Mitch Marner.

Yup, and it’s not the craziest thing I’ve ever said.

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Marner is looking for a payday and he deserves it. He’s sitting third in line to Auston Matthews and John Tavares with twin $11M deals (Matthews is getting a bit more but roll with me here). The Leafs DO NOT have the room to make a deal without offloading some contracts and I just don’t see them moving anyone unless Kyle Dubas can sign him for under $7 million and trade away half of that AAV.

He’s thrived as a top-line winger for the Leafs in his entry-level deal putting up 61, 69, and 94 points from year one to three. He hasn’t eclipsed 30 goals yet but he scored 26 last season and wherever his new deal comes from the motivation to produce will easily bump him to 30+ goals, maybe even 40?

The Penguins have somehow managed to keep Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for all these years but the likes of Jordan Staal and other similar talents have had to be moved around. This scenario with Marner seems eerily similar for some reason.

Mitch Marner wants to be paid like a star and Jim Benning can make that happen. It won’t be easy but the dominos that put this signing in motion will ultimately end the rebuild.

First of all, Brock Boeser needs a new deal and the Canucks have $5.5M in space currently. It’s been said his camp may wait until a Marner deal happens but if Jimbo wants both snipers, he’ll need to lock up his own first. Boeser will probably get anywhere from $6-7.5M which means the Canucks will have to free up some space to make the rest of that deal work.

But let’s forget about Boeser for a moment. The albatross contracts of Brandon Sutter and Loui Eriksson would free up a whopping $10.375M instantly. Those deals are tire fires from miles away so even the most sophisticated GM would need to be Ethan Hunt on a wire to make them disappear.

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The recapture snafu on Luongo’s deal doesn’t help either but that’s old news and everyone needs to move on. There are also a few players that could steal jobs out of camp and drop the team’s cap but that shouldn’t be what fans hold their breath for.

Eriksson said he wants to play in Vancouver next year but do the Canucks want him to? I doubt it. He also said he isn’t retiring so Benning will need to get going if he wants to turn things around. There has to be deal coming and Benning will have to eat a significant chunk of that cap hit to get a green light from another team. Sutter doesn’t fit on this team with Adam Gaudette essentially taking his job.

For conversation’s sake, let’s say a miracle happens (even a minor one) and Benning frees enough up space, there are still multiple first-round picks and beyond to discuss.

Here’s where the bold move comes.

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Vancouver would have to make a significant offer from $8.5M to $10M to get the needle moving ( courtesy of CapFriendly). That would require the Canucks to offload (2) first-round picks, (1) second-round pick, and (1) third-round pick. Steep to some but you are getting a player that has an immediate, massive impact on a roster looking for scoring. The Draft is very important to stock the cupboards for the future but Marner is the future.

Here’s a picture of what the Canucks can do. They would have to go big on $$$ to be eligible to offer sheet Marner and despite what some may believe, they do indeed have enough picks to make it happen.

Here’s the section of the CBA that makes it possible:

Courtesy of the NHL’s CBA

He legitimizes Vancouver’s top line as one of the elites in the league and allows J.T. Miller to play on the Bo Horvat line. The move would likely mean Jake Virtanen and possibly Sven Baertschi would be traded away but it can’t be understated that Marner gives the Canucks more than those two players ever will.

Yes, Brock Boeser or Marner would have to switch wings but that can be discussed after this unicorn deal falls into place.

With Quinn Hughes on the back end already and a towering Tyler Myers platooned on the back end until I turn 40, along with Troy Stecher, Jordie Benn and the hope that Olli Juolevi and Jet Woo turn out, it’s possible the Canucks are closer than we think. Not Cup in three years close, but maybe four or five.

Adding Mitch Marner would change the hockey landscape in Vancouver and shows the rest of the league the Canucks believe enough in the Core 4 that they’re willing to push the envelope.

Sure, it’s possible giving up those picks could backfire but will Marner, not a chance.

The Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri shocked the world when he traded away Demar Derozan for Kawhi Leonard in what could have resulted in a one and done move. It did in this case but the deal ended with a Championship. He had the guts to go all-in and it paid off in spades.

Taking risks in sports is where legacies are made and going all-in on Mitch Marner would be the move that Benning critics would forgive the past in favour of a very bright future.

The Canucks aren’t getting anything done unless they rattle a few cages and the NHL will remember Jim Benning after this one, Canucks Nation will praise him when it’s all said and done.

Now, about the number 16…

  • All of those draft picks in Benning and Brackett’s hands are like having two Top 6 forwards (e.g. Podkolzin, Boeser), a Top 4 defender (Woo), and a starting goaltender (DiPietro), all cost controlled. That’s half of a future core of Canucks. Marner is not worth it and your offer sheet scenario is highly improbable anyways.

    • canucksfan

      What absolute delusional nonsense – Woo is not a top 4 defender he’s a 2nd round maybe.Podkolzin is in the KHL so is not a top 6 NHL forward and may never come over. DiPietro is anything but a starting galtender – he got lit up like a Xmas tree in his only NHL game before beng sent back to the minor minors… some of you guys need to cut down on the koolaid, that stuff is killing braincells at an alarming rate.

      • Bud Poile

        Stealing Canucks Army’s customers accounts should never be tolerated and yet the editors don’t give a toss as it has become a tradition and what the site is known for-incompetent oversight and management.

          • CanucksRealist

            Unbelievable isn’t it Freud. This dumb three-faced old coot still thinks Jackson McDonald is going to back his #fakenews whims… after this posted by JMac himself over TWO YEARS AGO…

            “Bud has generally served to make the comment section an unwelcoming place not just for the authors but also for a lot of the commenters as well. ” – Jackson McDonald

            ”the least I could do is occasionally remind Bud that CA’s readership is constantly growing and if all he is going to do is be rude to other readers he doesn’t need to come back especially because this isn’t Tim Hortons and I don’t get brownie points for smiling and being polite while someone makes the work area a nuisance to be in for staff + customers. ” – Jackson McDonald

            and Bud’s abusive response…

            “No,dickhead. Jackson has never had a clue what goes on here on his own site. Fuc(k) off and get a f’m moderator ,Jackson.” – Bud Poile

            Unbelievable isn’t it. Get lost creep, the associate editor himself said you need toLEVE and NOT COME BACK!

            WHY are you still here?

  • The Leafs DO NOT have the room to make a deal without offloading some contracts and I just don’t see them moving anyone unless Kyle Dubas can sign him for under $7 million and trade away half of that AAV.

    Funny that the anti-Benning narrative is that Benning has a (non-existent) cap crunch while in “model rebuild” Toronto, they literally cannot keep their core together because of a self-imposed cap crunch created by signing Tavares.

    • Canucks4419

      There is a vast difference between being up against the cap because you signed bottom 6 players to big deals and being up against the cap because you have too many good players. The leads can trade several good players for great returns if they need to. Canucks need to add assets to move salary.

      • Yet the Leafs have up a 1st round pick to get rid of Marleau, take back Ceci to get rid of Zaitsev (and give up Brown in the process) and get rid of Kadri and Rosen to get Barrie for 1 year.

        Also note that prior to Tavares, Kadri had two 30+ goal seasons for only $4.5M. They gave up 30 goals for $4.5M to get 47 goals for $11M. Dubas could have kept Kadri and spent the money on a top pairing RHD long-term instead but went top heavy instead. Can’t even afford Marner. Not good cap management.

        • Canucks4419

          First of all the leafs aren’t going to lose Marner, the author is making the same cap mistake he made with the Canucks. Nor is Marner going to sign an offer sheet with Vancouver anyways, he can make far more in endorsements being in Tor.
          The Marleau and Zaitsev contracts are from the previous regime. The only bad contract left on that roster is Ceci and that’s only a 1 yr commitment.
          Comparing Tavares and Kadri goal totals from different years is overly simplistic, Tavares is way better than Kadri and is fair value at 11 million. If you are going to compare that way what about Myers at 6 million vs Tavares at 11, not even close. It let them move Kadri for the right handed dman they needed. I wouldn’t call them the best management group in the NHL but they are way better than Benning and company.

        • Cageyvet

          The Leafs are the most overrated rebuild in history. It’s stunning how this mgt group get credit for the solid players they inherited as well as a decent set of prospects thanks to years of losing.

          Throw in a lottery win and a hometown signing for Tavares and they’re not exactly doing anything out-of-the-box.

          Their cap issues are real, and they are going to continue to walk a very thin line between success and failure. Giving up a 1st round pick to shed Marleau’s contract, a mere 1 year term, shines a light on how tenuous their position is.

          The Canucks would do well to learn their lesson now, as you start to pay the emerging stars, the complementary pieces have to be cheap. That means Eriksson and Sutter have to go in favour of anyone and Gaudette, respectively.

          Nobody else on the roster has an onerous contract of any significance in dollars or term. It’s going to take some tap-dancing, but if they can make a couple of key moves they can set themselves up far better than Toronto did to keep their best players without mortgaging the future.

    • Dirk22

      Forever – still trying to figure out the difference between a well managed team up against the cap and the Canucks.

      Sutter – 4.375 x 2
      Eriksson – 6 x 3
      Myers – 6 x 5
      Beagle – 3 x 3

      What is a comparable contract on the Leafs? I’ll hang up and listen.

  • Puck Viking

    cant offer sheet because they value an over priced miller more than ufas who score more.. they should have offer sheeted kapanen 4 million at 7 years but benning doesnt understand how to do his job.. now they cant even sign boeser and dont have a 1st in 2 years.

  • Killer Marmot

    First of all, Brock Boeser needs a new deal and the Canucks have $5.5M in space currently.

    Pretty sure McDonald has already been raked over the coals for that one. Cap Friendly’s number is based on a bloated roster of 26 healthy players (plus Roussel), and thus is not accurate.

    • Cageyvet

      We keep hearing this same ill-informed crap about their cap space. If you understand how Capfriendly arrives at the number, you can then adjust accordingly. It’s almost like statistics need context……

      • Chris the Curmudgeon

        It is a little strange how you can read articles in the newspaper that seem to skim down to the “projected cap space” figure on capfriendly, quote it, then completely ignore all of the other relevant facts to make a case about how they are in more of a cap crunch than they are. Don’t get me wrong, we are probably still closer to the cap than we should be at this stage, but the inability of professional journalists (even sports ones, who are often hacks) to look at our now $4.2 million in cap space – too little to make room for Boeser – and not even once consider that said number includes the contracts of 29 players and ignores that Roussel will go on LTIR to start the year, looks really bad on them.

  • TD

    Interesting article, but I don’t think you can run three smaller players in Boeser Pettersson and Marner as a line, especially in the playoffs. Leave Miller with Pettersson and Marner and put Boeser with Horvat and Pearson. Either that or put Marner with Horvat and Pearson to have 2 balanced scoring lines with an elite play maker on both.

      • TD

        Pettersson is tall but has a very slender bone frame. His older brother had a similar build and gained around 30 pounds from his draft to be about 185. Pettersson can likely gain 10 to 15 pounds to be 185 to 190. On a 6’3” frame, he will always be slight. Boeser isn’t small, but neither is he large and he does not have much edge to his game. They are great players and could probably do well during the regular season, but the NHL has yet to give any indication they are going to call penalties in the playoffs.

        • TD

          I should say that I think Boeser and Pettersson could do well in the playoffs, but would likely do better with a larger player like Miller than a smaller player like Marner. I think of all the cheap shots and cross checks the Sedins took after every whistle against Chicago, Nashville and Boston. They had their best series against SJ who didn’t goon them after every whistle.

  • speering major

    It’s a long article and I really hope I don’t read through it to find out the Canucks can’t offer sheet Marner because they don’t have the pick they sent to TB which makes them ineligible

    • DJ_44

      Even the author, who demonstrated incompetence when attempting understand the Canucks cap situation, understands that Canucks do have the required picks for the offer sheet.

      The thought that Dubas is not willing to give Marner $10M per season is equally foolish.

        • DJ_44

          Matching $10M would not be difficult.

          The reality is the player has to actually sign an offer-sheet. I would suspect that despite the allegations of collusion and “old boys” clubs … getting players to sign to an offer that is worth it is a significant reason why we do not see more offer sheets. Brayden Point may be a prime example.

  • Holly Wood

    I could be wrong here, but I don’t believe the Canucks can offer sheet a high end RFA now that they have traded away the first round pick for Miller. Also why do we see an daily editorial claiming the Canucks are in salary cap trouble when it has been pointed more than enough times that Cap Friendly is showing the salary of 27, now 30 players currently and come October they will be down to 23 players?

  • El Kabong

    They don’t have a first round pick in either 2020 or 2021. You need those picks as compensation to the team that’s holds his rights. Don’t have the picks can’t make an offer sheet.

  • Dan the Fan

    Maybe just wait till the Eriksson, Beagle and Sutter contracts expire, and Luongo’s penalty is gone, and Boeser/Hughes/Demko/Gaudette have new contracts, then can offersheet somone when we’re ready to be competitive. In the meantime, we’d be better off with better picks.

  • Kanuckhotep

    It’s fun to read about theoretical processes that will never take place. If the Canucks were knocking on the door of serious contention then taking a flyer on Mitch Marner might make sense but the local team isn’t even there at present and are a number of years off of this IMO. Why cap out when you haven’t even been in the playoffs for a number of years now? Why be stupid like the Edmonton Oilers?

    • Beer Can Boyd

      “Why cap out when you haven’t even been in the playoffs for a number of years now?”. I don’t know. Ask GM JB. He’s just signed another albatross UFA deal with Myers, and overpaid wildly for a 13 goal scorer that makes 5 mill per season.

      • TD

        Aquilini left the Canucks in tough shape by leaving Benning in charge on an expiring contract. Everyone believes he either gets them into the playoffs or is gone. Bad moves come out of desperation.

        • Chris the Curmudgeon

          At this point, all personnel moves should have to be approved by ownership. Not that they’re doing a great job or anything, but they need to make sure no egregiously awful desperation moves go down until they either re-sign the man or hand him his pink slip.

  • Defenceman Factory

    This article is just dumb. Offer sheeting Marner for a cost Marner likely wouldn’t sign and that would surely be matched by a team that just can’t give away more draft picks.

    Something more interesting is Buffalo trading Alex Nylander, a middling 21 year old forward prospect for Henri Jokihardju from Chicago. Henri is a decent 20 yr old RHD who was just acquired for a very reasonable cost. Couple this with the Colin Miller trade out of Vegas and Benning just missed two potential opportunities to acquire cost controlled younger RHD. The myopic focus on signing Myers just seems too short sighted.

    • Chuk

      Still have no idea why tf we had to sign Myers. Next summer when we have a shot at Barrie but can’t is gonna be fun in the comments. This is like signing Beagle all over again. There isn’t much rage on here against Beagle and Louie because we just throw our hands up and say oh well it is what it is. Myers will get the same silent treatment.

    • I would have drafted Jokiharju instead of Lind if he was available. Heck, I would have given up Lind and Gadjovich to get Jokiharju now.

      That being said, a trade that is available to one GM isn’t necessarily available to another.

      • Defenceman Factory

        You are certainly right, I don’t know if Benning had a shot at Miller or Jokiharju but seeing them both traded for affordable assets is frustrating. If Benning had made one of those trades or something comparable and avoided signing Myers the future would look brighter.

        • Cageyvet

          LVK don’t deal within the division, generally, and that’s common throughout the league. It’s a natural fear from the GM’s to not have your mistakes on display in front of your fans more than necessary. Imagine if Taylor Hall had won the Hart playing in the Pacific division? I expect Miller would have cost us more to extract from LVK than they asked of Buffalo.

          The underlying point is correct, though. I don’t care how they got it done, Buffalo just upgraded the league’s thinnest depth position at a reasonable cost. I don’t worry too much about a trade my GM may never have even had a sniff at, but I want him to go find a similar deal for himself elsewhere. He’s got 30 teams to talk to.

          I like JB, but his biggest wins are at the draft table, his trades have been showing promise, but let’s see how it goes. You need to find ways to shore up the weakest spots, and I know he’s trying, but you have to get the job done. Brian Burke’s teams here suffered because he never bucked up for an elite goalie. Sometimes the line is just that thin and you need to make the right play at the right time. Myers is one of those moves that will define how close he is to the right formula. He has to play top 4 minutes at a high level or it’s going to hamper the D for years.

          • TheRealPB

            It is an absolutely bizarre trade. Jokiharju is a whole lot better than Nylander who’s been pretty unimpressive. And overall Chicago this summer did not draft Byram and traded Forsling and Jokiharju, two of their better young defense prospects for a more expensive middling D in De Haan and the aforementioned Nylander. Their hanging a lot of hope on Olli Maata, Adam Boqvist and Beaudin.

          • canucksfan

            I don’t obsess over other teams like alot of regulars do here but the moves that Buffalo’s GM has made since the draft are better than anything Benning has pulled off in five years. Outstanding roster building there without breaking the bank.

  • Burnabybob

    Marner is a fine young player, but the Canucks have a pretty good stable of forwards already, especially when Podkolzin joins the team. Signing Marner to a big offer sheet would create cap problems for the Canucks, too.

  • j2daff

    Eriksson, Loui $6,000,000
    Horvat, Bo $5,500,000
    Miller, J.T. $5,250,000
    Sutter, Brandon $4,375,000
    Pearson, Tanner $3,750,000
    Baertschi, Sven $3,366,666
    Beagle, Jay $3,000,000
    Leivo, Josh $1,500,000
    Virtanen, Jake $1,250,000 AHL
    Pettersson, Elias $925,000 Schaller, Tim $1,900,000
    Roussel, Antoine $3,000,000 Gaudette, Adam $916,666
    Goldobin, Nikolay RFA Motte, Tyler $975,000
    Boeser, Brock RFA Bailey, Justin $700,000
    Schaller, Tim $825,000 (cost while player in AHL)
    $38,741,666* *2 contract to sign

    Edler, Alexander $6,000,000
    Myers, Tyler $6,000,000
    Tanev, Christopher $4,450,000
    Stecher, Troy $2,325,000
    Benn, Jordie $2,000,000
    Hughes, Quintin $916,666
    Fantenberg, Oscar $850,000
    Biega, Alex $825,000

    Markström, Jacob $3,666,667
    Demko, Thatcher $1,050,000

    Spooner, Ryan $1,033,333

    Luongo, Roberto $3,033,206


    cap space ($10,608,462)

    that is likely enough to resign both Goldy, Boeser and have a little left over. They will be able to go a little over the cap when they call up Motte or Gaudette when Rousel is on IR due to the relief but it is not a true reduction in our cap as it only kicks in for the amount above the cap during the IR period. Note though that they don’t really have any contracts coming off the books next year that will not need to be replaced with players that’ll have similar cap hits. Marky will also be looking for at least a $2M raise too so bonus associated cap penalties should be recognized and avoided. With that in mind the team may need to find close to another $4.7M to cover bonuses. If the team is a seller at the deadline or any point in the season this is potentially doable but lets not think it’ll be guys like Sutter and LE being moved to do it unless we add value to the deals.

    As for offer sheeting Marner … the fact that he could even be obtained is based on TO’s lack of cap space, ours is not any better (as above) and possibly worse. This same issue would also prevent us from offer sheeting without moving out $$$ and likely totally prevent us from offer sheeting any of the big RFA’s left this year. The team is not currently in a cap crunch but they are not in a great position either.

    • TD

      Hopefully Tanev and Sutter have good starts and can be traded at or before the deadline. Even if not traded, Tanev’s in the last year of his deal so that 4.5 comes off. As does Schaller’s 1.9. So there is a bit of room next year, but not a ton. And the GM has to make sure he has room the following year for Pettersson and Hughes.

      • j2daff

        That’s all true but it’s also going to be hard to let Tanev walk (or trade him) and not replace him on the right side. Yes we could sign a low end replacement level guy or possibly call up a guy like Chatfield if he’s ready but the most likely scenario if the team is set on making the playoffs is replacing him with a guy with a similar salary. As for Schaller’s contract expiring it’s only going to save us about 875k (his hit in the AHL) and Markstrom will eat up more than that. Sutter has a lot to prove in order to become trade-able so I wouldn’t bank on him being moved until he’s shown enough value that you start to not want to move him, do you see that happening?

  • RIP

    Making the playoffs is what matters. Stop pretending you know how they will do based on the roster at the start of the season. That is the beauty of the playoffs. Look at St Louis. I thought this ridiculous narrative of making the playoffs doesn’t matter if you don’t have a certain makeup would have ended after Str Louis won but clearly this writer doesn’t get it. So let me be clear: ANY team can win once they are in the playoffs. This past year is proof positive of that pure and simple.

  • J-Canuck

    Nice dream, like the Canes… T.O will match any offer I’m the 8-10 mill range. Any team would have to go Full….. and do 11 mil plus and give back 4 first rounders.
    That’s just it

  • TheRealPB

    The rebuild will be over by signing Marner and mortgaging the future? And not fixing the defense? Others have already pointed out the flaws in the cap space analysis and that there’s no way that TO doesn’t match a lowball (or that Marner signs it when he’s asking for at least $11 million). But just to take your premise that adding one player – even an exceptional one like Marner – would jumpstart a rebuild is to take Benning’s mostly failed retool premise and put it on steroids. You can’t really shortcut a rebuild by adding Brandon Sutter, Luca Sbisa and Erik Gudbranson (much less Linden Vey, Emerson Etem, Derick Pouliot and a host of others meant to plug the 20-something gap in our prospects left by the last regime) and you cannot hamstring the need to rebuild across multiple positions by surrendering so many future assets. Your Raptors analogy makes zero sense because hockey is so different from basketball. In a sport that sees the starting five play so much of the game a dominant player, duo or troika really does completely change the ability to compete. The Clippers and Lakers just did that. And first round draft picks in the NBA seem to mean nothing in a league where the max salary is an absurd $30 million or so per year and players get shuffled around all the time. In the salary cap era in hockey the best plan seems to be to try and put all your money into your 5 top players and surround them with cheaper supporting pieces — that’s why Chicago and Pittsburgh have been good throughout the Toews/Kane/Keith and Crosby/Malkin/Letang eras and why LA crashed hard by making the wrong bets (Brown, maybe Quick). It’s yet to be proven that what the Leafs have done is the right thing. They have won exactly nothing yet.

  • canuckfan

    Signing a player like Marner is not worth giving up the picks. It is the picks that help keep the cap manageable for teams. Not having the lower entry level contracts with talent is a big drag on teams who have a lot of players with high salaries it just means that they will have to fill positions with plugs on low salaries. At least with a talented prospect such as Hughes or Petey you have a couple players adding to the teams success when on an entry level that helps the team go forward who already have a number of stars at high end salaries. Marner is not the way to go the Canucks salary situation is not out of control it is manageable and as far as Eriksson and Sutter we will soon see what happens I think they will be onn the roster for the coming season as they are too good to be sent down as they may not be scoring goals but are able to play a roll of covering the other teams top players and penalty kill.

  • canucksfan

    Never mind Marner, offersheet Matthew Tkachuk with every dime you got and make good on that horrendous draft day miss and pee off the Lames at the same time.

    • bobdaley44

      Wouldn’t want to be paying that guy 8 mill per. He’s a hacker who can pop in a few goals and be a pest but you need to be able to skate and play some D to get a contract like that.