Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: Cap Trouble, Jim’s Drafting, and Petey’s Potential

There are a few reasons. The first is that the relief they’ll get from placing Roussel is artificial – they’ll have to clear space to be cap compliant when he returns from injury, so placing him on LTIR doesn’t fix the problem, it just delays the inevitable by a few months. The second issue is the upcoming Pettersson and Hughes contracts. The Canucks currently have a projected cap hit of $35.2 million in 2021 locked up in 7 players, plus the 3-odd million in Luongo cap recapture penalties. That’s without factoring in the inevitable raises for Boeser, Virtanen, and Stecher.

Let’s just say for the sake of argument that Boeser gets $7 million, Stecher gets 4, and Virtanen takes a 2.8 bridge deal. (These are just ballpark estimates, the point here is to illustrate the problem rather than predict salaries with 100% accuracy.) That gives the Canucks 49 million dollars locked up in 10 players. If Pettersson gets a deal just above the Sebastian Aho range – let’s say $9 million – that’s 58 million dollars dedicated to 11 players, leaving the Canucks with 23 million dollars to sign two goalies,  4 forwards, and five defensemen – one of whom is Quinn Hughes. That’s an average of 2.09 million dollars going to the remaining 11 players, which isn’t a lot to work with.

When you consider the players the Canucks have to sign over the next few years, the space they have to do it, and the fact that the Canucks haven’t seemed to be able to get a single significant player signed for under market value in the Jim Benning era, cap space looks like a valid concern that can’t be simply hand-waved away by saying “they’ll figure it out”. That may very well be true, but until they actually make a move or two to alleviate their cap space issues, it’s going to be a talking point.

We’re actually going to Disney World, and my girlfriend would never forgive me if I didn’t issue that correction. I don’t know how much of a difference that makes, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.

I went to Disneyland when I was 8 and my favourite ride was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, so I’m excited to do that again. I also love animals, so I figure the entirety of Animal Kingdom will probably be a blast.

Aside from that, you have to understand that I’m 100% irony-poisoned and so my main focus is on the extremely dumb, tacky, and antiquated shit I can giggle at. I insisted on visiting the Hall of Presidents so I can see the Hillary Clinton wax statue that had to be quickly and shoddily converted into a Donald Trump statue; and I’m also looking forward to the Carousel of Progress and Living With the Land, which I have heard are also good for the kind of cheap, mean-spirited laughs I live for.

I don’t follow either team nearly well enough to give a good answer, but I will say that everyone involved in handling the Whitecaps sex abuse scandal should probably just be fired into the sun – figuratively of course.

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If anything, he’s the Bryant Reeves of the Canucks. That’s why people hated the “Big Country” nickname so much.

To be honest, the Canucks have so many players on the roster at the moment that I can’t really imagine them being even the slightest bit interested in the waiver wire this season. Until a move or two is made, I’m going to assume there isn’t going to be someone out there that would warrant a pick-up.

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I agree with the point you’re making, but I’m not certain this is the best example. It’s not as though any of these players have gone on to make an impact in the NHL, and I was fan of the Kole Lind pick at the time, so I think it’s still a bit too early to judge the Canucks on that one.

We can, however, begin to judge Benning on how the Canucks fared in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 drafts, which are frankly a mixed bag. The 2014 class looks pretty good, but most of the spoils are now playing for other teams. Boeser was a home run, albeit in a deep 2015 class. 2016 looks almost completely fruitless, although Juolevi and Lockwood are still capable of surprising people. If Gaudette and Demko work out, things will look pretty good. If not, you’ve got a pair of first-round disappointments in Juolevi and Virtanen, a core player in Boeser, and some decent support pieces that are all playing elsewhere. I think Benning’s drafting prowess has definitely been exaggerated, largely because the Canucks were historically awful before he got here, but it’s still going to take at least another year or two before we can truly judge the scope of his record.

It’s most likely that either Ken Holland’s asking price is too high, or the offers on the table for Puljujarvi from other teams haven’t been enough to pique his interest. With a new GM in charge and coach behind the bench, I also wouldn’t be surprised if Puljujarvi and his agent capitulate on their demand for a trade and he shows up to camp. The Oilers still need plenty of help on the wings and if Puljujarvi can take the next step it’s undeniable that the team could use him.

I remember it well. I started watching the Canucks during the Messier era and was a fan in earnest by the time Harold Druken scored his overtime goal to give the Canucks their first playoff berth in five years. Naslund was my second-favourite Canuck at the time (behind Todd Bertuzzi) and would remain that until his departure. I’m 26, not 12. Nice try.

That will depend on how the team looks and how the hypothetical new GM feels about Green. In most cases, a new GM means a new coach, especially if the decision to axe the GM has come following a losing season. There are exceptions, though. Mike Gillis got a full buy-in from Alain Vigneault in 2008 and I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a similar situation arising with Green.

It depends on what you mean by all-time. Before Elias Pettersson had so much as donned a Canucks uniform for the first time I believed he had the potential to be the best player in their history. Is that enough for him to qualify as an all-time player? If so, then yes, I think there’s a chance. I also think it’s a little early to go too far down that rabbit hole. Let’s see how he fares over the next couple of years before we start putting him in the same category as the game’s all-time talents.

  • J-Canuck

    I really don’t think the Canucks are in Salary Cap Hell. Things may get difficult, but not hell. In fact most teams with good young players will eventually be in some type of trouble.
    Salaries will be dropping off, Tanev Edler Markey, and the salary cap will jump once a new TV deal is signed. Also outside of Loui, most of the bottom 9 forwards can be moved in some fashion or another.
    As far as EP goes and his ceiling as an all time great, I truly believe the sky is the limit. The kid has amazing Hockey IQ, deadly shot, passing is Sedin-like and he is 6’2 with room to grow. The best part is he wants to be the best player in any league he is in. I think he will be in the discussion

  • speering major

    Sutter, Pearson, Baertschi, Edler, Spooner, Benn, coming off the books for about $20.5 Million. The cap will likely go up. I think they will manage to sign Petterson and Hughes. The following season Eriksson and Luongo will free up another $9million. There will be one season where it’s tight but that’s assuming Eriksson can be moved in a way to clear any of his cap hit

    Also as Petterson and Hughe sign, Podkolzin and others should be coming in on an ELC to provide good value until the existing vets roll off the books

    • KnowsMoreThanYou

      This assumes the Canucks don’t make a single free agent signing in the next three years and don’t need to re-up Benn or Pearson at the same or higher number… or find a replacement for Edler. Jesus. Some of these prospects had better work out great, hey?

  • Trek2323

    While I do agree with you that there is considerable concern moving forward regarding the Canucks cap situation, it is simply not true to state “the Canucks haven’t seemed to be able to get a single significant player signed for under market value in the Jim Benning era”. There is still time to manage the cap and if this off season has shown us anything, it is that there are almost always ways of moving pieces around to create extra cap space. Regarding market value contracts, example one that comes to mind is Bo Horvat who is signed for 4 more years with a cap hit of 5.5M and coming off a 61pt campaign in which he had more faceoff wins that anyone in NHL. If you look at centers with similar point production (Johansen, Hayes & Kopitar) I don’t know how you see this contract as being at or above market value. Example two would be the most recent Alex Edler contract. Although it is yet to be seen whether he lives up to the contract, its pretty fair to assume he could have signed a contract with more term or dollars elsewhere. There are far too many contracts on the Canucks books that are dead cap space but JB deserves credit and criticism where its due, not just the latter.

  • Kanuckhotep

    No I don’t think the Canucks are in cap hell presently and maybe never will be. But the rest of the league’s teams all seem to be bordering on it contenders or not for the most part. I get it. You want to pay good players good money because you want to win plain and simple. But as usual GMs and/or owners create their own dilemma by paying too much for some of these guys. Can a great D like Doughty find a way to subsist on $7-8M per season instead of $11M? that’s just one of many examples. No point going over what Loui is really worth here but I realize you have to take the money as offered. The league and owners have to fix this because you can see where salary cap is going.

    • Trek2323

      I think you need to have some perspective here. If your skill set for how you earned a living allowed you to earn $110k/year on the open market place, would you be willing to take a salary for $70-80k/year for the benefit of your employer? I wouldn’t and not many people would, we should not be so quick to judge others simply because it is public information.

  • KCasey

    Maybe I missed it in a previous thread….but is Ryan not gonna get a departure article about him being hired to a professional franchise? It would seem that every person that leaves this blog gets a ceremonial congratulations, goodbye and good luck send off. Apparently only if they go to a team that isn’t the home based team the site covers and reports on doh. Like I said, possible I missed something but from my view, the Canucks finally made an analytics based hire, from your roster, a guy that was respectable, professional and represented this site incredibly well….and it’s sour grapes in the form of radio silence. Hope I missed the memo and am wrong.

  • wojohowitz

    I wouldn`t be too judgmental on Kole Lind after one AHL season. His talent is obvious but his work ethic and dedication to succeed are not yet determined. Is he sitting in a strip bar chugging beers right now or is he jogging up that hill one more time?

  • Whatthe...

    Such one sided analysis. Benning certainly has some work to do on a couple of bad contracts but in no way is it a problem in terms of getting under the cap this year…or next year…or 2021.

    TV deal kicks in when Petey and Hughes need to be re-upped so there shouldn’t be a problem (plus Hughes will not have arb rights and/or be eligible for an offer sheet).

  • Kanuckhotep

    In response to Trek 2323’s response to me post I did state a guy has to take the money as offered ( no matter how much it is) There was no inference on my part that Drew Doughty should take less money “to appease the employer” or however it was put. I thought in my post I put the onus on the owners to keep cap costs down and not the players. I agree only an idiot would take less money than offered but I didn’t think my point of view was all that obtuse. Guess I’m wrong.

  • Stink Pickle

    In my opinion, at this point, Jim Benning knows that if the Canucks miss the playoffs, he is likely fired. If the team is struggling mid season, or has a horrendous start to the season, Travis Green is probably fired to “shake things up.” I’m curious to see who will outlast the other.

  • TheRealRusty

    As usual, the GMJB apologists cannot see the forest from the trees. This year is not the one we have to really worry about when it comes to the salary cap. It is next year after both Pattersson and Hughes hits their performance bonuses which will dig a $2-4million black hole in the 2020-2021 season cap space. That plus Erickson/Spooner/Luongo cap hits will put us in a $12-14 million handicap before the 2020-2021 season even starts.

    I mean how many GMs actually put themselves in a corner by going on a UFA spending spree after it has been announced that next years cap isn’t going up as much as anticipated. Would it not be wiser to trade Sutter/Eriksson etc from a position of strength while the team was cap compliant, instead of painting themselves into a corner needing to shed salary before the season starts?

    In GMJB we trust! LOL

    • redrocket

      so in your mind the entire management team of a billion dollar franchise would not look into the worth of sutter, eriksson, tanev etc. is it at all possible that these guys are not worth anything at the moment? and possibly bringing in a few players that are above replacement level, could take the pressure/minutes off these guys and allow them to perform at a higher level, thus giving them some moderate trade value?

      just because you can trade any player for a 7th round pick in nhl19 doesn’t mean reality works that way.

  • Reel Deal

    Wasn’t Jim’s last big FA signing considered below market value in Ferland? This guy just can’t see GMJB out the door fast enough. Sad. Also saying Benning’s drafting has been “exaggerated” is another poor attempt to take a swing at a guy who has turned vancouver into a team that had one prospect in Horvat into a top 7-10 if not higher ranked prospect ranked team. Get off your high horse Jackson McDonald

    • Dirk22

      Benning’s drafting has been fine. Great in some cases, poor in others…net value fine. You can’t separate draft performance from draft position. At this point in time batting .500 with first round picks and no impact players have emerged from rounds 2-7. Maybe Demko and Gaudette make that step this year?