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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Mailbag Part 2: Quinn Hughes, Boeser’s Contract, and What to Look For Next Season

I think 30 points would be a great rookie season for Quinn Hughes. At his peak, he’s going to be able to produce more than that, but it’s important to remember that Travis Green is coaching to win, and may not feel comfortable immediately putting Hughes in high-leverage situations. He’s probably going to start the season off getting third-pairing minutes and playing on the second unit while Edler or perhaps even Myers mans the first unit. It’s not what I would do, but NHL coaches are creatures of habit and they like to lean on their veterans, so we shouldn’t be too surprised if it’s slow going for Hughes for the first 20-30 games of the year.

I’ll be pretty surprised if he isn’t. The figure that’s been floated about in the media is $7 million a year, which is completely reasonable, so I can only assume that the biggest snag is cap space. My guess is he’ll sign almost immediately after the space is cleared. The team is going to have issues finding a taker for Sutter or Eriksson, but they can find creative ways to clear a few million and get Boeser and Goldobin signed. The only question is going to be whether they actually pull it off. Creativity hasn’t exactly been a strong suit for this front office.

I’d be shocked if they don’t. At this point it’s blatantly obvious that he’s going to get the C, to the point where a lot of people seem to forget it hasn’t already happened. Waiting any longer would make the whole affair seem needlessly drawn out.

Off the top of my head I can say that I like how the Lightning, Leafs, and Hurricanes are constructed because of the way they’ve blended experience, youth, knowledge, and creativity. From a simple results-based standpoint, I think you could easily make the argument that the Sharks have the best front office considering the long run of success they’ve had and their ability to successfully transition from one core to another. I’d probably have to do more research to give a firm top three, but these are the teams that immediately come to mind.

I’m excited to see a full season of Quinn Hughes. Miller and Ferland are nice complementary pieces but they don’t have the potential to really move the needle for the Canucks the way Quinn can if he reaches his ceiling. I don’t think he’s going to blow the roof off immediately the way Boeser and Pettersson did, but he should give fans more than a few “wow” moments.

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I think 4-5 makes sense, given the way the salary cap, CBA, and the draft are currently constructed. You run the risk after a certain point of losing value by focusing on a single player, but McDavid is good enough to be worth 3-4 good players, which is likely what you’ll get out of 5 10th overall picks. It would depend on how much I trust my scouting department and how good the drafts are.

I did a lot of digging on this one, and to the best of my knowledge, the only wiggle room allowed with salary retention is in the amount. You can retain up to 50% of the salary on a player’s contract, but it will be the same amount every year. Because retention is calculated based on cap hit, the Canucks could effectively pay the entirety of his salary for him to play somewhere else, since most of his actual salary has been paid in signing bonuses, but unfortunately that wouldn’t give them much cap relief unless they take virtually no salary back.

The contract really is as untradeable as it looks.

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On the positive side, the Montreal Canadiens had surprisingly good underlying numbers last season and I wouldn’t be surprised if they took a step forward. By the same token, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Avalanche struggle a bit out of the gate due to regression and the loss of Tyson Barrie.

At this point, I’m frankly surprised he’s still on the team. There just doesn’t seem to be much love between him and Travis Green, and now that the team actually has options on the wing, I’ll be surprised if he gets much of a shot there. It’s not impossible, but he’s really going to have to earn it and I’m just not sure he can do that in Vancouver. It may be time for a fresh start somewhere else.

My guess would be that it has to do with leverage. Unrestricted free agents have far more bargaining rights and can theoretically go wherever they’d like, while restricted free agents have a limited number of tools in their arsenal when it comes to salary negotiations. It’s stupid that it works that way, but the current system is kind of set up for general managers to fall into these situations.

That doesn’t make it excusable, though. We all knew the cap crunch was coming, and that the Luongo cap recapture penalty was a possibility, so it’s indefensible that a team with one of the league’s worst records over the past four years is struggling to get their best young winger signed. Smart teams know that they can afford to pay stars the big bucks, and to be miserly when it comes to support pieces. I guess it’s up to fans to decide whether or not the Canucks are a smart team based on the situation they find themselves in.



  • Kanuckhotep

    The Leafs front office will ice one of the best teams in the league in the fall no doubt. They should be a true contender with tons of talent. However after next year they’ll be in such cap trouble that the window will slam shut quickly and will have a plethora of no namers to go with half a dozen elite players eating up most of the cap. Dubas is a bright young guy and very creative but after 19-20 TOR will be a mid pack team at best or a new Edmonton.

  • “The figure that’s been floated about in the media is $7 million a year, which is completely reasonable, so I can only assume that the biggest snag is cap space. My guess is he’ll sign almost immediately after the space is cleared. The team is going to have issues finding a taker for Sutter or Eriksson, but they can find creative ways to clear a few million and get Boeser and Goldobin signed. The only question is going to be whether they actually pull it off.”

    Please go and read my article on the Canucks salary cap situation and stop making foolish comments like this each week.

    • DeL

      The misinformation or alternate truth never seems to stop. Never ceases to be entertaining, along with comments such as yours and other readers pointing out his ineptness. That Jackson is a supporter of JD should surprise no one.

    • TD

      The Canucks will have room to sign their players this year after sending some of the extras to Utica, but they will not have room for any entry level bonuses. Since Pettersson and Hughes will likely earn some performance bonus money, they need to clear cap space or the bonuses will carry over until next year and eat up space then.

  • “That doesn’t make it excusable, though. We all knew the cap crunch was coming, and that the Luongo cap recapture penalty was a possibility, so it’s indefensible that a team with one of the league’s worst records over the past four years is struggling to get their best young winger signed. Smart teams know that they can afford to pay stars the big bucks, and to be miserly when it comes to support pieces. I guess it’s up to fans to decide whether or not the Canucks are a smart team based on the situation they find themselves in.”

    We all knew the cap crunch was coming? Benning had room to add three free agents this summer, and has $8 million left to sign Boeser and Goldobin without making use of injury reserve. Only you, and possibly JD, could call $20 million in cap space heading into an off-season a ‘cap crunch’.

    And as for Boeser, are the Canucks really struggling to sign him or is the process just playing out like it has for so many other restricted free agents over the past few years? I guess Toronto, Colordo, Calgary, etc. are all struggling as well….

    • Fred-65

      The thing is Adrain that’s where we are, we’ve spent money that we basically don’t have and now have both Boeser and Goldobin unsigned. This didn’t startthis summer it started the summer of 2017, giving salary and term to players that are bottom half roster players. Now the turkeys are coming home to roost. Any one in business can run a simple cash flow. I’m betting every team in the league has one pinned to their office wall 🙂

    • Killer Marmot

      McDonald didn’t seem to be able to fathom the cap space situation before Ferland was signed, but this time he has it correct. Benning has about $6 million to sign Boeser, meaning he’ll probably have to find a little more cap space before October.

  • DJ_44

    Because retention is calculated based on cap hit, the Canucks could effectively pay the entirety of his salary for him to play somewhere else, since most of his actual salary has been paid in signing bonuses, but unfortunately that wouldn’t give them much cap relief unless they take virtually no salary back.

    This is just wrong. The Canucks can not effectively pay the entire salary.

    Salary retention is just that. It includes both AAV and paid salary and bonuses. A team can retain up to 50%. It is (up to ) 50% of everything —- AAV and salary owed to the player. That fact that Eriksson’s contract has less actual $$$ owed than his AAV is an advantage to trading the player.

      • KGR

        Eriksson’s cap hit is 6 million. If I understand the CBA, the Canucks can retain up to 50 % of that. After Eriksson’s Bonus was paid this summer, his remaining salary is about 3 or 4 million. So yes the Canucks should be able to retain most of that if they wish to reduce the cap hit by 3 million. The following year, the new team would be on the hook for bonuses and salary, though it is not the full 6 million amount

        • DJ_44

          after Eriksson’s Bonus was paid this summer, his remaining salary is about 3 or 4 million. So yes the Canucks should be able to retain most of that if they wish to reduce the cap hit by 3 million.

          I am not sure why you say “most of that”. They can retain up to 50% of the salary and bonuses owed to the player. Eriksson is owed $9M over the next three seasons: the Canucks can retain up to 50% of that.

          • KGR

            Tyhee said it well a little lower down the comments. It has to do with the way salary and signing bonuses are calculated in retention of salary. Also, I am not sure how the variations in salary affect each year of his contract. At 9 million over three years, that would mean a 50% retention would amount to 1.5 million year. Do believe his July bonus would have to be included for the upcoming season to determine the value of the cap benefit.

          • DJ_44

            Here’s the thing, salary retention is not like buyouts. Retention is just that — a team agrees to pay (retain) a percentage of AAV and salary owed to the player (the key word being “owed”). Once a bonus is is paid, it is no longer owed.

            You are correct with the average of $1.5M per year in real $$ being retained, however as @tyhee points out, it would be distributed as per the contract terms. When the actual $$ are being paid has not affect on the AAV amount.

  • DJ_44

    that a team with one of the league’s worst records over the past four years

    ….. and there it is: the most disingenuous argument that continually gets put out there by the anti-Canucks, negative media.

    Usually followed with the equally disingenuous statement —– “”We are not negative, we are truthful.”

    • Beer Can Boyd

      ??? Not sure what point you are trying to make here about the statement, “that a team with one of the league’s worst records over the past four years”. Thats not an argument, thats actually a fact.

      • DJ_44

        It is, in fact, presented as an argument for the Canucks not spending to the cap this season. Smart people call it out for what it is: a classic strawman: it has absolutely zero relevance to the amount of cap the Canucks are spending this season, and has no relevance to the Canucks in general.

        Hockey is played season-to-season. The majority of the 2019-20 Canucks has nothing to do with a team 4 years ago. The team was in a different situation.

        It is disingenuous. If you want to argue the Canucks should not be trying to maximize the value of Pettersson’s and Hughes’ ELC’s by putting quality player around them, then go ahead. But to tailor “facts” to fit a negative narrative is intellectually dishonest.

        • Dirk22

          Do you think maybe he’s referring to the multitude of overpaid veterans that have played a part during the last 4 years and are still part of this roster in 2019-20 and beyond?

          Save your outrage, DJ.

          • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

            DJs argument reminds me of JY and his/her nonsense wanting his pubes waxed.

            It seems to absolutely drive Benning apologists nuts that so many media are so ‘critical’ and ‘negative’ about a garbage team. I wonder if there are Dorion/Melnyk apologists in Ottawa with similarly rose tinted glasses, blindly drinking the Kool aid being served up akin the Whitecaps and Lions of this season. $hit sandwich anyone? 😂😆. Mmmm…yes please!

          • DJ_44

            so that would be Sutter. Or are you referring to Horvat? Edler who was just re-signed for two year ….. maybe Tanev? It must be Markstrom.

            You are absolutely correct, Dirk. Their record four season’s ago is totally relevant. Let’s waste the young talent they have acquired through drafting and developing. After all the team in 2015-2016 had 75 points.

          • DogBreath

            The true test of his strategy is (1) to see whether these ‘overpaid veterans’ actually insulate the growth of the younger players and (2) are able to shed these salaries when younger players beat out current players. The notion of insulating young players has been a consistent theme of this management group. The reality is we’ve yet to see a young player held back by the development of an ‘overpaid veteran’. The first test of that is whether Sutter’s presence on the roster holds back Gaudette. Gaudette hasn’t done enough to make Sutter redundant yet, but he’s not far off.

        • TD

          It’s the 3 mil for Beagle when Gaudette could take his place for a mil. It’s dead money from the Spooner buyout from signing Gagner. It’s the 6 mil for Eriksson. 10 mil of left over space from bad signings. Each team can have a bad signing, but when a team has a bunch of them they have cap issues that they shouldn’t have. I don’t mind the Sutter contract, but his 4 plus mil should have been traded 2 years ago at the deadline when it had value. Same for Tanev’s money.

          • TD

            I will say the team sucked for the last 4 years because of the bare cupboards on the team, in the system and the number of veterans on NMC’s when Benning took over, but the cap issues are from signing too many bottom 6 forwards to lucrative contracts.

  • tyhee

    In answer to the question about salary retention and Eriksson was written:

    “You can retain up to 50% of the salary on a player’s contract, but it will be the same amount every year. Because retention is calculated based on cap hit, the Canucks could effectively pay the entirety of his salary for him to play somewhere else, since most of his actual salary has been paid in signing bonuses, but unfortunately that wouldn’t give them much cap relief unless they take virtually no salary back.”

    The Canucks can’t “effectively pay the entirety of his salary for him to play somewhere else” since the salary and bonuses and cap hit are all distributed in the same manner. Of course as noted, for this one season, since the signing bonus has already been paid, the Canucks could retain up to 50% of the salary and the acquiring team would only have to pay 1/2 of the salary amount. In future years, however, it would return to a maximum of 50%-whatever percentage the Canucks agreed to retain.

    From the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 50.5(e)(iii):

    Prohibition on Transfers of Payroll Room.
    A Club may not sell, assign,
    trade, transfer or otherwise hypothecate its Payroll Room (including,
    without limitation, by trading a Cap Advantage Recapture charge or
    obligations pursuant to a Retained Salary Transaction), provided,
    however, that Clubs, in the context of Trades, may allocate between them
    the Averaged Amount and related Player Salary and Bonuses payable
    under the given SPC(s) associated with the Player(s) being Traded subject
    to the following limitations:
    (A) For the remaining term of Traded Player’s SPC, the Club from
    which the Player is Traded may agree to retain no more than fifty
    (50) percent of the Averaged Amount of such SPC’s remaining
    term (“Retained Salary Transaction” and the particular SPC, a
    “Retained Salary SPC”). In each Retained Salary Transaction, the
    percentage allocation of the retained Averaged Amount cannot be
    altered from year to year.

    (B) Any and all Player Salary and Bonuses in a Retained Salary
    Transaction (i.e., the actual amounts paid to a Player in the
    remaining years of the SPC) shall be allocated between the two
    Clubs participating in the Retained Salary Transaction on the same
    percentage basis as the allocation of the Averaged Amount and
    such percentage cannot be altered from year to year. The Player
    shall be paid by the Club for whom he is playing (or most recently
    played for) when such payment is due.

    The kicker there is B. You set a % of cap retention (average annual value) and all amounts to be paid in the future are allocated between the teams based on that percentage.

    If the Canucks were to retain 50% on Eriksson and trade him before this season starts, they would get $3 million cap relief for three seasons (this and the next two.) The amounts to be paid would be as follows:

    2019-20. Canucks will have already paid the $4 million bonus. They would pay $500,000 of his salary as would the acquiring team.
    2020-21 The Canucks would pay $2 million, the acquiring team would bear the remainder, also $2 million. (made up of $1 million salary, $3 million bonuses.)
    2021-22 Same totals as 2020-21, though the salary and bonus components are reversed.

  • Hockey Bunker

    Remember the plan with Petey was to slowly break him in, lots of speculation that he’d play the wing. Then he just grabbed the centre position and the plan fast forwarded two seasons before the regular season even started.
    I can see the same plan with Hughes to bring him along slowly but flexible enough that if he performs they keep giving him more opportunities.

    • TD

      Great comment HB, it showed that Green will play any of the kids if they are ready. I can see Hughes playing on PP1, but getting protected at 5 on 5. Green did it with Pettersson last year. Lots of minutes if they were behind, but lower minutes when they had a lead.

  • theprofessor

    There are a pile of good young players in exactly the same position as Boeser: unsigned. They’re all waiting to see what happens with Marner. The biggest reason why Boeser is not signed actually has very little to do with the Canucks. Sure, the cap situation isn’t great, but one look around the league and this fails to be a convincing explanation.

    • Defenceman Factory

      That is a very good point. There have been numerous articles about the large number of high end RFAs yet to sign, Tkachuk, Point, McAvoy, Boeser and Marner among them. Is cap space the reason all these RFAs haven’t signed yet?

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    “The only question is going to be whether they actually pull it off. Creativity hasn’t exactly been a strong suit for this front office.”

    No friekin kidding! Asking JB to even think 1 move ahead is asking far too much.

    Demote the guy already and move on.