When Jim Benning says that he meets with his capologist on a daily basis, I don’t believe him. That’s because daily updates on a situation that remains static seem unnecessary. I think the message that he is trying to get across is that the Vancouver Canucks have their cap situation figured out, and I do believe that.
Benning on the cap situation moving forward: "We have daily meetings with our capologist. We have plans for two or three years out, you can never tell where the cap will be in three or four years but we have a plan in place where it will all work out."
— Sportsnet 650 (@Sportsnet650) August 20, 2019
In my first article for CanucksArmy, I laid out the multiple options that Benning has for reducing their salary cap total including trades, sending players to the minors, and the use of the injured reserve. Below is what I think the most realistic scenario will be.
The projected lineup has Tim Schaller, Loui Eriksson, and Adam Gaudette going to the AHL and Antoine Roussell starting the year on injured reserve. Below is a breakdown of the 23-player roster which includes Brock Boeser signed at $7 million and Nikolay Goldobin at $1 million.
Note that because injured reserve will need to be invoked the actual cap space available will be zero. I have written a breakdown of how LTIR works in relation to the Leafs current situation that better explains things. Essentially the cap limit will be increased to accommodate an extra player, but any space that existed previously is gone. Long-term injury/illness reserve is confusing, and it is made even more so by the fact that Bill Daly can’t seem to make up his mind about whether it applies in the summer or not.
When Roussell returns from injury, and if no one else is hurt, then either Alex Biega or Oscar Fantenberg goes to the AHL. But this is the Canucks we’re talking about, and chances are good that someone will be injured by then. For this exercise, Biega gets sent down.
At this point, the Canucks are left with $33,461 in actual salary cap space. Replacing Brandon Sutter with Gaudette increases the available space to $191,795, but leaves them with over $13.1 million tied up in dead space for 5 players not on the roster. Sending down Motte instead of Biega would increase the cap space by another $150,000.
As you can see, the Canucks will be right up against the cap, but $8 million to work with for Boeser and Goldobin seems entirely reasonable, and there are ways to squeeze out a few hundred-thousand in extra space if necessary. Is that really “cap hell” as so many have described it, or should we expect a high-revenue team to spend every dollar of salary cap space that is available?
Benning deserves to be criticized for the amount of wasted cap space that will be in the minors, but the notion that they added several free-agents this summer without carefully planning out their salary cap situation is absurd.