How the Canucks can get under the salary cap without trading anyone

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.

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.

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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. 

  • Dirty30

    One question— isn’t there a limit to how much salary can get buried in the minors per player?

    Schaller is fine, but you can only bury the league minimum plus some extra to $1.35 million(?) of Loui’s so you are over the cap by over $4 million dollars in this scenario.

  • KCasey

    I am digging the new crop of writer’s making guest appearances here. There may be hope for this site in the wake of Ryan’s departure. Wish Jeremy Davis was still a consistent contributor but can’t blame him for not being a fan of the toxic environment that can stir up in the comments.

    • Locust

      Not only “in the comments”.
      JD and Ryan encouraged blatant negativity and disrespect in the articles. The comments just mirror that. I too have hopes for a better future. This site has had no real leadership.

  • BJPeters02

    “the notion that they added several free-agents this summer without carefully planning out their salary cap situation is absurd. ”

    It’s like there are intelligent people running a ~$750 million franchise. Great article. Look forward to your work.. following you on Twitter!

  • J-Canuck

    Don’t know why you don’t believe that GMJB meets daily with the Canucks capologist? Does the capologist just sit and stare at a chart all day?
    Benning comes by and says, “ Anything new?”
    Capologist, “nope”
    GMJB,” carry on”

    • Fred-65

      I’d like to think that the capologist runs the Cap numbers for every team. They need to know which teams are susceptible to problems and what their vulnerabilities might be. They need to know the effect of new signings, for any team, have on the market for their own future. Most businesses run cash flows that are updated daily bearing in mind changes in their own market place. I’m sure they run projections on the league Cap numbers in the future. I’d tend to think that much may well be done automatically but none the less I see the actual and projected Caps being a daily projection. One thing for sure it wouldn’t be my choice of a job 🙂

    • myshkin

      the next CBA has to address all this cap lunacy. get rid of all the loopholes and nonsense that require a rocket scientist to figure them out. don’t let any lawyers in the room when the cap is being discussed.

  • DJ_44

    Finally, the article with a realistic picture of cap space.

    You first scenario, with Rousell being placed on LTIR is probably not how the roster would shape up. The Canucks would paper down Boeser and probably Demko, Hughes or Pettersson to get their cap as close to $81.5M (not including Rousell), so they have the maximum space available thru LTIR.

    • They don’t need to do that. They must be at or above the cap limit to use injury reserve and they need to have a minimum of 20 players on the opening roster. If they paper those guys down they actually will be too far under the cap to be able to invoke injury reserve for Roussell. Also, Boeser is waiver eligible and I think Demko will be as well (not totally sure, would have to look into it more). I’m pretty sure Boeser would be claimed.

      Placing Roussell on injury reserve allows them to replace his full $3 million dollar salary until he comes back. My scenario shows them leaving $2.2 million open because bringing in someone else to fill the full $3 million will create problems when Roussell returns. Maximizing space through LTIR is really only a concern if you know that the player will not be returning for the rest of the season.

      Thanks for reading though, and hopefully I was able to help clear things up for you.

      • DJ_44

        A few things: Boeser, Demko, Hughes, and Pettersson are waiver exempt this season (the first two at least to start the year), hence the reason they were mentioned (along with their cap hit) as candidates for being papered down. In that scenario, they could keep higher salaried players “on” the roster (Schaller, Eriksson, etc). It would be a mix and match with the only objective get the cap number as close to $81.5M as possible (not counting Rousell). Why? because of the next thing:

        Placing Rousell on LTIR does not automatically allow you to replace his full $3M in salary. You are only granted the amount required when the player is placed on the IR. Your scenario (with the Canucks being at ~$82.3M including Rousell) would only allow them to use $800K in LTIR for the duration of his LTIR (because the initial 2.2M would come from available cap space).

        It is explained, with examples, in the CBA document Section 50.10 (pg. 291). The “General Illustration” is directly to point in this case.

        It can be further complicated because cap hit is calculated daily.

        There is good reason for GMJB to consult his cap specialist and a very regular basis, especially when you are projecting cap hits (including potential bonuses) not just for this season, but for future seasons as well.

        • DJ_44

          Check that, what I presented in not entirely correct. You want to get to as close to the cap as possible included Rousell (over the cap limit is fine prior to the start of the season), to use the full amount. If the Canucks are at $81.5M with Rousell, they get can get 3.0M in LTIR; $80.75M they only get $2.25M. Apologies to adding to the confusion.

        • I’m sorry, but that’s not how LTIR works. I’ve researched this extensively. You must be at or over the cap to invoke it. You are correct that being as close to the cap as possible is beneficial. When a player is placed on LTIR their full salary can be replaced by any combination of players, but if they were under the cap prior to bringing in a replacement player then the previously existing cap space is gone.

          If they are at $81.75 million with a 23 man roster, Rousell’s replacement would need to make at least $750,000 to invoke injury reserve. They can replace his full $3 million salary, raising the cap limit to $84.75 million but the $750,000 that existed previously is gone. The cap limit will only be raised enough to accommodate the additional salary of the replacement.

          I have an article on Leafs nation that gets into more detail about the Leafs situation and why they brought back Clarkson if you’re interested in having a look. It helps explain some of this better.

          As for Boeser, you are correct that he still has 20 games left before he is eligible for waivers, (my apologies as I’ve never looked into that) but I really don’t see what the point of sending him down would be. If you took his $7 million off the books the Canucks would be too far below the cap to invoke injury reserve for Roussell.

          • DJ_44

            We are speaking past each other here, and my initial presentation has inaccuracies which probably caused the confusion. I assume in your above example you mean $80.75 (since $81.75M would be over the cap).

            Your initial paragraph in the above reply more or less sums up my point: You want to be as close to the cap as possible when you invoke LTIR, so you maximize the amount you can exceed the cap. In your example, they can only effectively exceed the cap by $2.25M. If, by shuffling the roster (which may or may not involve papering down waiver exempt players in favour of higher priced, non-waiver exempt players) and getting the 23-man roster’s salary to as close to $81.5M as possible, the team can exceed the cap by the full salary (or as close as you come) of the player on LTIR.

            Your point about Boeser’s $7M cap hit not being applicable in the Canucks situation is spot on.

  • myshkin

    this is absolute total insanity. it seems like yesterday that we were talking about weaponizing cap space. now we have a cap problem and no first round pick in 1 of the next 2 years. we won’t even be able to pounce on any good waiver pick ups before the season.

    • speering major

      Good article. I wish Canucks army would hold all their staff to a high standard. This is refreshing from some of the trash regularly pumped out. I’ve actually commented how dumb the Benning hate here is based on the cap situation. It’s just such an eye roll to see pissy Benning haters get a platform and fail to even consider that he and a team of NHL execs signed 5 players and didn’t have a plan B to re-sign Boeser.

      It’s perfectly reasonable to be critical of Benning but when that critique gets blatantly stupid, you have to realize the critic is just projecting their own ignorance. Oh Benning sucks and he doesn’t know what he’s doing, he has no cap space and has to give away JV or OJ because other GMs are going to run him over etc, OK settle down you clueless clowns. Let the adults speak

    • J-Canuck

      The cap problem is a minor problem, like trying to figure out how to budget a new pool in for your house. Not that serious.
      The cap “troubles” are because of the upgrades to the defense and the top 6. What has been the Canucks main problem? Secondary scoring and having one of the worst defenses in the league.
      You don’t solve those problems and not take some type of hit.

    • Mtke

      Bingo. Ignoring opportunity cost while claiming the current situation doesn’t meet the definition of cap hell takes some major mental gymnastics.

      I would argue if you want a glimpse into the limited imagination of current Canuck management then I would say this article hits the nail on the head.

    • North Van Halen

      Please, please, please name one player claimed off waivers in the last 5 years thats made an significant impact for their new team. If you can actually name one, name 2.

    • Killer Marmot

      It’s not really a cap problem, though, is it? It sounds like they will be able to handle it while still re-signing their RFAs and not trading anyone. The real problem is that fans — and even some professed analysts — are confused by the complex rules on cap space.

  • Jabs

    Thanks for this good article.

    I have a question about player bonuses. I would assume several players have incentive in their contracts and don’t these also count against the cap? I think Chicago got hit with this a few years back.

    If so I suppose the simple thing to do would be to trade Sutter at the deadline and all problems are gone but I am curious what others think about this.

    • tyhee

      Pretty much all Canucks’ entry level contracts contain performance bonuses. The amount is determined at the end of the season and counts against the cap for the season in which the bonuses are earned. If there isn’t cap space a team is permitted to defer counting the performance bonuses against the cap for the following season.

      That’s one of the reasons that Adrian and CA writers have been on totally different wavelengths about the cap for this season. As Adrian has pointed out on several occasions, the Canucks have the cap space to make it through this season. If Pettersson and Hughes have good seasons there could be substantial performance bonuses. Petey maxed his out last season at $2.85 million. That would be his maximum this coming season as well. Hughes’ maximum this coming season is $850 thousand. Other possibilities are Adam Gaudette and Olli Juolevi. There are others but the chances of others earning much or anything in the way of performance bonuses are remote at best.

      The thing is, it is easy to imagine both Pettersson and Hughes earning substantial bonuses. If the Canucks defer those to the following season, that comes off the money they can spend the following season, at a time when Pettersson and Hughes may still earn large performance bonuses. Any amount deferred, together with the amounts for Spooner, Luongo and overpayments to players such as Eriksson and Sutter will all be dead space for 2020-21. We can’t be certain what space the Canucks will have for 2020-21-we don’t know what raises Stecher and Markstrom and others may get, what moves will be made or how much the cap will change.

      The Canucks will also have other amounts against the cap for 2020-21. Players who are put on injured reserve still count against the cap. The league may give a team relief if the team requests it by allowing the team to exceed the cap to replace players who are on the injured reserve list long-term. Those players who are on injured reserve for shorter periods of time can be replaced but both the injured player and his replacement count against the team’s cap for the current season.

      Accordingly, the team normally needs some space to deal with short-term injuries (though there are ways using day to day movements to eke out a bit more space from time to time, something Lawrence Gilman was expert at.)

      Personally, I don’t like to see the Canucks deferring 2019-20 cap to the following season, putting them in more difficulty that later season. Can they make it through this year? Certainly.

      Should they find some way to reduce cap hit so as to avoid putting themselves in a tighter cap situation the following season? Imo, absolutely-and that may be easier said than done.

    • Great question and this is definitely a concern that I identified in my first set of articles. Any overage from entry-level bonuses will show up on next years already tight cap. The best way to deal with this is probably trade away someone at the deadline to open up the space. Maybe Tanev?

  • Mtke

    If you’re a bad team that has to rely on LTIR and burying bad contracts to fit under the cap you’re most definitely in cap hell.

    Thanks for playing, though!

    • Kootenaydude

      It’s a numbers game. Most teams in the NHL spend within 1-2 million of the cap. It’s nothing new. It’s not cap hell, it’s just living with a cap system. Your stars want and expect a huge percentage of the cap. Once the season starts check out Capfriendly and you’ll see almost everyone is in “caphell” as you call it.

      • Mtke

        So which of our stars exactly are currently taking up a large percentage of the cap? I think you’re thinking of the wrong team here. We aren’t the Tampas or Torontos of the league. Our current cap situation has nothing to do with having to pay our star players. It’s the exact opposite. We’ve grossly overpayed replacement level players. In many cases giving term, dollars, and NMC and NTC. It’s an insane position to be defending.

        • DJ_44

          Toronto was in an identical situation as to Vancouver only two and three seasons ago, when emerging from a rebuild, their young stars were on ELC and lesser players and dead cap were eating up space.

          Would it be better if the Canucks didn’t have Eriksson on the books? sure. of course. But they do. They also got hit with an addtional $2.2M is cap recapture … paying for wins from 2010-2014. Without that it would not event be an issue.

          You mention opportunity cost. There is a significant cost to not maximizing ELC value of Pettersson and Hughes. The Canucks consciously went out and made the team dramatically better through trades and free agent signings to support and augment the excellent young core and top-5 prospect pool the team has put together.

          Transitioning out of a rebuild is tough. The Rangers are in even a more dire situation than Vancouver, as they try to move forward as well. Benning added Gagner (Spooner) attempting to transition the youth. It is difficult to predict when they will be ready. Pettersson was more than ready last season, so you manage accordingly.

          You are where you are, look forward and manage the situation you are in.

          • Mtke

            “Dramatically better”…

            If they have to bury a bad contract it doesn’t matter if it only clears a fraction of the total value. If it has to be done to fit everyone under the cap (most notably the first of your future core you actually are having to open the bank vault for) it absolutely plays into it. If you look above the need every dollar they can find to squeeze under the limit.

          • DJ_44

            Your comment makes no sense.

            The Canucks have to manage the cap in order to accommodate Boeser’s deal (every team has to manage its cap). If Brock’s deal is as it is rumoured at an AAV of $7M, they can manage their roster to fit it in.

            Once in the season, many options open up for the Canucks to move players.

            It is almost as if you bought into the false narrative promoted by Jackson, JD Burke and many on TSN1040 that the Canucks only had $5M in available space to sign Boeser. Now that it has be pointed out the Canucks have $7M, you are saying “but … but …but”

          • Mtke

            I didn’t say they can’t wiggle him in. Have you even read my comments? What players are they going to move in-season to alleviate cap space? If it were that easy they’d have done it by now. Are you the same kind of person who thinks we should be pencilling in all of the “amazing” prospects we have into future lineups?

          • DJ_44

            Have you even read my comments?

            I re-read and re-read your comment …. it does not really make sense.

            If it were that easy they’d have done it by now.

            Teams are not making the types of trades we are talking about now. However, as you get into the season, things change. Injuries happen, kids do not progress as fast as hoped, player aren’t producing. Players prove they are healthy. New opportunities arise.

            Are you the same kind of person who thinks we should be pencilling in all of the “amazing” prospects we have into future lineups?

            All of them? Nope. But what the Canucks now have is a sustainable pipeline, with prospects that will be able to support middle and bottom roles within the lineups of the future. The challenge of the rebuild is to find the top 4 or 5 star players to build around. The Canucks met that challenge while drafting no higher than 5th.

        • Kootenaydude

          Actually we are in a win now mode because Hughes and Pettersson are on ELCs. So the Canucks are saving approximately $18 million dollars with these two players. They have 2 years to use this $18 million dollars. The money has gone towards Miller, Meyers Benn and Ferland. The topic of the Eriksson and Sutter contracts have been beaten to death. They are basically buy out proof or just not worth the money. Not really worth discussing either. Let them play this season and hope they can perform like $3 million dollar players so we can move them.

          • jaybird43

            Well, after the ELCs of Pettersson and Hughes, just about the same time the contracts of Eriksson, Beagle and Sutter will be done or they’ll be traded and maybe the NHL will waive the final backdive year of Luongo. I think that adds up to about 16 million there.

    • Killer Marmot

      It doesn’t matter much who they send down. You can only reduce the cap space by about $1 million per player by doing so. Thus “burying ad contracts” doesn’t come into it.

    • Silverback

      My definition of cap hell, is a situation unsolvable and requires drastic action eg losing star players for peanuts, giving up top prospects etc. The Canucks are not in cap hell.

  • North Van Halen

    Can this guy replace Jackson since he’s clearly been ‘mailing in’ the Mailbag all summer. The commenters have been more informed than him (as proven by this article). It would be nice to have someone who actually, you know, cares and gives a sh**, writing the bag.
    He’s still great at WWYD Wedensday though.

    • Jim M

      I’m totally done with the Mailbag with Jackson in charge but Pooley seems pretty focused on the financial end of hockey. I like a couple of the new writers but they’re still getting their legs under them. Tbh, with the recent departures, Jackson is unfortunately the most well-rounded writer on here now.

      • North Van Halen

        No, he’s not. Maybe he’s the most tenured, but his half researched, always negative takes make the Mailbag only readable for the the comment section. His takes are as informed as a rock and as mature as a teenager.
        He’s gone down the JD Burke jocksniffer rabbit hole of thinking snark makes up for research and intelligence. Since Botch is no longer here to undeservedly hype JM’s work like he did JD’s, it’ll be interesting to see if the no research snark train can work for Jackson too but I every other writer seems more balanced and researched to me

        • Jim M

          Perhaps I wasn’t clear in my comment but I wholeheartedly agree that his takes are generally terrible and at best mediocre. That Jackson is the most well-rounded is not meant as a compliment to him but an indictment to the current bench strength of the blog.

        • speering major

          Totally agree. I thought I was developing an over confident disdain for his writing but it seems like respectable posters also find it trash. It’s not that it’s not impressive, its just at the level of a random twitter guy, so what’s the point? Find someone good or why bother?

          His takes in general outside of hockey also slant to pissy

          IMO reduce his role or demand better from him. I used to just read the articles, now its to the point where I check to see who wrote it to know if I should bother or take it seriously.

  • Kanuckhotep

    As outstandingly informative as this article is I just don’t see Eriksson NOT being in the line up. When you’re only thinking about the monetary situation regarding a particular player you have to take into consideration if there is someone as viable to take his place in the line up. Loui is a reliable PK guy and isn’t a clown in his own zone but let’s not even discuss his contract for the billionth time. Adrian’s article is great though but I doubt Loui is going to Utica.

    • Killer Marmot

      I agree that Eriksson is a valuable player who deserves a place in the line up. One reason for sending him down is that his contract makes him claim proof, thus preserving player depth.

  • Dirk22

    Many on here clamouring for that 8th seed playoff berth are the ones saying there are no cap issues. You’ve got about a quarter of the cap invested in negative impact players but hey, no problem here! a mediocre roster up against the cap is the definition of a ‘cap issue,’ particularly when the young stars aren’t getting paid yet.

    • Mtke

      Probably the same people who think if you squeak in anything can happen cause hey look at St Louis. Ignoring the fact St Louis has a roster about 20x superior to the Canucks current roster and were viewed as having underachieved before they got hot. Pretty sure one of those people is running the team right now.

    • DJ_44

      Nevermind the 8th seed Dirk, they will be competing for 2nd and 3rd in the division this year.

      So while I realize I am not the group “clamouring for the 8th seed”, I am also not in the group that thinks they do not have cap issues. They absolutely do have cap issues. Are they manageable cap issues? Yes.

      The question is whether the additional signings of Myers, Ferland, and Benn, and the trade for Miller, which combined with signing Boeser (and the Luongo Cap-recapture) is worth having to manage a tight cap. I say it absolutely is worth it. The Canucks are a dramatically better team this year.

      • Mtke

        Can’t say you’re not an optimistic person! They’ll definitely be a better team this year but I don’t see them making the playoffs. And more importantly they don’t seem to be making moves that will set them up to push for a Cup which is what should be the goal here.

  • rediiis

    I was all in on Boeser getting 6.5 for 6. If he just wants a 4 year contract, then I think 5 mil is the cap. He hasn’t proved he is worth 7 and eff him if he thinks he is better that Point or Connors.

  • Defenceman Factory

    Well done article, This should end the debate on whether the Canucks need to trade someone before they can sign Boeser. Clearly they don’t.

    This does not mean the Canucks don’t have a cap issue. Clearly they do. Most teams do and the Canucks issue is worst than most. The majority of good teams crunched like this are trying to manage around an expensive core locked up long term. Over the next 2 years the Canucks have to lock up that core and don’t currently have the space.

    Arguing about how badly the Canucks have managed the cap isn’t a relevant debate. It really hasn’t had a serious impact …. yet. The next 2 years are critical. The Canucks absolutely must get the cost of their bottom 6 and buried contracts in line. This means veterans must be moved out. Projecting forward they will have difficulty paying Pettersson, covering bonuses and to continue building a well rounded roster. One and preferably both of Eriksson and Sutter are off the books a year from now.

    BTW who is the capologist Benning meets with daily?

  • hm

    Whether its cap hell or just a cap issue, no one can say Benning has done a great job managing our resources, trading assets, acquire FA’s or weaponizing cap space. Nonetheless, I think we are in decent shape, and this cap problem is manageable. I think thats a combination of the fact that through the morass, Benning has also made some good moves, especially this year, the fact that despite having horrible lottery luck, they may have acquired franchise level players at #5, #7 and #24, Petey and Hughes have the potential to be real stars, and you can see the end of the tunnel for most of the really bad contracts. The other thing is that the hard cap is a bit of a leveller, insuring that even poorly managed teams will eventually be competitive.

    And what will help in the future is that we have a farm system that many agree is around top 5, thereby insuring at least a decent stream of Cheap ELC’s going forward when Pettersen and Hughes need extentions. And Benning and Judd deserve some credit for this.

    One of the biggest challenges that Benning has faced, is that at least 2 and maybe 3 of the guys you would want to move (Sutter, Tanev, and Baertschi) hardly played last year dropping their value to close to zero. Benning has to wear at least some of that “bad luck”, but if they can get even a bit of health out of that group, they will become at least somewhat tradable, and Benning will then have an opportunity to substantially improve our cap flexibility.

  • Captain Video

    I don’t think the criticism is that Benning won’t be able to resign Boeser, but it’s that Benning has lost any flexibility to take advantage of other cash strapped teams thanks to the small fortune shelled out on mistakes like Eriksson, Suter, Beagle, Schaller, Spooner, etc. (And I suspect we’ll add Myers to that list in a year.)

    On the other hand, even when Benning had cap space he didn’t understand how to properly weaponize it and when he had Tampa Bay over the cap barrel he couldn’t take advantage of it and still grossly overpaid for Miller.

    Sadly, I think we all have to accept that the Canucks will be a weakly managed team until either Benning is fired or current ownership finds a buyer (and Benning is fired).

    • jaybird43

      Weaponizing cap space. That’s a tired hoary old phrase that sounds good, but rarely plays out on any team, anywhere. Assuming there’s at least five other teams in some form of so-called cap hell, where are these trades that weaponize this cap space? Not seeing those Captain … do you have a couple of examples in each of the past two or three years?

      • Mtke

        Really? Shero put on a master class just this summer with the PK Subban trade. Competent GMs definitely are able to capitalize on having cap space. Carolina getting a first rounder for bailing out Toronto is another great recent example. Just because GMJB can’t pull it off (still can’t believe we gave up a first for Miller…..) doesn’t mean it’s not a real thing.

        • truthseeker

          That’s not an example of “weaponizing” cap space. On nashville’s side that’s clearing out a contract. On the Devil’s side it’s giving up two 2nd round picks, a former 2nd round pick and a 7th round pick for a 9 million dollar cap hit, for the next 3 seasons. That’s not “acquiring assets” by using your cap space. That’s simply burning cap space.

          I love Subban and think he’s still got some good years left in him, but that’s not supporting what is meant by “weaponizing” cap space.

          Yep, Carolina got a conditional first round pick to eat over 6 million dollars. Conditional being the key word. So it’s a first rounder outside the top 10. And given the Leafs are one of the best teams in the league, that first rounder is going to be somewhere in the twenties. A pick in the 20’s has maybe a 20% chance of ever becoming a top 6/4 player.

          So really that’s not a great return for eating a huge chunk of salary. Even more so for the canucks who already have enough dead weight.

          Any other examples that are actual examples of getting a premium asset for taking a bad contract? Cause neither of those are.

          • Cageyvet

            Truthseeker, I am in general agreement with you, but have to say that Carolina absolutely weaponized cap space.

            For starters, nobody made a rule that you had to get a premium asset back when weaponizing cap space, but a first round pick is pretty damn valuable.

            Also, that’s excellent return for a single year of that big chunk of cap space. If the Canucks had the room I would have wanted them to do that deal.

          • truthseeker

            I’m not saying it’s not an example of “weaponizing” cap space. I’m saying it wasn’t that great of a return. And it’s one of the only examples of this concept that anyone seems to be able to point to.

            If you think that’s an excellent return then we will have to agree to disagree. Personally I think draft picks are highly over rated, especially at those positions outside the top 10 or maybe 15. The percentages don’t lie. A 20% chance at a top 6/4 player is terrible odds. How much money would you bet on a 20% chance? My guess is not a lot. (this comes from Scott Cullen’s draft pick value table which seems to have disappeared off TSN’s website but I downloaded and copied for reference.)

            I would call it a good return, no doubt, but not much more than that. And it’s definitely not the kind of ridiculous proposal/return that are brought up here by all these “weaponize cap space” people of which there are absolutely zero examples of.

        • Mtke

          Truthseeker: they got a former Norris Winner for three years (low risk) and gave up nothing. They did so by having cap space (which had value) and Nashville needed to clear cap space. That’s the definition of weaponizing cap space. Ditto Carolina. They used their space to bail out Toronto in exchange for a first round pick.

          Looking back, Gillis got Errhoff for nothing by leveraging (weaponizing) their cap space.

          It’s a thing that good GMs look to do. Using cap space to overpay plugs (and give them NTC or NMC) is the opposite of this strategy. But it seems to be the choice of this management group. I think it’s a huge mistake as do others.

          • truthseeker

            sigh….No it isn’t. Having caps space is not the same as “weaponizing” it, in the way the term is thrown around this website and the various bloggers.

            But fine…let’s accept your definition of it for a second and apply a little bit of basic logic.

            So what you’re saying is any team that has cap space and uses it in any way that takes a player from a team that can’t afford said player, is “weaponizing” their cap space. OK….

            Then the canucks “weaponized” their cap space even BETTER than NJ did because the canucks “leveraged” their own cap space to pry away Myers from the Jets. A team that was in cap hell and couldn’t afford to keep him. And unlike New Jersey the canucks ACTUALLY gave up nothing (but money) for the player. Great. The canucks surrendered ZERO assets, got the player, who was a top 4 D man on one of the best teams in the league with a deep defense, for WAY less than it will cost NJ with the Subban contract simply because the Jet’s were in such a cap bind they couldn’t afford to keep all their players. Jeez Benning is amazing at this “weaponizing” cap space thing isn’t he? lol….

            I also find it interesting that all the complainers out there kept whining about Benning giving away a few second round pics in trades, acting like losing them was some great tragedy, and now we’ve got you telling us how 2 second round picks PLUS a player who was a second round pick, is “nothing”. So then I guess you agree that the second round picks Benning threw into trade deals were “nothing”…..right? lol.

            Your whole line of reasoning is so illogical.

    • DogBreath

      Do you really think Benning didn’t “know how to properly weaponize” the cap? Or, more likely, a conscious decision that they didn’t align with that philosophy? Imagine the scenario where the Canucks followed this approach and picked up another Erickson kind of player (overpaid, only giving 80% etc). Imagine that influence around the young players, and its impact on team culture. Weaponizing the cap behind a key-board makes a lot of sense, but not likely in the locker room. I suspect Benning understands this.

        • DogBreath

          I guess the choice was 30 year old Subban for $9 million cap hit for 3 years or $29 year old Myers $6 million for 5 years. Both are top 4 (not top 2). The Canucks would have had to give up draft picks for Subban, and not Myers.

          New Jersey needs a personality like PK to compete with the Rangers for the spotlight. He’d be seen as a distraction in Vancouver (as he was in Montreal).

          I’m glad the Canucks went the route they did.

          • Mtke

            I’d take 3 years of a former Norris Winner to age 32-33 vs Myers to 35. Would have worked better with the Canucks window for paying the core. Very likely Subban plays up to his contract for the same length as Myers (at a higher level) and after 3 years he’s off the books.

          • truthseeker

            We’re not paying Myers to 35. He’s under contract til 33/34. Same as Subban. Jeezus….every post you make is flawed. Not to mention filled with your own biased speculation.
            “it’s very likely Subban continues to decline and that Myers provides much better value for his lower 6 million dollar cap hit than Subban does to his huge 9 million dollar cap hit, until Myers is off the books.”
            See! I can say meaningless things too!

        • Mtke

          Truthseeker: You’re right. Subban will be just over 33 when his contract expires. Myers will be closer to 34.5. If that’s the hair you’re going to split to try to win this argument I think we’re done here. You can’t claim a first round pick isn’t worth anything in one post to devalue Carolina trading cap/cash for a first and then say giving up a few seconds for a top 2-3 defenseman, former Norris trophy winner isn’t the equivalent of giving him away at below value to clear cap space. I think I’ve been pretty consistent with my argument. You seem to change yours depending on the mental gymnastics required to make it fit. Weaponizing cap space (or maximizing cap space if you prefer) is using space to get maximum assets at an otherwise reduced price because the other team needs to clear space. PK in a HOCKEY TRADE is worth more than his return. Marleau in a HOCKEY TRADE is worth waaay less than a first rounder. Your Myers argument is dumb because they OVERPAID in both term and money (while including trade protection!) to a lesser player because of the nature of free agency. This isn’t hard to understand but you sure do a great job making it seem like rocket surgery….

          • truthseeker

            Where did I say a first round pick “wasn’t worth anything”? Never said that. But go have a look and quote me if you can.
            Now you’re projecting your own comments on to me.
            You’re right, you’ve been consistently illogical. That’s not me “changing my argument”. That’s you failing to comprehend the flaws in your own reasoning but not admitting to it. Denial is a powerful thing.
            It’s only “dumb” because you don’t like the signing and deep down you know the logic against your argument is sound. You can’t make your argument without admitting it’s the same situation for Myers.
            And, almost everyone agreed they got him for less than expected or at most got him at a relatively fair number.
            You need to think more about your arguments before you hit that post button. It’s not me, it’s you.

          • Mtke

            Again, splitting hairs on wording but you said the following while making it sound like 3 second rounders was quite the hall for Subban…

            “Yep, Carolina got a conditional first round pick to eat over 6 million dollars. Conditional being the key word. So it’s a first rounder outside the top 10. And given the Leafs are one of the best teams in the league, that first rounder is going to be somewhere in the twenties. A pick in the 20’s has maybe a 20% chance of ever becoming a top 6/4 player.

            So really that’s not a great return for eating a huge chunk of salary.”

            Anyway, we’re obviously not going to agree and you’ve moved into nitpicking rather than arguing in good faith. Time to move on here.

  • Snoho

    I guess it depends on your definition of cap hell. I would argue the team is at best a bubble playoff team. It is right up against the cap. It needs to use LTIR to juggle it, which pushes likely performance bonuses on to next year’s team. Effectively subsidizing this years cap with next years. This puts next year’s team at a cap disadvantage when it is likely to be an even better team due to development of a young core. This to me, qualifies as cap hell. Thoughts @adrian pooley

    • They actually don’t need to use LTIR. If Roussell is healthy on opening day then Biega or Fantenberg goes down and they are right at the limit (assuming Boeser and Goldobin come in at $8 million). I think this was by design and that the Ferland deal was largely based on the room they had left.

      I want to look into the bonus thing a bit more and see if they can eat up bonuses using injury reserve, but I’m not sure if they can. If not a trade would be necessary as they don’t have any room next year to add bonuses from this year.

      The biggest criticism from me is that this plan has over $9 million in wasted cap space. But I think that being right up against the cap this season is where they want to be.

      My definition of cap hell would be a situation where you have to give up a valuable asset to unload a contract like the Leafs did with Marleau. So far they are not in that situation and if they can trade away either Baertschi or Sutter at some point they won’t be next season either.

  • Hockey Bunker

    My expectation is sometime in the fall the Canucks will find a spot foe Loui in the AHL with another organization. My preference is with the Texas Stars or San Jose Barracudabor Toronto Marlies so he can attract interest from their parents clubs and get attention because he’s in a big market. It’s the Gagner model. Give him a fair chance to play his way off the Canucks.

  • Hiatus

    I may ride the short bus, but Alex Biega and his $825,000 salary were removed from the first chart, but were not added to the second chart; so how does his $825,000 salary play into the total $ figure on the second chart?
    Shouldn’t Biega and his salary be added to the Eriksson and Schaller salaries in the “Minors” section of the chart, which would push that total over the $5,750,000 in salary already indicated in that section?

    • Defenceman Factory

      The second chart assumes Biega has been sent down to Utica. When a player is sent down an upper limit of just over a million is not counted against the cap hit. The values shown for Eriksson and Schaller are their annual cap hit minus the upper limit of what can be buried ($1.075 mil). Eriksson’s cap hit is 6 million. If in the minors his cap hit is the number shown on the chart, $4.925 mil.

      Biega’s annual cap hit is below the $1.075 mil which can be buried so his entire cap hit is removed. Hope that helps.

  • truthseeker

    Here’s an interesting experiment for you to try. Google:

    Weaponizing Cap Space

    The results are fascinating. On the first page 5 out of the 9 results are simply canuck based blog/forum based content. Over the first few pages it’s very Vancouver blog/forum heavy. A few mentions in other places like the Athletic where no doubt former Vancouver blog/forum based “writers” have spread their own influence to others around the NHL.

    But the bottom line is that there is virtually no real journalism about the subject and pretty much no comments from anyone in a real situation of NHL influence (like a GM, Player or Coach).

    Personally, it just supports the conclusion I came to ages ago that the phrase “weaponize cap space” is pretty much a meaningless statement thrown out by people who seem to enjoy coming up with millions of convoluted overly complicated scenarios that only exist in the world of “sports talk”, and fantasy hockey type nonsense.

    • Mtke

      You’ve proven the phrase weaponize cap space is under utilized. That’s about it. A more reasonable approach would be to sift through trades to identify potential cap dumps. But that would be harder work. So congrats on patting yourself on the back for putting in the bare minimum work possible. Well done.

      • truthseeker

        And that’s just you being frustrated because the only two examples you could come up with to prove your point were both totally flawed.
        What’s the opposite of congrats?….hmm