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Photo Credit: © Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

WWYDW: A Flat Salary Cap And No Compliance Buyouts

Hello, cherished readers, and welcome back to another edition of the weekly WWYDW.

Please accept our best wishes to you and all of yours.

Before we get started this week, this author would like to take this opportunity to give Jackson McDonald a proper send-off. For those of you unaware, this will be Jackson’s last week with CanucksArmy.

Ryan Biech was the EIC who brought me on board, but I’ve ended up working with Jackson as my editor for far longer – and my writing has improved leaps and bounds because of it. Far more important than his contributions to grammar, syntax, and spelling, however, has been Jackson’s behind-the-scenes work to support his fellow writers.

Jackson made constant efforts to grow our staff, with particular attention paid to hiring on a more diverse cast of characters – the types of voices that don’t typically receive a platform in this market. But his standards always remained high, and for Jackson it seemed like the quality of the work and the quality of the people doing the work went hand-in-hand. And because of that, the quality of the site overall has remained strong.

It’s no revelation that many have criticized Jackson for being too much of a pessimist, and they’re free to their opinions. But what I can tell you is this – when I came to CanucksArmy with the express purpose of becoming a “look-on-the-bright-side, glass-half-full” sort of writer, Jackson did nothing but encourage me. All he wanted was for me to find my voice the same way he found his.

And I thank him for it. Jackson, you will be missed.

 

Putting that aside for now, it’s time for the actual WWYDW.

We’re continuing to explore something we started talking about last week, which are the potential implications of flat salary cap for the 2020/21 season, as first reported by Andy Strickland:

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This has yet to be officially confirmed, but it is starting to look like a safe bet.

Last week, we looked at an extremely optimistic scenario, in which each team receives two compliance buyouts to help them navigate a lower-than-expected cap ceiling. But that’s not guaranteed to happen, and there’s some history that suggests it won’t – compliance buyouts have only ever been written into brand-new CBAs following lockouts, and that’s not the case at all right now.

So, switching gears from optimism to pessimism, let’s dig into what might happen if the salary cap does remain flat at $81.5 million for 2020/21 – and no compliance buyouts are offered at all.

How would you, as imaginary GM of the Vancouver Canucks, deal with such a disaster? Who would you jettison, and how? Would you be able to create enough space to re-sign even one of Tyler Toffoli, Jacob Markstrom, or Chris Tanev – never mind all three of them?

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That’s what we’re asking this week or, in other words:

What would you do as GM of the Vancouver Canucks if the salary cap stayed flat for 2020/21 and NO compliance buyouts were offered?

 

Last week, we asked:

What would you do if the Canucks received TWO compliance buyouts in the upcoming offseason? Who would you use them on?

Your responses are below!

Special Note: Because it came up so much, it should be noted that Roberto Luongo’s cap recapture penalty would NOT be eligible for a buyout of any kind, compliance or no.

 

Puck Viking:

Pretty sure you could waive Sven and Sutter, as both are UFAs at seasons end. Teams like Ottawa and Detroit have loads of space so they could get a player for free who they could then deal at the deadline at get a pick back. It helps to insult their younger players and remain some what competitive.

I would also look to trade two bad contracts for one really bad one to help really clear the dead weight.

Maybe Ottawa would take LE and Roussel for Bobby Ryan. As an example, those two players make less than Ryan but would help the Canucks be rid of two bad contracts.

Maybe even try to get a pick or prospect back for taking on a really bad contract for one that isn’t so bad. LE for Ryan and a pick? Some of the smaller market teams might want to shed big money and be willing to pay to do so.

Hopefully this team can for once be forward thinking.

 

J-Canuck:

This is actually a tough question once you get past Loui.

Sutter makes more, but Beagle is signed longer. Both were injured, but Sutter performed better when on the ice?

I would have to go Loui and Sutter for immediate cap relief.

 

Killer Marmot:

Tyler Myers. He’s just not good enough for the $24 million remaining on his contract. Use the cap space to go shopping for a more reasonably-priced replacement.

 

North Van Halen:

Do away with Myers and either Lou.

If you could convince Loui to take his July 1 bonus, then terminate his contract (I wonder what the difference would be in lost income on buy out versus termination), buyout Myers and Bobby Lu (if you can buy out the recapture penalty). You’d have all the money you need to re-sign Toffoli, Marky & Tanev, with maybe a dollar or two left in your pocket – not Francesco’s though, ‘cuz this would cost him a whack of cash!

 

Petey4hart:

I would run to the table to file the buyout for Eriksson. The second would be more tricky. We could use it on Luongo recapture if allowed. Problem is, we have more than two bad contracts. Roussel and Beagle have two more years at $3 million each, as well. And Tyler Myers at $6 million for four more years.

I like the idea of trying to package two bad contracts for one. I would try to package Sutter, Baertschi, and a low round pick in 2021 for Bobby Ryan. Ottawa could buy out Sutter and keep Baertschi for the one year or send him to the minors.

 

Kootenaydude:

Pretty obvious that Eriksson is a “Must Buyout”. The other guy is in the AHL, Baertschi. Although Sutter could be the second buyout. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of centremen. So, Sutter probably stays one more year. Move a couple guys and the Canucks are looking pretty darn good!

Changed my mind. Eriksson and Ferland. Unless Ferland remains on LTIR of course.

 

Lotto Line Forever:

After Loui, I think it’s a toss-up for me between any of Beagle, Ferland, and Myers (unless Winnipeg would take him in a trade).

No disrespect to the guy but beyond his faceoffs, Beagle’s a liability (he’s already 34, doesn’t contribute much offensively and they’re still scored against when he’s on the PK). Two years at $3 million per is a bit much, especially if we could see what we have with MacEwen who likely has management’s vote of confidence to make the team. Sutter at one year, $4.375 million also isn’t too bad, he wins almost 50% of his draws and if he does well, could be flipped at the deadline to a contender needing defensive depth).

Myers is also a guy I’d be open to let go since, while he’s got height, he’s not the most aggressive or physical of a defender, and he’s prone to gaffes. When you’re 6’8″ but don’t play like you are, I’d happily retain Stecher and have him at a fraction of the cost to play in a top-four role (unless Tryamkin takes a spot on the right side). $6 million for four years is a bit much to stomach. Alternatively, maybe we could convince Winnipeg to take him back in a trade since they just lost Byfuglien.

Lastly, I’d consider Ferland if in his physicals he proves he’s still unable to remain healthy. $3.5 million for several more seasons is a big chunk of change and with Quinn and Pete needing deals after next season, I’d rather not have money held up in LTIR that could be going to them.

In short, I’d go Loui then probably Beagle/ Ferland.

 

Fred-65:

LE has a further two years @ $6 million.

Ferland has a further three years @ $3.5 million.

Luongo has a further two years @ $3 million.

Beagle and Roussel both two [email protected] $3.0 million.

Sutter one year @ $4.3 million.

Baertschi one year @ $2.2 million.

The biggest bang for your buck is clearly LE (no surprise there), but the second choice is down to Ferland (do you bet on his health?) or either of RL, JB or AR. Id like to go with RL ( if possible ) and JB. I’d also explore waiving a player or two and see what their and their agents’ reaction would be.

 

Kanuckhotep:

Though not a CBA lawyer by any stretch, I’d say they’re stuck with Luongo’s situation. Loui is a no brainer regarding this, but a second compliance buyout proves to be a bit trickier. I agree it is never wise to turf centremen of any kind, and it would have to be a winger or D-man. Baertschi? Roussel? It’s far too early to wave the white flag on Myers, and Benn didn’t play half as good as Fantenberg IMO. Beagle, however, did disappoint this season. Tough call, admittedly.

 

Beer Can Boyd:

No doubt in my mind it should be Eriksson and Myers. Both contracts were cringeworthy when they were signed, and still are so. Of course, there is no way Aquilini will be paying Myers $18 million to simply go away, so realistically it’s Loui and Beagle. Luongo is apparently ineligible for a buyout, Ferland will either be playing for the Canucks or going on LTIR, Sutter and Sven have only a year left on their deals, and Roussel is still serviceable as a fourth line energy player/agitator when his head is in the game.

There will be a lot of NHL players not getting that raise they were looking forward to next season!

 

speering major:

I think you have to choose someone with more than one more season under contract. Petey and Hughes need to re-sign after next season and that’s the money you need to free up. Contracts expiring next year aren’t really an issue. Two buyouts, plus the cap remaining in place, should give JB the option to sign Toffoli, along with both Tanev and Stecher if that’s the direction he/they want to take. Personally, I’d rather move on from Tanev (unless he takes an Edler-like homer deal) and upgrade to a RHD who can reliably play top pair/quality minutes. Move Myers and Tanev/Stecher down the lineup.

Personally, I’d go with Beagle. Has two seasons at $3 million left. He’s overpaid now and is approaching the age where he could find that performance cliff. Have Sutter play the fourth line next season and then his contract expires. Bring in a depth center as backup on the cheap. Maybe a vet on PTO or a Granlund-type player who can play the wing or slot in at center, and the press box, for an ELC dollar amount. Next summer, go out and find a decent value #4 C and use the over $7 million spent on Sutter and Beagle for something of much better value.

Myers has value. No owner is flushing tens of millions down the drain for a player that is overpaid by a million or two per year. They could trade Myers if they felt that way.

Ferland is an interesting case. I think Ferland is either recovered and useful, retires, or goes on LTIR. Although being on LTIR makes for some uncertainty and headaches (no pun intended) it’s not the end of the world.

Roussel likely has market value. If you want to get rid of him, no need to buy him out. You can probably move him at some point.

If getting away from the Luongo penalty is an option, that’s obviously the best along with L.E.

 

wojohowitz:

Buying out Myers would be Benning acknowledging a mistake – which is something he just won`t do. What tends to happen is the GM accumulates mistakes until they overwhelm him and everybody agrees it`s a mess that someone else will have to clean up.

The successful GM – like Treliving in Calgary – acknowledges his errors in judgement and corrects them. The examples would be Neal and Hamilton – both of which Treliving brought in, gave a look-see, decided it was a mistake and then shipped them out.

Benning is too insecure to acknowledge his mistakes. Let’s just hope he will acknowledge that `Little Things` Eriksson is a error in judgement rather than thinking his six goals for $6m is good value.

 

Holly Wood:

I guess it’s Eriksson and Luongo (if he’s eligible). Or a winger of your choice. Using a buyout on a defenceman or a centre is a bad idea that will bite you down the road. Some folks suggest trading two bad contracts for Bobby Ryan. WTF would you do with Bobby Ryan and his $7.25 million contract except [complain] about it for two years?

 

Nighthawk:

[Buying out] Eriksson and Myers saves $12 million.

Sign Pietrangelo say five years at $8 million.

Trade Stecher.

Let Tanev walk.

Hughes-AP

Edler-Rafferty

OJ-Tryamkin

Benn

 

truthseeker:

If Lu’s recapture can’t be bought out, then I’m fine with just buying out Eriksson.

If they’re in a pinch for re-signing Toffoli, then use the other on Sven. After that, they should be able to manage everything else given how many guys come off the books when EP and Hughes’ contracts kick in.

 

Jabs:

Number one is a no-brainer and LE is a goner.

Number two is one I question. For the sake of competitiveness, I would say no one else gets bought out as Baertschi is coming into his final year and could very well get picked up by another team, or go to Europe to re-prove himself.

Roussel, Sutter, Beagle, and Ferland could all be considered because of their injury histories and the fact that this money is surely needed to keep Marky in the fold, this is essential, and to keep Toffoli who is a better player.

If I had to pick, I would buy out Beagle. He is oft-injured and really looks to have lost a few steps in speed and faceoff ability. Sutter and Gaudette can fill the third and fourth line centre roles.

 

Robby-D:

(Winner of the author’s occasional ‘thanks for noticing’ award)

(Also the winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)

Great photo selection to head off the article! Too bad you couldn’t find one of Loui, Beagle and Myers together.

For the second buyout, no way Benning would cut bait on Myers already. We have decent options with the likes of Baertschi and Beagle, but really none of the ones Benning might actually choose are “excellent buyout options.” I’ve gotta think there are teams where their third-worst contract is worse than our second-worst (excluding Myers). So, maybe we could do a trade, ship out a bad contract like Baer for a more awful one and an asset or pick, and then buy that new awful contract out.

Also, are these buyouts only valid if used this season, or can they be saved for future use? If we have cap space for a period due to LTIR, and the buyout doesn’t need to be used immediately, we could even give that awful contract a chance to perform before buying it out into the next season. If the player plays better, consider flipping them to another team as a “successful recovery project” (before they regress – *someone* will go for it)

(To answer your question, Robby-D, we don’t know what the rules would be regarding any new compliance buyouts – but in the past they had to be used during that same offseason)