Welcome back to WDYTT: Post-Draft Edition, the only hockey column on the internet that never picks a bust in the first round.
This week’s column is precariously placed between the NHL Entry Draft and Friday’s Free Agent Frenzy, which really limits what we’re able to discuss. The picks have already been made, and by the time we get to next week, everything you might have to say about 2020’s UFA class will be woefully out-of-date.
So instead, we’re going to focus on the other question that’s been on everyone’s mind lately. Mainly, is Jim Benning about to go all-in on Oliver Ekman-Larsson, or is he about to say “talk to you later” to rookie GM Bill Armstrong?
But before Benning has his say one way or another, we’d love to hear from you.
So, this week we’re hoping beyond hope that a transaction doesn’t go down the second we post this, and asking you:
Do you want the Canucks to trade for Oliver Ekman-Larsson or not?
Either way, what is the maximum amount you would give up for him?
Which unrestricted free agent on the market would you target this offseason?
Your varied responses are below!
I’m not sure of potential contract terms, but I think the Canucks should take a swing at Tyson Barrie. He had a down year with the defensively-challenged Leafs and, combined with the flat cap, there might be a deal to be done? Three years at $18 mil? He would be fantastic pairing with Quinn.
Maybe Benning can get Lundqvist for a song and a couple of years to share with Demko and let Markstrom walk.
Benning should look for value on the RFA market, where a team has walked away because they can’t keep the player in their cap structure. (ie, the Virtanen and Stecher issues).
No UFAs, but Lightning RFA D-man Erik Cernak is a super-enticing target for an offer sheet. Smarter people than me, like Harman Dayal and Thomas Drance, have already pointed this out. As little as a $4 million offer could potentially handcuff Tampa Bay, unless they can pull off a major salary dump. Perhaps even the threat of an offer sheet could bring them to the table for a potential trade.
The answer really depends on who leaves in free agency which prompts several different scenarios. Albeit, the defence does need to improve, but this team is pretty cap-strapped to do this very well.
Scenario 1 – Marky signs elsewhere then the Canucks should look into the tweener goalie market, these are the guys that are not really starters but not really backups. AKA – the Cam Talbot grouping.
Scenario 2 – One or both of Tanev and Stecher are gone – I say we go all in on Pietrangelo. This is a guy we can win with and instantly be better all around. Can’t afford him you say? Maybe there is a market for Myers out there somewhere and Sutter and maybe even Louie…Dream big, right?
Scenario 3- Unless some others are moved out the bottom-six forward groups will stay about the same. No offense to Gaudette, I think he is developing to be a terrific player, but for now the third line could use a reliable center, what is the market for this? Well there are a few options out there, but maybe Motte move up to can fill that roll better than any of them. In fact, I am certain he can.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
The only UFA the Canucks need is a backup goalie if Markstrom isn’t re-signed and some depth at centre. They have no centres under NHL contract beyond those currently on the roster.
Before the Canucks re-sign anybody they have $14-15 million in cap space to sign a goalie, two RHD, and at least 5 forwards just to fill up the roster (assumes Ferland on LTIR and Baertschi is waived). The $14-15 mil accounts for the $1.7 mil in bonuses carried forward from this past season and the over $4 million in bonuses in 20/21. There is no money to upgrade anything or even give raises if re-signing players. Any cap space to improve must come from signing/elevating cheaper players than those currently in those roles.
The Canucks have two glaring needs to become a championship team; top 4 RHD and bottom-six centremen. Tanev, Beagle, and Sutter must all be upgraded. I don’t think Gaudette will do it. Move him to the wing now.
Through trades, target some RFA or ELC players for those roles now who will be at their peak in 22/23. The cap space really opens up that year to retain a number of very good players. Currently the Canucks look like they will have too many gaps to fill if they wait til then to start filling them.
Benning better stay fairly close to home with any FA signings. Can’t afford Pietrangelo and Barrie is no blueline deity, IMO. They may get a guy or two on the cheap but no bank-breakers, please. Lundquist may be one of the all-time greats, but if he has to replace Marky assuming he’ll have to walk, he won’t accept paper route money. Don’t expect too many changes from GMJB.
We should sign the best available UFA scientist, who can invent a time machine so Benning can go back and not sign Eriksson, Beagle, Roussel, and Ferland.
Some of the responses show why none of us work in pro hockey. Canucks have cap trouble that will require some tricky maneuvering to continue to move forward. I don’t see Barrie, Pietrangelo, or Lundqvist as part of the solution. To lure Pietrangelo out west is going to cost money that is better slotted for EP and QH.
Offer-sheeting Cernak sounds like a good idea, but when offer sheets have been tendered in the past, the old boys group, of which Benning belongs to, gets riled up.
I’ll say it again and take the abuse…but I’d go after Gudas as a #6 or 7. Someone who can scare the crap out of guys and sometimes lay out a great hit. And take a head home as a trophy sometimes, too. They’ll never know what’s coming. We need some fear, we have none.
I`m picking UFA Johan Larsson to be the Canucks new third line center after they trade Beagle, Sutter, and Gaudette to one of the three or four bottom-feeders who need some depth, which the Canucks have. Veteran depth with bad contracts to teams with cap space but no depth: Buffalo, Detroit, Ottawa.
Brenden Dillon. A local 6’4″ defensive defenceman with possession metrics above 50% who’s cheaper and younger than Tanev. What’s not to like?
Beer Can Boyd:
They need to sign one UFA. His name is Jacob Markstrom, and he is the two-time team MVP.