Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet that is always above .500.
Speaking of records, by the time this week has ended, the Vancouver Canucks will have played their 28th game of the year, bringing them to exactly the midway mark on this truncated 2021 season.
Even a streak of wins to close out the week won’t bring them back to an even record, and the opposite will surely sound the death knell on their playoff hopes, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t at least a few things to celebrate as the Canucks pass that milestone.
As a team, they might be disappointing, but individual performers haven’t universally dissatisfied.
There have been at least a handful of strong performances up and down the lineup, and enough so that we’re comfortable we can have a discussion of whose performance has been best of all without it descending into negativity.
And with that, we supposed we’ve spilled the proverbial beans, because this week we’re asking:
Who is your Canucks’ midway MVP?
(As in their MVP through the first half of this season)
What sort of contract extensions would you try to negotiate for Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes?
Your opening offers are below!
They are not superstars.
Two years at six if they want to bet on themselves or eight years at $7.5 million MAX.
They are good but Petey isn’t more than a point per game yet and Hughes is primarily a one-way player.
My guess is they both go two-year deals.
And no NMCs.
Want to be able to trade them towards the end of a long-term deal if necessary, if things don’t go well.
One thing is for sure, they will not receive a No Movement Clause on any type of bridge deal. They are only available in your UFA years.
I don’t know much about the complexities of negotiating bridge deals vs longer-term with ELCs, but I would prefer to give Petey and Hughes a one-year deal for around $15 million total. They have all the bad contracts expiring the following season. Use that money to lock them up long-term. This will give management the maximum flexibility to both spend and budget around them.
Also, cash is tight during Covid and both sides benefit from waiting til fans come back before committing long-term.
They should be short-term deals for different reasons. For Pettersson, it would be to allow the cap to go up. For Hughes, it would allow him to show he can play defence. I can not think of a team that has won a Cup with one of their top-four D-men almost leading the league in +/-, for WRONG reasons. Many people, including myself, wanted Gudbranson gone because he is poor at playing D, but Hughes is two minuses from being last in the league and one plus ahead of Gudbranson. I feel Hughes will bounce back. At this point he would be a number four on a good team and trotted out for PP at best.
This will be a very interesting negotiation. I like what Burke said on HNIC a few weeks back, to treat them like the Sedin twins. He did mention the Twins were easy to negotiate with, which won’t be as easy, but having the same representation should make the deals similar. If one player is deemed more valuable, then the agent will have to explain to the other player why?
I have a feeling that a short-term deal will appeal to both sides. After next year Loui/Lou’s contract and penalties are up and hopefully revenue will be back and the cap will jump. Hughes and EP get to have a pretty good pay day for a few years and show that they deserve a long-term deal still in their early 20s.
I would predict a similar three-year deal to Brock’s, with a slightly higher AAV. Three years, $7 million each.
Beer Can Boyd:
Pat Brisson is one of the most high-powered agents currently representing NHL players. There is ZERO chance EP and Hughes are signing long-term for $7.5 million. That is more likely to be their bridge deal number. If they want EP long term, it’s a minimum of $10 million X eight years, Hughes probably a million less for the same term. Were I the new GM, I would give them these deals in a heartbeat. These two are exceptional players, bordering on generational. If the Canucks are ever to make it to the promised land with EP and Hughes though, they are going to need a supporting cast not made up of rapidly declining, 33-year-old free agents on expensive four-year deals. They are also going to need a coach who will commit 100% to playing and teaching young players, and not one coaching for his job, like Green unfortunately is.
North Van Halen:
For so many reasons, for all parties, these have to be bridge deals. Cap restrictions mean the Canucks can’t afford to dole out $20 mil for two guys next season. For both Petey & Hughes, a flat cap, and the fact neither are playing up to their own expectations, means both will want to see what a couple of good seasons and a growing cap will bring.
It would be great if Vancouver could negotiate performance and Covid cap discounted long-term salaries with these two this offseason, but there’s little chance. Whoever’s running the team this offseason will need the cap dollars that signing these two to short-term deals will bring. I also have no doubt both these guys are willing to bet on themselves and how much more they’ll be able to earn with a couple more seasons to pad their resumes and a growing cap instead of a flat one.
Smyl and Snepsts:
I would pay Pettersson long-term at big dollars, but not Hughes. He is not a top-two defenseman and likely never will be. Can’t be played against top lines in his own end. Pettersson gets the points and works his butt off in both ends of the rink.
If Aquaman doesn’t believe Benning is tough enough to negotiate with these guys, he’ll fire him and bring in a ball buster first. You can bet Aquaman will set a hard cap, well under the actual cap, to start recouping losses.
The question is what type of contract would I try to negotiate. The answer is simple: I want deals for as long as possible for as cheap as possible. The idea is to get both these players under a long-term contract, which contain the fewest UFA years to keep the cost down. Including 21/22, with it’s flat cap, in a long-term deal would also reduce AAV and cap hit over the term.
The recent trend of two and three-year bridge deals for top young players is going to prove very tough on team cap space when they expire. This is bound to happen for Boeser’s next contract. It is likely what agents will encourage players to take.
Unfortunately, for reasons discussed ad nauseum, the Canucks don’t have the cap space to fit the price of eight-year deals in this offseason, and no matter who the GM is it won’t be found. If eight-year deals don’t fit, I would try to get one-year deals. With over $15 million in contracts expiring year after next eight-year deals may be affordable. The flat cap will hold down costs somewhat for 21/22. Long-term deals should be pursued the following year.
Once long-term deals are possible, I would try to frontload the contracts somewhat. This is often appealing to younger players and can have a positive impact on tradability later on. The time may come, when Pettersson and Hughes approach 30, trading them for maximum return will be the right move. Structure a deal to optimize future flexibility.
Four or five-year deals are the very worst options. They will be relatively expensive now and may make these players cost prohibitive to re-sign when they expire.
The flat cap and what is turning out to be a dismal season should help the Canucks get both these players under reasonable contracts.
I would go long, no bridge. Hughes at $7.5M and Petey at $9M .
That should allow Canucks room to get some other good players even with Boeser signed.
Once Hughes gets some decent coaching and direction he will be just fine.
Long-term on both, but especially Hughes. If they can come in at around $10 million aav on eight-year deals, that’s fine. If a little less, even better. But I’m concerned about wishful thinking here.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
Due to the uncertain economic environment, I suspect negotiations will again be very tight this offseason and few long-term deals will be seen. I am not projecting that an increase will occur for the 21/22 season, and perhaps beyond. Given this uncertainty, leverage swings to both Pettersson and Hughes, as they have been anointed the saviours of the organization and the true building blocks upon which this team will build moving forward. I’m trying my best to avoid a reference to the solid foundation that is #20, but I digress….
In a normal economic environment, my objective would be to sign both to long-term deals at reasonable rates for to- 50 players. However, astute agent Pat Brisson will push for bridge deals in order to wait out the cap stagnation, while also working towards the accrual of years towards UFA status. Because both Pettersson and Hughes are vital to the organization’s future, they hold all of the leverage and the GM has relatively few cards to play. Of course, I would push both players to accept long term deals with the current Covid cap in place, but why would they agree to such an arrangement? In a typical contract negotiation, there should be some mutual interest in securing a long-term deal as the organization obtains cost certainty for a number years against a rising cap, while the player guarantees himself a handsome payout, tied somewhat to the rising cap. Though both Petey and Hughes will be assuming some injury and performance risk by taking bridge deals, their games are still developing, and they should be able to sign longer term deals for more money once the cap starts rising again.
Although it’s still early in his career, I’m seeing Q. Hughes as a complimentary piece on a really good team. Run the power play, play in offensive situations, but be sheltered so his weak defensive play is not exposed. To pay him as a bonafide #1, all-situation defensemen would be foolhardy. He will get paid a handsome salary and will put up a ton of points, but won’t be the guy on the ice in the last minute protecting a lead.
I’m gonna go the simple route and call it as both players: three years @ $7 million. Same as Barzal, whom neither has outplayed.