6 Canucks who could be easier to trade in the offseason than they were at the 2023 Trade Deadline
Photo credit:© Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
6 months ago
We’re now a week past a 2023 Trade Deadline that most Vancouver Canucks fans would describe as underwhelming.
On the one hand, the Canucks made six transactions in the month leading up to Deadline Day, the most of any NHL franchise.
On the other hand, fewer players were dealt away than most were expecting, and the Canucks are still overburdened in both cap and roster space for next season.
It seems like something’s got to give, but that obviously didn’t mean that something had to give at the deadline. There’s a lot of time between now and when the puck drops on the 2023/24 season, and in the interim, the Canucks should still be able to do a great deal of business, should they so choose.
In fact, GM Patrik Allvin and Co. may find that the job of trimming their roster is much easier in the summertime than it was in-season, especially with so many factors at play that are about to make a handful of key Canucks more tradeable.
The wildly-inconsistent Myers is number one on this list, with a bullet. There was some chatter about his moving at or around the Trade Deadline, but it’s also been well-known that Myers has one additional $5 million signing bonus left on his contract, due to be paid this summer. Any team trading for him now would have been on the hook for that full $5 million.
As soon as that bonus is paid out, however, Myers becomes a much more appealing asset. At that point, he’s only on the books for $1 million in actual salary throughout the remainder of 2023/24, bringing him right to UFA status.
A veteran RHD with size who can munch minutes (just don’t ask how thoroughly those minutes might be chewed), and all available for the low, low price of $1 million? That’s something that is going to have a surprising amount of appeal around the league this summer, even with all of Myers’ glaring flaws.
In fact, we’d argue that as soon as that bonus gets paid, Myers probably becomes tradeable without any retention. The only thing that might get in the way is Myers’ limited no-trade clause, which allows him to specify ten teams to which he will not be traded. If that proves a problem, however, the Canucks can just offer up as much retention on Myers as is necessary to get the job done. At a discounted cap hit and a dirt-cheap salary, there should be more than ten suitors out there for Myers’ services.
This one requires some delicate timing, and some even more delicate decision-making.
As soon as July 1 comes and goes, Miller will have begun his seven-year, $56 million extension. A full no-movement clause will also kick in at that point, and remain in place for the next four seasons running.
As soon as that happens, Miller becomes significantly more difficult to move, for obvious reasons. Thus, if there’s going to be one last chance to trade him, it’s going to come in the period between the playoffs ending and the Free Agent Frenzy beginning.
There was a lot of smoke surrounding Miller at the Trade Deadline, which could be seen as an indication that his seven-year extension isn’t as much of a barrier to a deal as some might assume. Still, the assumption should be that the sorts of teams willing to trade for an extended Miller are the sorts of teams that would struggle to sign him, or a player of his ilk, as an unrestricted free agent. In other words, they’re the markets that Miller might not be willing to go to when his NMC is in effect. In other, other words, that means that the Canucks can either deal Miller before the NMC kicks in, or accept that he’ll be part of their roster for the foreseeable future.
And there is at least a little reason to think that he’ll be more desirable to teams in that interim period than he was at the deadline. With the revelation that the Canucks were not allowed to just retain on the remaining portion of Miller’s current contract, and would have had to retain on that and his full extension or nothing, it was tricky for teams to accommodate his salary in-season, but it’s always easier to pull off in the offseason.
As well, the UFA centre market is already running dry. Bo Horvat and Dylan Larkin are signed already, and there aren’t much in the way of “big names” left, if any. A team in need of a centre could look at that market, then look at Miller, and determine that they’d be better off making a trade than signing someone inferior.
Most accept that the Canucks will have to move on from at least one of their scoring wingers in the offseason, and most suspect that Boeser is the most likely of the bunch to be moved.
There were plenty of rumours surrounding Boeser at the deadline, but none seemed to gain much traction. That’s almost certainly because of Boeser’s two full remaining years of a $6.65 million cap hit, to say nothing of fitting in that sort of salary partway through a season.
But as we said in the Miller bit, making this sort of deal is always simpler in the summer. The other team can shed salary easier, two years of an overpriced contract is more appealing than two-years-and-change, and the Canucks can probably be more convinced to retain a little salary.
There’s temptation to hang onto Boeser for another full year and then deal him as a rental once he hits the final year of his contract. To that end, it should be noted that Boeser, too, has a ten-team no-trade clause that kicks in as of the summer of 2024. After that, things get more complicated. They’re already complicated, but not so much that Boeser couldn’t find a new home this offseason.
You can take much of what we said about Boeser and apply it to Garland. Some might consider Garland overpaid, but probably not as much as Boeser, and shaving an extra year off that contract should automatically make it more appealing. There are no NTCs or signing bonuses to worry about in Garland’s contract, although his actual salary does increase over the next two seasons, with his cap hit remaining the same.
Garland could draw more interest in the offseason for two reasons: less of a contract to take on, and his significantly improved play under coach Rick Tocchet. Garland is finally starting to look like he did when he first arrived in Vancouver again, and that player is eminently moveable. If he keeps this up throughout the rest of the season, folks will come calling on Garland, and the Canucks will listen.
Obviously, some things will need to be cleared up before anything regarding Pearson is discussed, and his personal health is first and foremost.
If Pearson is unable to recover from his botched hand surgeries, he’ll remain on LTIR for the remaining year of his contract. That would make it difficult, but not impossible, for the Canucks to get under the cap ceiling and start accumulating actual cap space in 2023/24.
If Pearson is able to return to play, however, things get awkward. One has to assume that the relationship between player and team is damaged, at the very least, and perhaps irreparably.
Thankfully, in that scenario, Pearson should be entirely possible to move during the summer. He’ll probably receive a clean bill of health sometime after the Free Agent Frenzy has come and gone, at which point he starts to look like a nice consolation piece for any team that sought veteran depth and came up short. With just one year left on his contract, Pearson doesn’t break the bank, and the Canucks could retain up to 50% of his cap hit and perhaps turn him into a genuine asset.
Again, this is all hypothetical, and dependent on Pearson’s health entirely. It’s just nice to know that the Canucks have options.
In all honesty, Dermott is here mostly to pad out the list. He wasn’t really tradeable at the Trade Deadline because he was injured, but it seems entirely possible that Dermott will return to the lineup sometime prior to the regular season concluding.
In that case, and assuming he doesn’t get re-injured, Dermott should have some value around the league. Not the third round pick value that the Canucks gave up to get him, but some. Dermott is a restricted free agent after this season, and any team could retain his services with a fairly reasonable qualifying offer of just over $1.5 million.
The Canucks themselves don’t seem to have Dermott in their long-term plans. Recouping some sort of mid-round pick, and giving him a fresh start in a new city, might be for the best for all involved.
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