With Anthony Beauvillier off the books, the Canucks have enough cap space to either add or accrue

Photo credit:© Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
6 months ago
The late breaking news on Tuesday, just hours before they took on and defeated the Anaheim Ducks, was that the Vancouver Canucks had traded Anthony Beauvillier to the Chicago Blackhawks for a fifth round pick.
But what they really traded Beauvillier for was cap space. And a lot of it.
The key ingredient in this transaction, as far as the Canucks were concerned, was not the mid-round draft pick they received in return for the embattled Beauvillier. It was the fact that they were able to send his full $4.15 million cap hit out the door without having to retain on it or take back any salary.
In this, the final year of the flat cap era, $4.15 million in cap space is a lot. It’s an awful lot. And though cap space can be spent on a lot of different things, what it first and foremost buys the Canucks is the luxury of options.
Let’s take stock of the new situation.
Following the Beauvillier trade, the Canucks have 13 forwards on their roster (including the injured Pius Suter), 11 defenders (including the long-term injured Carson Soucy, Guillaume Brisebois, and Tucker Poolman), and two goalies.
Those players, combined with the buyout penalty for Oliver Ekman-Larsson and the carryover bonuses from Andrei Kuzmenko give the Canucks a current, total cap hit of $84,265,417. That’s just $765,417 over the current cap ceiling of $83.5 million.
Being that far over the cap is not really an issue. With Soucy, Brisebois, and Poolman on LTIR, the Canucks have up to $6.525 million in potential relief space if they need it (which they did, when Beauvillier was on the roster). But now, with Beauvillier off the books, the Canucks have the potential to do something they haven’t done in years as soon as a couple more players get healthy:
Accrue cap space.
In order to accrue cap space, essentially meaning to build up cumulative spending room prior to the Trade Deadline, a team first needs to be under the cap ceiling. Simple enough. The Canucks, however, have been “in LTIR” ever since Micheal Ferland’s career came to an end, meaning they’ve been over the cap since then and have needed to rely on their LTIR relief space to become cap compliant.
But those days could be at an end. Here’s how.
First, let’s imagine that no one else gets injured anytime soon, especially not Ilya Mikheyev and Tyler Myers, who both left Tuesday’s game with serious ouchies.
Next, let’s imagine that Suter is the first to return to health. He’s currently listed as day-to-day, and is only on Injured Reserve, so his cap hit still “counts.” He can rejoin the forwards, bringing the total on the active roster to 13.
Then comes the return of Soucy. That would necessitate the demotion of one of the eight defenders on the active roster; probably Akito Hirose or Cole McWard, who do not require waivers. And by demoting either, the Canucks would ditch more than that $$765,417 amount they are currently over the cap, and thus slip below that $83.5 million ceiling for the first time in a long time.
Again, to be clear, this would mean that the Canucks would finally be under the cap, with Poolman’s (and Brisebois’) full cap hits factored in. Which means the Canucks could then immediately start accruing cap. Sure, it’d only be a few thousand per day, but it could add up to something significant by the Trade Deadline.
The amount of accrual could also significantly increase if the Canucks were to send down both Hirose and McWard and roll with seven D for a while.
Of course, the accrual path requires the team to stay relatively healthy and for no additions to be made to the roster. Neither seem particularly likely. In fact, the real reason the Canucks may have been eager to get Beauvillier off the books is not so that they can start accruing cap, but so that they have more room to spend it on an acquisition.
Let’s rewind the cap.
As we said at the outset, right now the Canucks have approximately $6.5 million in potential LTIR relief space via Soucy, Brisebois, and Poolman. That’s ample room to add pretty much anyone the Canucks can realistically get their hands on right now.
But not all of that space should be spent freely. Soucy will be back within a matter of weeks, so half of that room is more-or-less spoken for.
The Canucks will also want to factor some wiggle room into the mix. Earlier this season, they experienced difficulty calling up their full complement of players due to cap constraints. Leaving an extra million or so — ideally about $1.6 million, enough to accommodate two recalls — is vital to continuing to cover short-term injuries as the season wears on.
But remember, too, that as players return or are added to the roster, those already recalled, like Hirose and McWard, get demoted and come off the books for the time being, opening up a little more space.
We’ll save you the speculative math. Just know that what it all adds up to is the Canucks now having room to add a player to their roster with a salary of around $2.5 million, while having enough space for Soucy’s return, and maintaining that $1.6 million in wiggle room necessary for call-ups.
They can have it all.
That would mean being in LTIR still, and thus not accruing any cap, but that’s nothing new. The point is that the roster can now be improved upon without taking anything away from it, and that’s pretty significant for a team that had to play down a skater earlier in the year.
Now, all that GM Patrik Allvin and Co. need to do is find a player worth spending a couple of million on.
Wait…is that Ethan Bear’s music we hear?

Check out these posts...