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The condensed nature of the 2024 offseason makes the Canucks’ decision to buy out Ilya Mikheyev this week easier

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
16 days ago
The Florida Panthers have won the 2024 Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history.
More importantly, for fans of offseason transactions, their winning of the Cup triggered a 48-hour countdown to the opening of the buyout period and, thus, the real official start of the 2024 offseason.
 
And what an offseason it will be. What a condensed offseason. The Stanley Cup isn’t normally handed out this late, right on the cusp of July. The spread-out nature of the Cup Finals has resulted in a rather cramped summer of major NHL events, and that should, in turn, lead to teams like the Vancouver Canucks being extra-prepared to make some quick decisions.
So, 48 hours after the Cup Final wrapped – approximately 8:00PM PST on Wednesday, June 27, the buyout window opens, and teams are free to buy their players out…but not for long. The buyout window closes up against at 2:00PM PST on Sunday, June 30.
Within that same timeframe comes the NHL Entry Draft, considered by many to be the trade deadline of the summer. Expect ample player movement this upcoming weekend with the flat cap era finally over.
And then, the Free Agent Frenzy begins – and largely concludes – on Monday, July 1. Within less than a week here, the Canucks and all the other NHL teams are going to need to have the majority of their roster changes sorted out, decided upon, and conducted.
There is not much time to operate. It’s the sort of tight schedule that all but necessitates some very quick decisions.
Which is all the more reason why the first decision made is now a slightly easier one, and that decision is whether or not to buy out Ilya Mikheyev.
And the answer is ‘yes.’
Mikheyev hit headlines last week when GM Patrik Allvin and Co. gave agent Dan Milstein permission to seek out a trade with other teams.
That this was the last we heard of this is probably an indication that their search was not fruitful.
With no trade on the horizon, and only a handful of days left to decide, buying out Mikheyev becomes almost too tantalizing a possibility to pass up.
Between now and a week from now, the Canucks are going to have to sign an enormous amount of contracts. Whether that’s in the form of still-being-negotiated extensions for pending UFAs like Nikita Zadorov or Dakota Joshua, or replacements for those players and other departing free agents, ink is going to be spilled and a lot of money is going to be handed out.
And until the offers actually start flying around on Canada Day, the Canucks won’t exactly have the luxury of knowing who they’re signing, for how long, and, most crucially, for how much.  That’s all still up in the air.
Which is why the $3.6 million in immediate cap savings offered up by Mikheyev looks so tempting.
It’s $3.6 million in savings this next year, then $2.6 million in 2024/25. At that point, Mikheyev’s contract would have naturally ended, and so the next two seasons are pure cap penalty, but it’s only a penalty of $1.55 million, something that the impending increases to the cap ceiling will easily swallow up.
It’s this coming offseason that really counts. And, as we’ve laid out, that means it’s this coming week that really counts.
If the Canucks can sort out enough money to build their roster the way they want it right here, right now, they can handle anything further in the offseasons to come. The cap is going to keep going up. Prospects will come in and fill roles for cheap. Further bad contracts, ideally, won’t need to be dumped.
This is the crunchy summer. This is the one in which free agent contracts need to be signed in the double-digits. This is the one in which the cap increase is already spoken for via internal raises. This is the one in which there are holes all over the roster and no super-obvious candidates ready to fill them.
And this is the summer in which all relevant decisions have to be made over the period of a single long weekend.
So, the decision looks pretty simple, really. Sure, Allvin and Co. could wait around all offseason for a Mikheyev trade to materialize. Or they could hang on to him and try to rehabilitate his reputation and his trade value over the start of the next season.
Or, they could buy him out now (or slightly-less-than-48-hours from now, to be exact) and instantly take $3.6 million of pressure off what is already guaranteed to be a pressure-packed summer.
Put it that way, and the first decision of the condensed 2024 offseason becomes one of the easiest. Buy Mikheyev out now, and wherever the chips fall from here on out in the days to come, at least they fall a little easier.

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