Does the Erik Karlsson deal re-open the door to a Tyler Myers trade to San Jose, and is it still worth pursuing for the Canucks?

Photo credit:© Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
8 months ago
Be sure to check out the latest NHL lines with online sportsbook Betway!
Finally, the trade it seems the entire NHL was holding its breath for has happened, and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
Erik Karlsson has been traded away by the San Jose Sharks.
Sunday’s three-team transaction was easily one of the biggest in years, both in terms of the number of players involved and the importance thereof.
Nine players, along with three high draft picks, moved hands in the exchange. But, if we’re being totally honest here, there’s only one piece in the mix that’s a true difference-maker, and that’s Karlsson.
They ain’t gonna call it the Rem Pitlick trade, after all.
The impending and inevitable moving on of Karlsson had, for a time, seemed to force the rest of the league into a holding pattern. Karlsson is the reigning Norris Trophy winner. He’s the first 100-point defender since Brian Leetch in ’92. He singlehandedly shifts the balance of power so much in the league that it’s perfectly understandable why the rest of the NHL was waiting until he had a new home to continue conducting the rest of their summer business.
But now Karlsson is a Penguin, and the tail-end of the 2023 offseason can proceed.
One of those teams potentially waiting it out? The Vancouver Canucks, who reportedly had a deal in place with the Sharks earlier in the summer that fell through.
If you believe those in the know, the deal was something along the lines of Tyler Myers for Kevin Labanc in a one-for-one exchange. But given that, at the time, the Sharks still had all of Karlsson’s $11.5 million cap hit on the books, it’s understandable why they were hesitant to add salary. Combine that with the litany of other reasons why a trade might not happen, and the transaction appeared dead in the water, with GM Patrik Allvin even going as far as to publicly pour cold water on it.
But one has to wonder if the door to such a trade has opened once again with Karlsson now departed.
Salary-wise, little has changed for the Sharks and their 2023/24 ledgers. Karlsson may be gone, but $1.5 million of his contract remains via retention. The Sharks also picked up the expiring $4.5 million AAV of Mike Hoffman and the two remaining years of Mikael Granlund’s $5 million AAV in the trade.
Put that all together and you’re already at $11 million again, meaning the Sharks saved just $500K off the cap for this upcoming season. That’ll go up to $5 million as soon as next year, and $10 million for the two years after that, but for now the savings are minimal.
That leaves San Jose with just a hair under $4 million in cap space as of this writing, with a full roster of 23 players and Luke Kunin on the IR.
Which, an enterprising Canucks fan might recognize, is not enough to accommodate Myers’ full $6 million cap hit. Even if you boot a defender off the roster to open up a space for Myers, and boot a forward off to accommodate Kunin’s return, it’s not quite enough to get to $6 million in space.
Which is not mutually exclusive to a deal getting done. A Myers trade was always going to involve some retention or some salary coming back, so nothing has really changed.
But with that little bit of extra wiggle room and that whole bunch of roster flexibility they just opened, the possibilities for a trade may have expanded.
Let’s call Myers-for-Labanc firmly off the table. Such a swap would give the Canucks an extra $1.25 million in cap space for the upcoming season, which is exactly what they need to squeeze under the cap themselves with Tucker Poolman’s contract still scheduled for LTIR placement.
The Sharks could easily afford the difference, and they could probably use Myers on RHD with Karlsson and his 25 minutes a night out the door.
But we have to imagine that this trade was proposed when Vancouver still thought it would move on from one or more of its existing wingers this offseason. With Brock Boeser, Anthony Beauvillier, and Conor Garland still on the roster, in addition to Andrei Kuzmenko, Ilya Mikheyev, Vasily Podkolzin, and Nils Höglander, there’s simply no room or need for Labanc, another winger.
Especially not in exchange for a right-handed defender. For all Myers’ faults, he’s easily number two on the Canucks’ RHD depth chart right now, and even if one of Ian Cole or Carson Soucy switches sides, Myers will still be needed to play a role on the bottom pairing.
Currently, the next RHD up on the chart is Noah Juulsen.
Unless they really, truly feel they need the cap space and can’t get it any other way, a Myers-for-Labanc trade no longer makes sense.
But what about a different swap?
The Sharks did just pick up Jan Rutta in the Karlsson trade, a 33-year-old veteran RHD and multi-time Stanley Cup champion. Rutta is signed for two more years at an average of $2.75 million.
Cap-wise, the Sharks could easily accommodate the difference. Roster-wise, it makes sense, too. The Canucks need someone reliable and cost-effective to play below, say, Filip Hronek and Cole on the right side. Reliable and cost-effective is the anti-definition of Myers, but it fits Rutta’s reputation to a ‘T.’
Meanwhile, the Sharks just need someone to eat mondo minutes on the blueline. Rutta has averaged under 17 minutes a night throughout his career. Myers has averaged more than 22 minutes a night.
The fit is there, if both teams choose to see it. The Sharks could even look at Myers as a Trade Deadline investment, with the intention of eventually retaining on him and flipping him for a draft pick.
Making this trade would add salary to the Canucks’ 2024/25 books, but not that much, and in an area where they don’t have any prospects bursting onto the scene.
Of course, there are other, simpler options available, too. Myers could get dealt to the Sharks with a little retention attached, negating the need for a return salary and potentially earning the Canucks a small sweetener.
Or, he could be swapped for a slightly cheaper defender like Nikolai Knyzhov.
Or, the Canucks could just choose to shut the door on Myer-to-San-Jose altogether, and continue to accept him as a part of their 2023/24 roster.
The amount of cap space that they need to open up is minor, and can be accomplished in a multitude of ways. Maybe, if they can manage it financially, the smartest play is to keep Myers as a Trade Deadline investment, pulling in a second round pick or so in March for their patience.
In summation, we’d say that the Karlsson trade has indeed potentially opened up the door again for Myers to the Sharks, but only if both teams were still particularly interested in making it happen.
If they’ve moved on, we should, too. And if they haven’t, we will probably hear about it soon enough.


Check out these posts...