Should the Canucks target these 6 bought out players?

Photo credit:Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Cole
13 days ago
The draft is over, and free agency is right around the corner. Teams are vigorously working the phones, gauging the market to try to clear space so they can improve their current roster. There were 16 trades during the previous week, including 10 from Days One and Two of the NHL entry draft.
However, if teams are unable to offload their overpaid players, there’s a short three-day window (June 27th – June 30th) in which teams can buy out the remainder of that player’s contract. Now, teams are still not off the hook of the contract. If the player is over 26 years old, the team is still obligated to pay two-thirds of that player’s deal. If the player is below 26, the team remains on the hook for one-third of the deal. The buyout is spread out twice the length of the years remaining on the contract. For example, if a player is 28 years old and makes $3 million per season for two more years, the team will pay $2 million for four more years.
During that window this season, six players were bought out. Should the Vancouver Canucks make a run at any of these new unrestricted free agents? Let’s dig a little deeper and find out.

Jeff Skinner

The Buffalo Sabres bought out the remaining three years of Jeff Skinner’s contract, paying him $9 million annually.
With the help from our friends over at PuckPedia, we can see that this will cost Buffalo:
Skinner, 32, scored 24 goals and 46 points in 74 games with the Sabres last season. The former seventh overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft has been scoring goals since he entered the league. He’s scored 20 goals in 10 of his 14 seasons in the league and has been a perennial top-six forward. Skinner just surpassed 1000 games last season and has 357 goals and 670 points in his NHL career.
Being just one year removed from a 40-goal, 82-point season, Skinner could be an intriguing option for the Canucks top six. While he hasn’t shown the ability to drive his own line, he has been a very nice compliment to star centremen in Buffalo, such as Jack Eichel and Tage Thompson. Skinner is known for his blistering shot and ability to find the open areas of the net. While his defensive game may not be up to Rick Tocchet’s standards, many players have proven to find that extra layer of play in his system. And considering his cap hit — due to him still being paid by the Sabres — would likely come lower than his worth, may be an intriguing option for the top six.
If the Canucks miss out on the top-free agents forwards like Jake Guentzel, Steven Stamkos, Sam Reinhart and Jonathan Marchessault, could Skinner be the answer to the question: Who should play with Elias Pettersson next season?

Cam Atkinson

The Philadelphia Flyers bought out the remaining year on Cam Atkinson’s contract, paying him $5.875 million annually.
With the help from our friends over at PuckPedia, we can see that this will cost Philadelphia:
Atkinson, 35, scored 13 goals and 28 points in 70 games with the Flyers last season. The 5’8 forward has been a consistent 40-point pace scorer (outside of last season) during his 12-year NHL career. However, he’s struggled defensively in Philadelphia since John Tortorella took over, finishing with a -22 rating last season. Atkinson has scored 249 goals and 480 points in his 770-game NHL career.
If Atkinson were to sign in Vancouver, I question where he would play. Vancouver’s biggest need is a top-six forward, and with Atkinson in the latter stages of his career, he may not have the foot speed to keep up that high in the lineup. However, once Nils Höglander graduated to the top line, Vancouver did struggle with their depth scoring.
Could Atkinson help bring some offence to the Canucks fourth line?

Adam Boqvist

The Columbus Blue Jackets bought out the remaining year on Adam Boqvist’s contract, paying him $2.6 million annually.
With the help from our friends over at PuckPedia, we can see that this will cost Columbus:
This is the only circumstance in which we see a player under 26 get bought out. This means that the Blue Jackets are only on the hook for a third of his remaining contract, and they actually save $67K towards their salary cap next season.
Boqvist, 23, scored one goal and 10 points in 35 games with the Blue Jackets last season. The offensive defenceman was selected one pick after Quinn Hughes in the 2018 NHL draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, but things haven’t worked out as well for the Swede. Despite playing on two of the bottom-dwelling teams in the league, Boqvist has 85 points in 209 games in his young five-year career.
For a rebuilding team like Columbus, seeing them buy out a young defenceman at a cheap cap hit was odd. But a perfect opportunity for the Canucks to pounce on a defenceman who’s still very much trying to find his game. Vancouver has the top-four of their defence corps solidified, with the bottom pairing still needing to be assembled.
Why not take a swing at a puck-moving offensive defenceman looking for a fresh start on a competitive team to round out their blue line?

Ryan Suter

The Dallas Stars bought out the remaining year on Ryan Suter’s contract, paying him $3.65 million annually.
With the help from our friends over at PuckPedia, we can see that this will cost Dallas:
Suter, 39, scored two goals and 17 points for the Stars last season. But what is most remarkable about the aging veteran is despite the tread on his tires playing his 19-year NHL career, he’s managed to play a full 82-game season in three years with Dallas. Suter has been a very durable defenceman, playing an outstanding 1444 NHL games with 105 goals and 681 points.
But is a 39-year-old defenceman really what the Canucks are looking for?

Nate Schmidt

The Winnipeg Jets bought out the remaining year on Nate Schmidt’s contract, paying him $5.95 million annually.
With the help from our friends over at PuckPedia, we can see that this will cost Winnipeg:
Schmidt, 32, scored two goals and 14 points in 63 games for the Jets last season. The undrafted free agent showed promise as an offensive defenceman when he burst onto the seam after being selected in the expansion draft from the Vegas Golden Knights. Schmidt became the number one option for a Stanley Cup Final attendee but has since fallen off. Last season, he fell to bottom pairing minutes, averaging 16:48 minutes of ice time for the first time since the move to Vegas.
Canucks fans have already seen the Nate Schmidt experiment attempted and failed in Vancouver. The offensive defenceman was brought in for a secondary option behind Hughes. However, he only mustered up five goals and 15 points with a -7 rating in 54 games. Schmidt lasted just one season before moving on, and it might not be an exciting option to circle back on.

Jack Campbell

The Edmonton Oilers bought out the remaining three years of Jack Campbell’s contract, paying him $5 million annually.
With the help from our friends over at PuckPedia, we can see that this will cost Edmonton:
Campbell, 32, only managed to appear in five games last season, finishing with a 1-4 record, a 4.50 goals against average and a .873 save percentage. It’s safe to say he really struggled last season, and it all started on opening night against the Canucks. Campbell allowed four goals and was pulled before halfway through the second period. And by November 6th, he was sent down to the Oilers AHL affiliate, Bakersfield Condors. But that poor play extended into the AHL as well. In his debut with the Condors, he allowed four goals on twenty shots and was never called back up to Edmonton.
It has been reported that the Canucks are interested in a backup goalie…so maybe? Nikita Tolipilo might need a veteran to back him up in Abbotsford. Vancouver should likely shop elsewhere if they’re looking for an NHL-calibre backup goaltender.
So what do you think, Canucks fans? Would you want the Canucks to sign any of these six players who were just bought out?

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