An update on the Vancouver Canucks’ cap space post-Mikheyev trade

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
16 days ago
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It isn’t often that a cap space update is required between the end of the NHL season and the beginning of free agency, but then the summer of 2024 is already set to be an offseason like no other.
The condensed nature of this offseason – in which the NHL’s buyout window, Entry Draft, and Free Agent Frenzy will all come and go in the matter of the next few days – means that the headlines are arriving faster than ever. And that’s especially true for the ever-busy front office of the Vancouver Canucks.
In re-signing Filip Hronek and Teddy Blueger, GM Patrik Allvin and Co. have already begun shaping their 2024/25 roster. Another move came down the pike on Wednesday afternoon, and this one was more about clearing space than filling out the depth chart.
Ilya Mikheyev (with 15% retention), the rights to pending UFA Sam Lafferty, and a 2025 second round pick went to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a 2027 fourth rounder.
In doing so, the Canucks cleared more than $4 million off the books for the next two seasons.
So what does that leave them with, heading into the heavy days of the offseason?
Let’s take a took.
At Forward
With Blueger in the fold for two more years at a $1.8 million AAV (a pay decrease, no less), the Canucks now have 10 forwards under contract who seem likely to be on the active NHL roster for the 2024/25 season.
Those forwards are, in descending order of cap hit, Elias Pettersson ($11.6 million), JT Miller ($8 mil), Brock Boeser ($6.65 mil), Conor Garland ($4.95 mil), Blueger ($1.8 mil), Pius Suter ($1.6 mil), Nils Höglander ($1.1 mil), Vasily Podkolzin ($1 mil), Nils Åman ($825K), and Phil di Giuseppe ($775K).
It’s worth mentioning here that both Podkolzin and Åman are no longer waiver-exempt, sharply increasing each player’s odds of making the team out of training camp.
Those ten forwards add up to a total cap hit of $38,300,000.
The Canucks usually run a roster with 13 forwards, so we can expect them to add three more forwards to this set at some point between now and October.
Notable pending departures include Elias Lindholm and Dakota Joshua, not to mention the already-departed Mikheyev and Lafferty.
On Defence
With Hronek signed to an eight-year, $7.25 million AAV extension, the Canucks have their top two defenders signed for the foreseeable future, but not that much beyond that. As of now, the Canucks only have five NHL defenders signed for 2024/25.
Those five are Quinn Hughes ($7.85 million), Hronek ($7.25 mil), Carson Soucy ($3.25 mil), Noah Juulsen ($775K), and Mark Friedman ($775K).
Those five add up to a total cap hit of $19,900,000.
The Canucks usually run a roster with eight defenders, and so they can be expected to add three blueliners to this set at some point between now and October.
Moreover, Juulsen and Friedman are already penciled in as extras, meaning that the Canucks will be looking to add three defenders that slot in somewhere between numbers 3 and 6 on their depth chart.
Notable pending departures include Nikita Zadorov, Tyler Myers, and Ian Cole.
For now, we can also add the injured Tucker Poolman ($2.5 mil) to our count, though with the caveat that it will be possible to move his salary to LTIR if the Canucks need that extra space to operate. That increases the blueline cap total to $22,400,000.
In Net
The Canucks currently only have Thatcher Demko ($5 million) under contract for 2024/25, as well as projected third-stringer Nikita Tolopilo.
Arturs Silovs, widely expected to take on the role of backup this season, is a pending RFA whose rights can be retained with a qualifying offer of just $813,750.
He’ll get signed. But until that happens, the Canucks are spending just Demko’s $5 million on goaltending.
The notable pending departure here is Casey DeSmith.
Dead Cap
Oliver Ekman-Larsson won the Stanley Cup, so maybe it makes sense that he gets a raise. His buyout penalty rises from the $146,667 it was last year to $2,346,667 for the 2024/25 season.
Mikheyev’s 15% retention, totalling $712,500, also hits the books for this season and the next.
Combined, those two hits give the Canucks a total of $3,059,167 of dead cap on the books for next year.
The Total
Add together the $38,300,000 for 10 forwards, the $22,400,000 for five defenders (and one injured one), the $5,000,000 for Demko, and the $3,059,167 in dead cap, and you wind up with a total of $68,759,167 representing 16 active players (and one injured one.)
With the 2024/25 cap ceiling officially set at $88,000,000, that leaves the Canucks with approximately $19,240,833 in spending space left.
They’ve got to spend that $19 million-and-change on adding three forwards, three defenders, and a backup goalie (presumably Silovs) to the roster. They’ll be able to spend an average of about $2.75 million on those seven players.
And, if the Canucks need more space, they can gain an effective $2.5 million more of it, bringing their spending space up to about $21,750,833, by placing Poolman back on LTIR, where he spent all of the 2023/24 season. Exactly how much extra relief space they get from doing this depends on when and how Poolman goes on LTIR.
And as of this writing, that’s all we know. Exactly how that money gets spent will be determined, in large part, over the long weekend to come.
All we can do now is wait and wear out the refresh button.
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