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Which contracts were the most efficient for the 2022-23 Vancouver Canucks?

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Photo credit:© Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
11 months ago
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It’s August and the Vancouver Canucks are currently over the cap by $4,267,917 for the 2023-24 season. They obviously have time to rectify this and find a solution before training camp, with management pretty outspoken about trying to find ways to create cap flexibility.
This article isn’t going to be looking at trying to get under the cap. Rather, we’re going to be taking a look at the most efficient contracts of the 2022-23 season by point production. While some names are going to be where most people will expect them to be, there might be some surprises along the way.
Yes, point production is a surface-level look at the team, and doesn’t accurately reflect the overall contribution a player might have. There isn’t much consideration in terms of deployment, playstyle and even position. But, it does offer a general visualization pf how much points have cost for the Canucks, and which players have been bang for the buck. For this piece, only players with 30 or more games played for the Canucks have been selected, as anything less led to some very skewed numbers. For instance, Akito Hirose’s 3 points in 7 games on his $2,026,667 cap hit last season meant that each point cost approximately $675,556.
Without further ado, here is the 2022-23 Vancouver Canucks contract efficiency table, from most efficient to least:
It’s probably no surprise that Andrei Kuzmenko led the way for the Canucks last season in contract efficiency. His $950,000 AAV was a steal at the time and proved to be even more so as the Russian clicked right away in the NHL. Obviously, Vancouver had to pay up to get him to extend, so look for him to drop slightly in contract efficiency next year.
What is surprising are the names that follow up Kuzmenko’s. Dakota Joshua was someone that most people probably didn’t expect to put up 20 points, and because of his 23 tallies in the 2022-23 season, he finds himself as the second-most efficient contract the Canucks had. Each point that Joshua produced cost $35,869.57, which is not too shabby at all. Cheap depth is something that no team can get enough of, and Joshua really did well in his fourth-line role. Hopefully, that is something he can carry over into the 2023-24 campaign.
Sheldon Dries was thrust into an elevated role thanks to injuries and depth issues for the Canucks last season. He did look out of his depth for chunks of those times, but other than that, Dries still ended up being one of Vancouver’s more efficient producers in cost per point. Nils Åman was in a similar boat, but the younger Swede at least has time and age on his side to prove that he’s more than a fourth-line filler.
With the 2022-23 season being the last year on J.T. Miller’s $5,250,000 AAV deal, it makes sense that he finds himself near the top in contract efficiency. The American was still point-per-game despite his early season struggles and doesn’t appear to be straying from that trend any time soon. In three out of four seasons with the Canucks, Miller has been above point-per-game in production, with 2020-21’s 46 points in 53 games as the lone exception. His new $8,000,000 AAV cap hit kicks in next year, so expect him to take a dip in the efficiency standings.
What’s a little amusing is that Phil Di Giuseppe’s 13 points cost nearly the same as Miller’s 82 per point. Obviously, PDG only played 30 games and was mostly utilized as an injury replacement in the middle 6, but he probably could’ve been even more efficient if given an extended run in the Canucks lineup.
Elias Pettersson’s 102-point campaign might not have made his contract the most efficient on the team’s but only adds more fuel to the fire that he should be extended and soon. The Swede has far outperformed his current deal for what he is giving the Canucks in terms of dollars per point and is due for a raise. For Vancouver, the goal would be to bring him more in line with Quinn Hughes’ value in contract efficiency, which would see Pettersson’s new deal at about $10.5 million if he continues to produce at a 100-point pace. With the cap expected to rise in the coming years, there is no time like the present to secure Pettersson to what could be another steal of a contract with time.
Despite the obvious struggles that Conor Garland had throughout the 2022-23 season, he finds himself as the most contract-efficient winger outside of Andrei Kuzmenko consistently in the top-9. It might speak more to the struggles of Brock Boeser and the limited appearances of Anthony Beauvillier, but it also could suggest that Garland still has more value to this team rather than being dumped with sweetener for salary cap relief.
It’s probably not a surprise to see Tyler Myers and Oliver Ekman-Larsson bringing up the rear in contract efficiency from the 2022-23 season. Myers was marginally better than OEL, but it’s splitting hairs when the team was sinking over $13 million into the pair of them. Neither of them were ever going to be the most efficient points-wise thanks to being defencemen, but the gulf between Myers and the next-worst contract in Riley Stillman was about $80,000. What sucks is that OEL was once a solid defenceman who could put up 40+ points on the season, but was an absolute shell of that in Vancouver. His buyout might have consequences on the team later, with the highest amount of dead cap occurring in the same window that the Canucks will need to re-up Hughes.
Let us know if there were any more interesting placements on this list!

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