During Canucks general manager Jim Benning’s media availability to discuss the team’s free agent moves, he eluded to an incoming restricted free agent deal to accompany this morning’s transactions. It would seem that the player in question was restricted free agent winger Sven Baertschi.
The Canucks and Baertschi agreed to a three-year pact for $10.1-million, with an annual average value of $3.367-million dictating his cap hit. Baertschi was a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, coming off of a two-year pact valued at $1.8-million. This contract nearly doubles his previous figure in cash and adds an additional year of security in term.
At first glance, the deal seems like a win-win for both sides. Benning was able to lock Baertschi in at almost the exact dollar figure that Hockey-Graphs Editor Matt Cane’s highly-predictive model suggested he was in line for on a three-year deal, which includes one year of unrestricted free agency.
In an injury-shortened last season, Baertschi fared relatively well on the scoresheet. The Suisse winger finished his campaign early with 29 points (14 goals and 15 assists) in 53 games, good for a full season rate of 45 points, the best mark of his young career.
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As I noted in a mid-season article for The Athletic Vancouver, though, the percentages at play suggested that these totals were a touch inflated due to on-ice variance beyond Baertschi’s control. Only further complicating matters was the fact that his team was routinely hemmed into the defensive zone according to the underlying metrics I rely on most frequently for my analysis.
Based on the information available to me, a trade seemed the most prudent course for the Canucks. Some of what informed that opinion was concerns about Benning overpaying based on numbers that don’t hold up under further scrutiny. A deal like the one that the two agreed to today is a perfectly fine compromise for the Canucks and Baertschi alike, it seems.