One of the more important items on Jim Benning’s to-do list is out of the way early as the club announced yesterday that Thatcher Demko has signed a contract extension. The deal will pay the goaltender $1.050 Million over the next two seasons.
It’s been a year where the management of this team has taken some hits, many of them well-deserved. This is one where I am happy to say that he did good and should be given credit. He’s not overpaying Demko, but giving him a deal that lets him know he has two years to show them he’s ready to take that next step. They have one more season with Jacob Markstrom at $3,666,667 before he becomes a UFA, and if he can replicate the performance he put in this past season, I wouldn’t object to a reasonable short term deal. If Demko does well, there’s the option to trade Markstrom, or trade Demko, and given the way Michael DiPietro is playing in the OHL playoffs right now, the future for the Canucks in terms of goaltending may be turning into the brightest spot. We’ll also get to see how Jake Keilly does in Utica next season.
The Canucks have a ton of cap space coming up, with a number of free agents they’re likely to walk away from, and also some opportunities to shed some salary, or perhaps weaponize the cap space and take on a veteran on a contract that could be turned into a potential trade down the road or even a way to acquire more picks. It’s not an easy road that lies ahead for the Canucks braintrust, and I’d be lying if I said I was confident he won’t screw this up. They need help on the wings, and the defence needs an overhaul, and the bottom 6 is a mess. If he can’t do a reasonable job trying to repair the damage he’s done, it could be another long season for the Canucks.
Next up it’s a Brock Boeser extension, and decisions on RFA’s Markus Granlund, Tyler Motte, Josh Leivo, Nikolay Goldobin, Ben Hutton, Josh Teves and Derrick Pouliot, as well as UFA rearguards Alexander Edler and Luke Schenn. That, and watching carefully to see what Roberto Luongo does this summer.
Let us know which of the RFA/UFA crop you’d like to see re-signed in the comments. Personally, I think Leivo’s earned another look, and get Teves down to Utica. I think they’re not ready to give up on Goldy yet, amazingly, and Schenn is a good and cheap bottom pairing option. If they’re not going to do something about Christopher Tanev and bring Edler back then you have to clear out Hutton, but if they go for the full on radical re-design of the back end, Hutton as a bottom 4 could be affordable.