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Could Canucks RFA’s go the Ben Hutton Route? | Silky N’ Filthy Podcast

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Two BC boys on the Canucks find themselves in a similar situation to Ben Hutton from last year.

Washington Capitals v Vancouver Canucks
Jake Virtanen #18 of the Vancouver Canucks is congratulated by teammate Troy Stecher #51 after scoring during their NHL game against the Washington Capitals at Rogers Arena October 25, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Derek Cain/NHLI via Getty Images

Quick question for the readers, what are you more interested in?

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    Stanley Cup Final
    (13 votes)
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    Canucks Offseason Banter
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On the latest episode of Silky N’ Filthy, my co-host Kyle Bhawan and myself admit to being bad hockey pod hosts.

Between the two of us, we’ve consumed less than 50% of the Stanley Cup Finals. While that’s bad for two hosts of a hockey podcast, we’re certainly not alone.

According to reports in both Canada and the United States, ratings for the Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final were some of the lowest since the 2004-05 lockout.

Why exactly are the ratings in the tank? Kyle and I get into that, while I catch-up him on what’s actually happened over the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final.

Could Virtanen, Stecher go the Ben Hutton Route?

With an impeding cap crunch, you have to wonder if two current RFA’s on the Canucks could go unqualified as the offseason approaches.

That’s exactly what happened with Ben Hutton last summer. His arbitration case was daunting after he played more than 22 minutes per night for the Canucks in 2018-19. Because of that, the Canucks didn’t qualify him, and he became an RFA, signing for a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Kings.

The issue here is that, if the player goes unqualified, that isn’t good news for the relationship. For that reason, I don’t see this happening with Richmond native Troy Stecher, who’s next contract shouldn’t come at a number much above his $2.4 million cap hit from last year. My guess is that the Canucks and Stecher’s camp figure this out before arbitration.

It’s also a more prudent decision for the Canucks to keep a younger Stecher who’s still in his prime, compared to an aging vet in Tanev who’s play is quietly declining.

The Virtanen situation on the other hand is a different story. Based on his 18 goals and 36 points from this season, he probably has an arbitration case in the $3 million range. That’s likely too rich for a Canucks team already loaded with middling, bottom-six players.

Other NHL teams see this as a potential scenario as well, especially after Jim Benning came out and ripped Virtanen publicly.

Because of that, and because the team doesn’t have much leverage in trading him, I bet there’s a good chance that Virtanen goes unqualified, and walks as a UFA.

For more on the RFA situation and some hilarity based on the fact that our Stanley Cup interest is waning, tune into the latest episode of Silky N’ Filthy.

Truly, your home for (some) puck talk and (a lot) of bullshit.