Windows are usually closed. Some windows never open. The latter seems to be the Canucks and their road to playoff success. Since the salary cap has been introduced, teams have had to juggle talent and salary in order to try and get into the playoffs. In a lot of cases teams have had success due to having young players with low entry salaries intermixed with the higher salaries of a superstar or two. For four years now, the Canucks have known that they’re at the point where the window is open a crack and they need to jump in and try and find success with the players they have, before the salaries of their young players get too high.
I don’t want to get too much into what that team looks like, I actually want to talk about what happens when the window closes with these young players. As I see it, there are 5 players that make up this “young core” and it will impossible to keep them together for the next three years, unless the salary cap starts increasing again. Those players are Petey, Hughes, Brock, Demko and Bo. I know some of you don’t think Bo is young, but he is below 30, so I counted him.
Andrew did a great job of talking about the different variations that could happen with Hughes and his next contract in this article. The Canucks hold all of the power at this point with him, but how this relationship develops, may have a direct impact on his future with the Canucks. I would think Hughes signs the one year deal
I think we will have to wait until middle to late August to know what happens with Petey. His contract is a hard one to work out because of his injuries. I have seen all the projections on Twitter about his “value”, but in reality, Petey has never played a full season and never broke 70 points. Matt Barzal might be a good comparison for Petey’s contract. Barzal’s bridge deal has an AAV of $7 million/yr over three years, but his salary actually goes $4 million, $7 million and then $10 million.
Now here is where the window might catch a few fingers in it. Brock has a new contract coming to him next year and the Canucks do not have the cap space to pay him, unless other salary is shed. Brock had the type of year that even I was happy with. He led the team in scoring and his defensive game improved and he played a whole season….shortened as it was. If this season is as good as last point-wise, he will get $7 million/yr in arbitration.
Now we get to the captain. Bo has 2 years left on his contract, and then he becomes an UFA. Bo will be 28years then and we all know that stats people get nervous around that age...is he too old to be good after 30? This season will really determine his value for his final contract year. If Bo is freed up offensively this year, like many predict, and he scores 30+ goals, his contract value will be $6.5 million plus. That might be too steep to pay for a 2nd line center….on a Canucks team.
Demko might be the one piece that makes it through the next few years. Realistically, he is the goalie of now…and the future. I don’t see Mike DiPietro as a legitimate #1 goalie. Demko’s 5 remaining years at $5 million is reasonable for this team.
So now we get to the fun part. The cap crunch is for real. How do we know? Because people spend hours trying to show how they can fit salaries under it. There will come a time when one of the 5 will have to get traded to make space for the others or to get draft picks to re-stock this team.
I can hear some of you try to think your way around this conundrum. “What if we buy out OEL, or trade Myers? We can create even more cap space to sign these guys and keep all of them!!!!” Yes, you could sure try. But the other issue that comes with signing all of these guys to high end contracts is what I like to call the “Toronto/Dubas problem”. Once you give huge amounts to 3 plus players, you have effectively killed your ability to add the essential pieces on the lower end of the spectrum that can win playoff rounds. In simpler terms, your supporting cast is a Sea of Granlunds. (Sweden hates us everytime we say that term.)
So which player would be willing to give up to keep the other 4? And at what price. (Bo won’t snag a 1st round pick, unless he scores 30 goals this year and keeps scoring the next.)
Who would you trade to keep the others?
This poll is closed