With the Canucks season over after a game seven loss to the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Their sights have shifted to the off-season. The Canucks 2020 offseason priorities should be bringing back some key players and shedding unnecessary cap. Although the flat cap will be tough for Vancouver, the future is bright.
During the Canucks 2020 0ffseason their will be a few tough desicsions. With about 14 million in cap space (according to capfriendly.com) the Canucks have some big decisions in regards to who to bring back. The likes of goaltender Jacob Markstrom, forward Tyler Toffoli, and Chris Tanev is big unrestricted free agents this offseason. Although these three players seem to be a top priority there are some restricted free agents that need fresh contracts. The likes of Zack MacEwen, Jake Virtanen, Tyler Motte, Troy Stetcher, and Adam Gaudette are all in need. Although the Canucks cannot afford them all who is the top priority?
As for Vancouver’s UFAs, the easiest to bring back is a long time Canuck Chris Tanev. Tanev is the cheapest of the three and helps the blue line with not a lot of NHL ready talent. To add to Tanev’s case to return he has been a Canuck for the past 10 years.
Next up goaltender Jacob Markstrom. Thatcher Demko may have played stellar when Markstrom got out against the Golden Knights, but Markstrom has been the backbone of the Canucks for the past few seasons. Although Markstrom will be expensive it could work out as no one knows yet if Demko is ready to lead the Canucks for a full season.
That leaves Toffolli as the odd man out, unfortunately. The Canucks gave up a lot at the deadline for a one-year rental. At no one’s fault, that trade was made with expectations of keeping him, but due to COVID-19, the NHL cap will flat for the next couple seasons. As for resulting in the Canucks not being able to give all three UFAs the contracts they have earned.
Who are the odd RFAs out? It seems likely that Virtanen is on his way out. Virtanen has not lived up to expectations thus far. Another guy that could find his way out of Vancouver is Gaudette. Unfortunately, the electric center found himself watching a lot of the playoffs from the press box. Unless Vancouver can shed some cap those two likely won’t be Canucks next season.
It is no secret Vancouver is in loads of cap trouble, which can be attributed to some bad deals. Loui Eriksson comes to mind. Although Eriksson’s contract is practically unmoveable the Canucks do have options. For instance, moving a smaller bigger money deal like Brandon Sutter or Sven Baertschi. Another unfortunate scenario would be moving Michael Ferland to the long-term injured reserve due to his head injuries.
What could the Canucks receive in return for Brandon Sutter? A young team would benefit the most in acquiring the Canucks veteran forward. Maybe someone like Ottawa or New jersey. Best case scenario the Canucks receive a mid to late-round pick for Sutter. Another potential trade to watch for is a one for one swap with Edmonton. The Oilers would receive Sutter in exchange for defenceman Kris Russell. Russell makes a little less than Sutter but could open the door for Vancouver to allow Tanev to walk, yet still have a shot blocker on the blue line.
As for Baertschi, his worth will be significantly lower than that of Sutter’s. Sven found himself playing in Utica last season, only appearing in six NHL games. Baertschi would fit in best with a contender where he could have a bottom-six role. Although buying him out is visible. If the Canucks were to buy out Baertschi it would free up approximately $1.6 million in cap space.
Free Agent Targets
With not a lot of cap space, but a team hungry to compete free agency will key for Vancouver. Although the Canucks will not be in the running for the big fish there are some crafty veterans who could need contracts.
Such as long time Sharks center Joe Thornton. Thornton is hungry for a Stanley Cup and could be a major player in Vancouver’s pursuit for their first. This seems like a long-shot move but it could benefit both parties.
If the money is there another player to consider filling the third line center role would be Cody Eakin. The nine-year veteran would be a solid addition to the Canucks third line. He has notched 35 points or more in four times in a career, which works simply fine for the third line.
Finally, if the Canucks would like to chase a defenceman. Anybody not named Tyson Barrie would be fine. The last thing the Canucks need is to lock up money on the blue line while Tyler Myers is under contract and Quinn Hughes still needs to be paid. Although many believe the Canucks will take a run at Barrie its not the right move at this time.
Final Thoughts on Canucks 2020 Offseason
The Canucks will likely look like a different team outside their core next season. Fans are in for an interesting offseason in Vancouver. The Canucks 2020 offseason priority should be resigning from their key players. It would be wonderful to see them shed some of their cap, which might go hand and hand in resigning. After they decide who is staying is when they can start to look ahead to who the new faces will be.
Follow me on Twitter @cdemp45 for more of my content!
Come discuss this and much more at the Overtime Heroics forums!