While the Canucks appear to be in a position where they need to shed salary with roughly $5MM-$6MM in cap room (per CapFriendly) and wingers Brock Boeser and Nikolay Goldobin in need of new deals, GM Jim Benning told NHL.com’s Jessi Pierce that they are comfortable starting the season over the cap by using LTIR for Antoine Roussel and delaying getting back into compliance until Roussel returns. While that would certainly buy them more time, doing so has its risks as it’s easier for teams to clear cap room now while rosters are still being put together than it is in-season when their hands could be forced. Benning did state that they have multiple plans in place regarding their salary cap situation so they’ve likely explored by now what it would take in order to clear a contract or two off the books.
Elsewhere in the Western Conference:
- With Ian Cole not expected to be available until December and Erik Johnson’s status up in the air for the start of next season, NHL.com’s Rick Sadowski suggests that the Avalanche could use another veteran blueliner. Adding one would also serve as some insurance in case youngsters Bowen Byram and Conor Timmins aren’t ready to step into the lineup. However, it seems likely at this point that if GM Joe Sakic was to pursue another defensive option, it would probably be of the lower-end variety. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them look to the PTO market later this summer to bring in some depth that way.
- The Blackhawks plan to speak with defenseman Ian Mitchell at their upcoming development camp to see if he will reconsider his plans to remain in college for next season, reports Scott Powers of The Athletic (subscription required). He has had two strong seasons with Denver and with the logjam they had on their back end, going back made some sense. However, the recent trade of Henri Jokiharju to Buffalo has provided a small opening for Mitchell to potentially push for a roster spot so GM Stan Bowman will try to dangle that to see if they can entice the 20-year-old to forego the rest of his college eligibility.