With a little over $15MM in cap space per CapFriendly, it might appear that the Canucks have ample cap space but once you factor in the new deals for pending RFAs Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson, that cushion goes away quickly. Accordingly, GM Jim Benning acknowledged today to Patrick Johnston of the Vancouver Province that he is “trying to move some money”. If Vancouver hopes to add an impact player to their roster, clearing away a contract will be necessary to do so. Defenseman Nate Schmidt has been speculated as a trade candidate for the past several weeks and carries a $5.95MM cap hit for four more years and certainly appears as if he’d be someone that they’d be dangling to free up cap room after a tough first season with the team.
More from Vancouver:
- In a separate interview, this time with Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre, Benning indicated that they aren’t ruling out a buyout of winger Jake Virtanen, saying it’s “too early to say”. The window to buy someone out before expansion has closed but waivers will be permitted on the 22nd, allowing for enough time to go through that process before the first window closes on the 27th; there is a second window that could open up as well based on arbitration filings. Virtanen had a tough year on the ice with just five goals in 38 games, hardly the type of return that’s worthy of a $2.55MM AAV. Buying out Virtanen would only carry a $50K cap charge next season which would give Benning some cap flexibility to work with.
- Some teams are showing interest in goaltender Braden Holtby, report Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal of The Athletic (subscription link). The veteran had a disappointing first season in Vancouver, posting a career-worst 3.69 GAA along with a .889 SV% in 21 games this past season so teams would undoubtedly be viewing him as a bounce-back candidate for a low acquisition price. Holtby has one year left on his deal with a $4.3MM AAV but a $5.7MM salary so some form of retention will likely be required to facilitate a trade.