Shortly after multiple reports surfaced that Vancouver was making progress on deals for their remaining restricted free agents, the Canucks appear to be closing in on a new contract for defenseman Quinn Hughes. Sportsnet’s Satiar Shah is among those reporting (Twitter link) that the blueliner is nearing a six-year contract with an AAV of around $7.75MM. If the agreement winds up being made official at those terms, it will be the richest contract handed out by Canucks GM Jim Benning.
Hughes, the seventh-overall pick in 2018, has quickly emerged as one of the bigger offensive threats from the back end around the NHL. He has recorded 94 points in 124 games over his two seasons, good for a tie with Colorado’s Cale Makar for fourth among blueliners league-wide. Makar, by comparison, inked a six-year deal of his own this summer, with an AAV of $9MM. His play in his own end is still more of a work in progress but at 21, there is still plenty of time for improvement on that front.
The contract would buy out Hughes’ five remaining RFA-eligible seasons plus his first year of UFA eligibility so Vancouver doesn’t gain a lot of team control with this contract but ensures that their biggest offensive threat defensively will be ready to go for the start of the season where he will battle with newcomer Oliver Ekman-Larsson for the top spot on the left side of Vancouver’s defense. Worth noting is that only the final year of his contract will be eligible for trade protection because it is the only UFA year.
With Vancouver having a little under $14MM in cap room per CapFriendly (before accounting for Micheal Ferland who is likely LTIR-bound again), it will likely push them in the direction of a bridge contract for RFA forward Elias Pettersson. To that end, Rick Dhaliwal of CHEK and The Athletic reports (Twitter link) that a three-year deal worth around $7.7MM could be on the table. With both players being represented by CAA Sports, the deals have basically been worked on together and it wouldn’t be surprising if an announcement from the team will come when both players have officially agreed to terms. That won’t happen tonight, reports Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre (Twitter link).
I’m okay with the Hughes one…not supper happy with the ‘bridge’ deal of 7.7 for Pete (seems a little steep for a bridge during a flat-cap…well done GMs).
Get these guys on the ice. Canucks have a really good looking forward group and their D isn’t as bad as everyone thinks.