Navigating the Salary Cap is probably one of the more important tasks for any general manager to have. Teams that can avert total cap chaos by walking the tightrope of inking players to deals that match their value (or compensate for future value without breaking the bank) remain successful. Those that don’t see struggles and front office changes.
PHR will look at every NHL team and give a thorough look at their cap situation heading into the 2017-18 season. This will focus more on those players who are integral parts of the roster versus those who may find themselves shuttling between the AHL and NHL. All cap figures are courtesy of CapFriendly.
Current Cap Hit: $73,012,499 (under the $75MM Upper Limit)
Boeser is one of the Canucks hope for the future. The team’s 2015 first-round pick has been playing exceptionally well in camp and looks ready to take a major role on the team. After two years at the University of North Dakota, Boeser managed to play in nine games for Vancouver last year, putting up four goals and an assist in that span and averaged 2.78 shots per game as well. Virtanen, on the other hand is just trying to cement a starting role on the team. The sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, Virtanen has been disappointing and has had trouble finding a role with the club, playing 55 games two years ago and then settling for just 10 games last year. A solid camp so far suggests, he might have turned it around as he looks to take his game to the next level.
One Year Remaining, Non-Entry-Level
F Daniel Sedin ($7MM, UFA)
F Henrik Sedin ($7MM, UFA)
D Erik Gudbranson ($3.5MM, UFA)
F Thomas Vanek ($2MM, UFA)
F Sven Baertschi ($1.85MM, RFA)
D Troy Stecher ($925K, RFA)
F Markus Granlund ($900K, RFA)
F Alexander Burmistrov ($900K, RFA)
F Anton Rodin ($700K, UFA)
F Reid Boucher ($688K, RFA)
D Patrick Wiercioch ($625K, UFA)
On a positive note, there are many contracts that are set to expire next year, which could give the Canucks quite a bit of cap space. What the team will do with the Sedin brothers, long-time franchise players, is still up in the air. Rumors that they have no interest in going to a contender to finish out their careers suggest that they may choose to retire or sign up for a much shorter, much cheaper deal with Vancouver. While both have been leading the franchise, their numbers have begun to decline now that they are 36 years old with Daniel Sedin putting up just 15 goals and 44 points a year ago, while brother Henrik also just putting up 15 goals and 51 points.
There are very few potential unrestricted free agents that are critical to the team’s building of the future. While Gudbranson is just 25 years old, the team has shown a willingness to move on from the defenseman and has been talked about in trade rumors all offseason. The former third-overall pick in 2010 didn’t fare well in his first year in Vancouver, suffering a wrist injury and playing in only 30 games. The team may want to move on before they lose him. Vanek, signed late in the offseason, is also likely a trade chip at the trade deadline.
As for restricted free agents, the team still has high hopes that Baertschi will continue to improve. After struggling to break into the Calgary Flames starting unit, Vancouver picked him up and got 15 goals in 2015-16 and another 18 last year. The 24-year-old could easily wind up on the team’s second line and have a big year. Granlund, 24, is another youngster who stepped up a year ago, putting up 19 goals as a full-time starter. Stecher will also be a free agent. The 23-year-old undrafted free agent had a solid rookie season after coming to the Canucks from the University of North Dakota. He is penciled in as a first-line defender. The team also has high hopes they can turn around Burmistrov’s career. The former top-10 pick in 2010 was signed away from Arizona with the hopes he can fill a need in the bottom six.