The Vancouver Canucks completed a curious transaction today, moving Tanner Pearson from injured reserve to long-term injured reserve. Pearson was already ruled out through the end of the season in January, but there was no need for him to be moved to LTIR unless the Canucks are adding salary. With Ilya Mikheyev, Micheal Ferland, and Tucker Poolman already there, the team had more than $4.3MM in flexibility.
We likely won’t know why Vancouver made this change until another transaction is completed, but it could signal that the club is going to take on money through the end of this year (or longer). Acquiring a bad contract or retaining salary as a middleman could give the Canucks some extra assets as the team continues to struggle through a lost season.
After receiving the usual coaching change bump, the group has lost three in a row, including a home-and-home with the Detroit Red Wings where they were outscored 11-3. Vancouver now sits just one point ahead of the San Jose Sharks in the Pacific Division.
For Pearson, it is a just another meaningless transaction in a brutal season. The 30-year-old forward will end the year with just one goal in 14 games, after requiring multiple surgeries on his hand. His three-year, $9.75MM contract has another season remaining, though his partial no-trade clause expires at the end of 2022-23. It’s not clear yet when Pearson will be ready to play hockey again, or which team it will be for.