There’s really no way around it: expectations are high for the Vancouver Canucks this season. After a slow start to the 2021-22 season, the team fired head coach Travis Green and replaced him with Bruce Boudreau and proceeded to go on a sensational run that took them from the NHL’s basement to the fringes of a playoff spot. This offseason, the organization made moves to build upon the core they had and solidify it in the long-term, adding forwards Andrei Kuzmenko and Ilya Mikheyev, then extending J.T. Miller. After all is said and done, the team finds itself $2.75MM over the salary cap ceiling. However, that is without factoring in injured forward Michael Ferland, who holds a $3.5MM cap hit for this season. While the team could utilize LTIR for Ferland and be alright, Frank Seravalli of The Daily Faceoff says Vancouver prefers not to go that route.
Instead, Seravalli says, the Canucks are actively looking to move Ferland’s contract. The reason for doing so is two-fold: one, Vancouver would prefer not to operate in LTIR, and two, because Ferland is injured, the insurance on the contract will not kick-in and whatever team has Ferland will have to pay the entirety of the $2.75MM in salary remaining on his deal. Though there are some teams that would actually benefit from taking on Ferland’s contract for salary cap purposes, similar to the Vegas Golden Knights acquiring Shea Weber this summer, Seravalli says the $2.75MM of real money owed is likely acting as a barrier to getting a deal done and would force the Canucks to give something up to move Ferland. The 30-year-old wing signed a four-year, $14MM deal with the Canucks during the 2019 offseason, but has managed to play just 14 games in that span, all coming in the first half of the 2019-20 season.
- The Arizona Coyotes received some relatively good news today on the injury front, as forwards Nick Schmaltz and Ben McCartney, as well as defenseman Cam Dineen have all been listed as day-to-day with lower body injuries says PHNX Sports’ Craig Morgan. No team wants any of it’s players to be injured, however having all three be limited to just day-to-day status is a positive sign. The Coyotes play their next preseason game Tuesday in Vegas, and it’s unclear as of yet whether any of the three will be able to participate. For Schmaltz, who has a prominent roster spot secured, missing tomorrow night’s action wouldn’t be a major setback, but for Dineen and McCartney, who are both battling for roles in the organization, a missed opportunity in the preseason is far from ideal.
- Speaking of injuries, after the Toronto Maple Leafs found out that depth defensemen Jordie Benn and Carl Dahlstrom would miss time, the former set to miss three weeks an the latter set to miss six months, the team was rumored to be in contact with several defensemen who were in NHL camps on PTO’s. Thus far, that has not come to fruition and in the past few days, several defenseman on PTO’s, including Nathan Beaulieu, Calvin de Haan, and Scott Harrington, signed with the teams they were trying out with. On today’s 32 Thoughts Podcast featuring Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek, Friedman cleared the air on these rumors, believing that the Maple Leafs had not been in on any of these defensemen, as the team would also like to sign forward Zach Aston-Reese, who is in camp with Toronto on a PTO.. Still, Friedman adds that the team could instead try to move one of its depth forwards out in exchange for a defenseman who is either waiver exempt or has already cleared. Right now, Toronto sits just below $2.9MM over the salary cap ceiling after re-signing defenseman Rasmus Sandin.
- If Derick Brassard can catch on with the Ottawa Senators this season, it will mark his eighth different team since Ottawa dealt him to the Pittsburgh Penguins mid-way through the 2017-18 season. Once a dynamic offensive threat in the top-six group of the Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers, and the Senators, Brassard has become a veteran journeyman capable of playing whatever role his team needs, anywhere in the lineup. Earlier today on TSN 1200 in Ottawa, Brassard mentioned that he would like to try to play a similar role to the one Jason Spezza played with the Maple Leafs the past few seasons, one which was to be deployed in a myriad of different situations as his team saw fit. The Hull, Quebec native added that when the offseason began, his primary focus was on joining the Ottawa Senators and hadn’t thought much about other options. Brassard has of course been playing that role for a few seasons now, but being able to do so with a team so close to home as they turn the corner from rebuilder to contender, just as Spezza did, seems like a no-brainer if he can secure the opportunity.