- Defenseman Nikita Tryamkin’s decision to leave the Canucks to go back to the KHL caught some by surprise. The blueliner told Sport-Express’ Igor Eronko (Twitter links) that a lack of playing time was a big factor in his decision to leave. Tryamkin averaged 16:44 per night last season, the lowest of any regular blueliner in Vancouver. He added that he could see himself back with the team but he won’t discuss that possibility while still under contract to Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg; he’s signed there through the 2019-20 season.
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.
The cuts keep coming from training camps around the league as the season draws near, with less than two weeks from opening night. Teams are starting to whittle down the players they’ll take in the regular season. Like every day, we’ll keep track of all the cuts right here:
F Antoine Morand – Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
Columbus Blue Jackets
F Hayden Hodgson – released from PTO
F Nick Caamano – Flint (OHL)
Los Angeles Kings
D Gustav Bouramman – Iowa (AHL)
D Dylan Labbe – Iowa (AHL)
D Hunter Warner – Iowa (AHL)
F Adam Gilmour – Iowa (AHL)
F Pavel Jenys – Iowa (AHL)
F Chase Lang – Iowa (AHL)
F Mario Lucia – Iowa (AHL)
F Gerald Mayhew – Iowa (AHL)
F Dante Salituro – Iowa (AHL)
G Adam Vay – Iowa (AHL)
F Niki Petti – Laval (AHL)
F Yannick Veilleux – Laval (AHL)
F Thomas Ebbing – Laval (AHL)
F Antoine Waked – Laval (AHL)
D Stefan Leblanc – Laval (AHL)
D Simon Bourque – Laval (AHL)
D Tom Parisi – Laval (AHL)
F Markus Eisenschmid – Laval (AHL)
G Michael McNiven – Laval (AHL)
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Vegas Golden Knights
D Dylan Coghlan – Tri-City (WHL)
F Bryce Gervais – Chicago (AHL)
F Cody Glass – Portland (WHL)
D Nicolas Hague – Mississauga (OHL)
F Stephen MacAulay – Chicago (AHL)
D Kenney Morrison – Chicago (AHL)
D Dmitry Osipov – Chicago (AHL)
F Nick Suzuki – Owen Sound (OHL)
F Patrice Cormier – Manitoba (AHL)
F Francis Beauvillier – Manitoba (AHL)
F Brody Sutter – Manitoba (AHL)
D Kirill Gotovets – Manitoba (AHL)
D Peter Stoykewych – Manitoba (AHL)
G Eric Comrie – Manitoba (AHL)
After many teams opened their preseason schedule last night, there will continue to be training camp cuts this week. Teams will be paring down their rosters up to opening night, when they’ll carry just 23 skaters. Here we’ll keep track of all the days cuts.
F Brett Findlay – Stockton (AHL)
F Rod Pelley – Stockton (AHL)
F Hunter Smith – Stockton (AHL)
D Kayle Doetzel – Stockton (AHL)
D Oleg Yevenko – Stockton (AHL)
G Mason McDonald – Stockton (AHL)
F Sam Dove-McFalls – Saint John (QMJHL)
F Zach Fischer – Medicine Hat (WHL)
F Glenn Gawdin – Swift Current (WHL)
F Ben Hawerchuk – Barrie (OHL)
F Brad Morrison – Vancouver (WHL)
F Matthew Phillips – Victoria (WHL)
F Mark Rassell – Medicine Hat (WHL)
F Adam Ruzicka – Sarnia (OHL)
D Tyson Helgesen – Spokane (WHL)
G Nick Schneider – Calgary (WHL)
F Joel Lowry – released from PTO, will attend AHL training camp
D Daniel Maggio – released from PTO, will attend AHL training camp
D Dylan Olsen – released from PTO, will attend AHL training camp
D Sam Ruopp – released from PTO, will attend AHL training camp
D Cliff Watson – released from PTO, will attend AHL training camp
F Shaw Boomhower – Missisauga (OHL)
F Zach Roberts – Owen Sound (OHL)
F Tomas Soustal – Kelowna (WHL)
F Cole Tymkin – London (OHL)
F Brett Davis – Kootenay (WHL)
F Jason Robertson – Kingston (OHL)
D Ondrej Vala – Kamloops (WHL)
Detroit Red Wings
F Givani Smith – Guelph (OHL)
New Jersey Devils
F Nikita Popugaev – Prince George (WHL)
F Marian Studenic – Hamilton (OHL)
F Nicolas Guay – Drummondville (QMJHL)
D Jocktan Chainey – Halifax (QMJHL)
D Colby Sissons – Swift Current (WHL)
G Evan Cormier – Saginaw (OHL)
New York Rangers
F Pius Suter – Zurich (NLA)
Vegas Golden Knights
D Scooter Vaughn – released from PTO
D Nikolas Brouillard – released from PTO
F Alex Barre-Boulet – Blainville-Boisbriand (QMJHL)
F Ben Jones – Niagara (OHL)
F Patrick Bajkov – Everett (WHL)
F Jayden Halbgewachs – Moose Jaw (WHL)
D Keoni Texeira – Portland (WHL)
D Will Warm – Edmonton (WHL)
G Jiri Patera – Ceder Rapids (USHL)
G Dylan Ferguson – Kamloops (WHL)
The Nashville Predators have named their on-ice leadership group for the 2017-18 season, starting with Roman Josi as the newest team captain. Josi will replace the recently retired Mike Fisher in that role, after wearing an alternate captain’s “A” for the last two years. Josi will be joined by “associate captain” Ryan Ellis and alternates Ryan Johansen, Mattias Ekholm and Filip Forsberg.
Josi will become the leagues second Swiss-born captain following Mark Streit, who wore the “C” for the New York Islanders between 2011-2013. The Predators’ players had a big part in selecting him, but head coach Peter Laviolette had great things to say about his all-star defenseman.
Roman has led by example every day of his life. He is respected by all of his teammates and his peers. His work ethic, communication skills and accountability to his team make him the perfect choice to lead this group moving forward.
Other notes from around the league…
- As anyone who watched the first few preseason games will have noticed, the NHL is cracking down on slashes to try to stop incidents like the Marc Methot–Sidney Crosby injury last season. Almost everyone is on board with trying to reduce hand injuries, but it’s not so clear cut on the other rule they’ve chosen to enforce. Faceoff violations drew 10 different penalties on Monday night, and the league says they’ll continue to enforce where a player can put his feet—signified by the in-circle hashes—and where they must start their stick. Neither the slashing rule nor the faceoff rule are actually new, they’re just being cracked down upon to try and quicken pace of play and reduce injuries.
- The Vancouver Canucks have announced that Ryan White likely suffered a concussion and is in the league’s protocol, which doesn’t bode well for his chance to earn a contract in camp. White is on a professional tryout, trying to prove that he’s worth an NHL deal after splitting last year between Arizona and Minnesota. An effective fourth-line player, he could have potentially seen a regular shift for the Canucks who are in full rebuild mode.
- After reporting to training camp well past Vancouver’s targeted weight for him, Canucks winger Jake Virtanen has come to camp in much better shape this time around, notes Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province. At 215 pounds, Virtanen is well below the 231 he checked in at this time last year and that might help give him a leg up on a possible fourth line spot despite not exactly lighting it up in the AHL last season (he had 19 points in 65 games). Head coach Travis Green acknowledged that the Canucks plan to give their fourth line a big workload this season which may make that role a better one for him over more playing time back with AHL Utica.
The Colorado Avalanche might not have a ton to look forward to, if this year is anything like the last, but one thing on the schedule should bring fans to their feet. On January 6th, before their game against the Minnesota Wild, the Avalanche will raise Milan Hejduk’s number 23 to the rafters and retire it from use.
It will be the sixth such sweater retired, to go along with Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Patrick Roy, Adam Foote and Ray Bourque, all teammates of Hejduk. The franchise also retired Peter Stastny, Michel Goulet, Marc Tardif and J.C. Tremblay before moving from Quebec City. Hejduk ranks second all-time among Colorado (not Quebec) players in most offensive categories, trailing only Sakic. He played his entire career for the organization, scoring 805 points in 1,020 regular season games.
- Though rumors have been circulating that Vancouver Canucks prospect Olli Juolevi already has a deal in place to play in Europe should he not break camp with the team, Rick Dhaliwal of News 1130 caught up with Agent Markus Lehto who quickly shot them down. Juolevi was selected fifth-overall in 2016 but returned to the London Knights to play last season. It’s not clear if the Canucks want to keep him in the NHL this year, or if he could benefit from some more seasoning in either the OHL or Europe. He’s still only 19, and though he still projects as a top defenseman, it would be tough to make the jump right away.
- Emily Kaplan of ESPN asked a large group of players what one rule change they would institute if they were commissioner, and the resounding answer was to allow players to go to the Olympics. While many of the other responses are both insightful and funny, it’s clear that the majority of the league—even those who would have no chance of playing in the tournament—dislikes the league’s decision.
The Vancouver Canucks will have a decision on their hands after this season, when legendary forwards Henrik and Daniel Sedin are up for a new contract. Their effect has been dwindling the last few years, and the Canucks are headed in a new direction, but the twins have something to tell the fan base who has cheered them for so long. They’re not going anywhere else. In a wonderful piece in the Players’ Tribune, Daniel states just that.
When the time is right, we will sit down with management and discuss it. People say our window for winning a Cup has closed, but we have said it before, and we will say it again. We won’t play anywhere else. If we are going to win a Stanley Cup, if we are going to achieve our dream, we’d only want it to be in Vancouver. If we did it anywhere else, I don’t think it would feel the same.
As we discussed in our recent Canucks Season Primer, the team will be looking to the future this year with players like Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser. They made their case for a rebuild last trade deadline when they moved Jannik Hansen and Alex Burrows for two prospects, and have brought in a number of free agents this summer who could be flipped at the deadline. While it’s certainly possible that a rejuvenated Sedin duo and upstart young group could make an improbably playoff run a reality, it’s more likely that the Canucks will hope to see their name at the top of the draft lottery next spring.
What that means for the Sedin’s future is unclear. They could retire after the season, riding off into the sunset after Daniel joins Henrik in the 1000-point club, likely to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame together someday, or they could sign new short-term deals with the Canucks to be part of the rebuild. Right now, their $7MM cap hits are limiting Vancouver’s ability to do certain things like acquire bad contracts along with assets, but one year incentive-based deals could find a nice middle ground for the two sides.
Whatever happens, it won’t be anywhere but Vancouver. The pair, that were drafted second and third overall after some draft floor work by Brian Burke back in 1999 have played a combined 2,473 regular season games for the Canucks, scoring 2,007 points.
- As the Sedin twins enter the final years of their contracts, some have speculated that they could be dealt if Vancouver is out of it at the deadline. In an interview with Sportsnet’s John Shannon (Twitter link), team president Trevor Linden put an end to that, stating that the duo won’t be dealt. Both players have spent their entire NHL careers with the Canucks and carry no-move clauses with a $7MM cap charge.
After reaching terms to a new six year, $33MM contract yesterday, Vancover Canucks’ forward Bo Horvat is now labeled as a “foundational” piece of the team. But many question how good can the 22-year-old center get. After all, the young star had a solid season a year ago, putting up 20 goals and 32 assists. But how much farther can he take his game?
Mike Halford of The Athletic (subscription required) interviewed his former coach Willie Dejardins about what the potential future of Horvat is, who says that one of Horvat’s top qualities is that being average just isn’t good enough. The veteran coach writes that when he was first drafted, the big knock on him was his lack of skating skills. However, he has been working on those skills for the last few years, including instruction from power-skating expert Kathy McIlvaine. The results were evident when he found himself competing with St. Louis’ speedster Vladimir Tarasenko in the fastest skating event in the All-Star game this past January.
“The speed of his game – when he first came in, he wasn’t a great skater,” Desjardins explained. “And somehow along the line he changed that, and that doesn’t happen very often at that level, or to that degree. That shows a high commitment level.”
Desjardins also points out in the article that Horvat’s greatest gift is his defense, although the metrics don’t show that yet. What he does say is that Horvat’s will to become a great player will push him up among the top centers of the Pacific Division where he will find himself playing against top talent like Connor McDavid and Ryan Kesler daily.
- Consider Pittsburgh prospect Teddy Blueger as a potential candidate for that third-line center spot. Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette writes that Blueger has worked hard at his skating in the last few years in hopes of breaking into the Pittsburgh Penguins front lines. Although the Penguins could trade for a veteran at any time, Blueger, has the ability to break into that lineup. Having scored 108 points in for years at Minnesota State University – Mankato, putting him in the top 10 all-time in the school’s history, he will have quite a challenge to win a job with the Penguins this year. He will have to compete with veteran Carter Rowney, Jay McClement, Jean-Sebastien Dea and Greg McKegg for that spot.
- MLive’s Ansar Khan breaks down Luke Witkowski, who signed this offseason to a two-year deal worth $750K per year. The 27-year-old defenseman played sporadically for the past three years with the Tampa Bay Lightning and now, according to Khan, plan to move him to right wing. Khan writes that unless the team suffers numerous defensive injuries, that Witkowski will not play defense this year. Instead, he will compete with prospect Tyler Bertuzzi for the fourth-line wing spot opposite Riley Sheahan and Luke Glendening and would be a perfect fit as the team’s 13th skater if Bertuzzi makes the team.