One of the stories that’s been getting quite a bit of play on the Canucks beat recently is the players who will be heading into the land of unrestricted free agency. This is the land where money is plentiful and there’s always a sucker who will pay you more than you want. With word on the street talking about a salary cap that will possibly stay the same, but in all likelihood shrink, it’s going to be interesting to see how this pans out for the team, so I thought I would look into it all and see how I could help.
Using information from nhlnumbers.com, the Canucks currently have approximately $32M tied up with 12 different players going into next season, while they have 6 players who will become Restricted Free Agents and should they all be qualified, add a further $5.5M to that number. This would leave the team only $12.8M to play with if the cap remains unchanged. Although the team has 15 players who will become UFAs next year, I believe 4 should be considered retainable – Daniel and Hank, Ohlie, and Burr.
The problem is how to split the money that is left over between those four, while ensuring enough to replace those who will inevitably be let go. My uneducated opinion is that Burrows will look for $2M, Ohlund would look for at least $4M, and the Sedins would look for $6M each. Obviously the team doesn’t have enough to go around, so who gets how much? And considering that Louie hits UFA land after next season, how does the team ensure there is enough to make an effort to bring him back and ensure the team remains competitive?
So of that group, I think the only player the team has a chance of re-signing is Burrows. I personally think that the Sedin’s are worth the money they are looking for but considering they are a combined $12M hit, they are priced out of the Canucks league. I also hate to see Ohlie go, but even if he were to paid at par to Salo, Bieksa, and Mitchell, he’d be making the same $3.5M he currently receives – but the team would still have $15M tied up in 4 players on the blue line. How about the hometown and happy player discount you ask? Even if that were to be considered, we would likely still see these 4 guys tie up $15M and still outside of our price range.
When all is said and done, Gillis has got his work cut out for him. Losing the Sedins and a consistent defensive stalwart in Ohlund will be hard to overcome. So what should the team do? I’ve got no idea… do you?