The Near Future of the Canucks Cap: Forwards

Ryan Biech over at Canucks Army wrote a great piece about how the Canucks should probably get on resigning Bo Horvat, and I agree 100%. However, this got me thinking about the other players who would need new contracts in there near future. So I headed on over to Cap Friendly, and it looks a little tight in the near future.

While resigning Bo is very needed, especially right now, I will leave it up to Mr. Biech to explain to you why that is. If he continues to score, his price will only go up, which means less money to go around, and from what I found, the Canucks will need every cent they can get in the next two years. Here is what I found for Forwards.

THE BREAKDOWN

An initial look at the Forwards over the next two seasons yields a “Ok not so bad,” however, when you see who is getting the money spent, it’s a bit tougher to stomach. There is a lot of money sunk into guy’s who are not performing, or on declines. This does not bode well.

While I agree with Canucks Army in the need to sign Bo soon, otherwise in three to five years it will be Bo and a bunch of Free Agents. After this season here are the Forwards who are coming off the books:

UFA:

  • Alex Burrows
  • Jack Skille
  • Jayson Megna

RFA:

  • Anton Rodin
  • Bo Horvat
  • Brendan Gaunce
  • Joseph Labate
  • Michael Chaput

Now this doesn’t look too bad on paper. Burrows’ $4.5m off the books will be nice, and Skille’s and Megna’s combined space is $1.28m. However, the picture comes into more focus. At the end of the 2017-18 season there will have to be some serious decisions made:

UFA:

  • Henrik Sedin
  • Daniel Sedin
  • Jannik Hansen

RFA

  • Sven Baertschi
  • Markus Granlund
  • Jake Virtanen
  • Cole Cassels
  • There are others, listed here.

The real issue here is two fold: 1. There are a lot of young guys who will need to get paid soon, and 2. There’s some guys not producing or declining making a lot. I want to focus on the RFAs first, as that is the future. Obviously Bo has to be resigned, and as his game gets better the more expensive that will be. Unless they are looking to trade him or get compensatory picks for him, delaying further is an absurd proposition, but not shocking from this Front Office.

Rodin, who was billed as our saviour this season, has yet to play a minute in the regular season, and now will need a new contract next season. Now he will have to go through arbitration, so chances are he will not get much of a raise if one, but the decision remains a difficult one: Do you bank on the guy who has yet to play for you, or do you let a guy you’ve been developing for seven years go with no return?

Gaunce is another curious case. While a former First Round, 26th overall pick in 2012 he has not really developed into the scoring threat they hoped. However, he is only 22 years-old and has not been given a lot of ice time, he has been getting a consistent look and the third and fourth lines this season. I view him like I view Pedan, a good, reasonably priced guy who still has a chance at developing.

The real issues start in the summer after next season. Depending on how spending goes this coming summer, there could be a lot of money freeing up. Both Sedins, each making $7m per season comes off the books, as does Jannik Hansen’s $2.5m. However, Baertschi, Granlund, and Virtanen will all need new contracts, which could be an issue for a number of reasons.

First, even with those UFA contracts (Sedins, Hansen) coming up, you still have Dorsett’s albatross of $2.65m and Alex Edler’s $5m. The Sedins will leave a massive hole if they do go, and if their recent play is any indication they should, but that’s another story. If Bo, Rodin, and the Defenceman I listed get resigned this summer, that does not leave much for the following summer.

If Baertschi and Granlund continue to improve, even arbitration won’t save the lack of cap space. Then there’s the curious case of Jake Virtanen. I don’t want to bore you anymore, but while its nice to have more RFAs than UFAs is a good thing, it’s far from being in a good place.

CONCLUSION

While my look only concerns the current Canucks and who is in the pipeline, one major thing we cannot underestimate is the current Canucks Front Office and their absurd love for overpaying guys, or even just having guys who are not at the NHL level anymore. The Dorsett contract and Skille are perfect examples of this. So while over the next two summers, they will have enough issue making sure they hold onto their current assets, there will be a good chance of a few more of these types of contracts.

Let’s not forget the Sedins as well. While I appreciate their past contributions to this team, they are declining fast. They have one more season after this at $7m each, and as we learned from Pavel Datsyuk’s contract, even if they retired, the team would still carry that cap hit. If they want to play longer, they will need to take a serious pay cut.

While there is more room at Forward, the future, core of the top two lines will be decided on in the next two summers for this team. Bo, Gaunce, Virtanen (if they play him) are must resigns for me. A very good outcome would be Granlund and Baertschi play so well they can’t afford them and can turn them into something else. I for one look forward to Jack Skille’s resigning though.

 

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