The Vancouver Canucks are officially in their first buyout period.
According to CapFriendly, the teams were officially able to begin the process of redeeming their players 48 hours after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final. As we all know, the Tampa Bay Lightning won their second straight championship last Wednesday, beating the Montreal Canadiens in five games. The game ended just before 8 p.m. ET, which means the Canucks have been allowed to participate in these pay-cut activities since Friday night.
Of course, there are a lot more behind-the-scenes factors that need to be taken into account when it comes to buying a player out, especially how this contract might affect the team in the long run. Take Ryan Spooner, for example. His last game for the Canucks was on April 6, 2019, but, following his buyout, he remained on the team’s books until the end of that final season, for a fee of a little. over a million dollars. Not exactly ideal.
We don’t often see too many buyouts in an offseason, but given the flat cap and the looming expansion plan, it may not be surprising to see some teams rolling out this option in the coming days. . Looked to the Minnesota Wild, which just bought not one, but of them their veteran players Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
Previously, The canuck way explored what exactly it would look like if the Canucks bought forward Loui Eriksson. At first, most fans seemed to agree with the idea based on production value and AAV. The future 37-year-old, who will have a cap of $ 6 million in the 2021-22 campaign, only appeared in seven games last season and has never eclipsed the 20-point plateau in his five. years. in Vancouver.
However, when you dive deeper into the numbers, it would make a lot more sense for the team to bury Eriksson in the miners for his final year.
So who could the Canucks buy back then, if they decide to pursue this option? Let’s take a look at three possible options this offseason.
Unlike Eriksson, Roussel’s contract has a front-loaded structure that is not exactly favorable for a buyout. The former Dallas Star signed a four-year, $ 12 million contract in July 2018, which gave him a $ 3 million signing bonus in the first two years alone. This coming season, despite a cap of $ 3 million, Roussel receives only $ 1.9 million in base salary. He also has a modified NTC that allows him to add five teams to his no-trade list.
The 31-year-old, who has been limited to 35 games this year due to injury, has been unable to find his place in the squad’s forward squad in recent times. Over the past three seasons, Roussel has registered 17 goals, 31 assists and 198 PIMs in 141 games. While he can always be counted on for his shorthanded contributions, it is evident that Roussel struggles to keep up with the speed of the game today and, therefore, is certainly not worth his current AAV of 3 million. of dollars.
With only one year remaining on his deal, a Roussel buyout would only affect the ceiling for the next two campaigns. The Canucks could clear $ 1.26 million in cap space for the upcoming season, but would also take a hard hit of $ 633,334 in 2022-23, meaning they would only save an amount of $ 633,333 over two years.
Not exactly a jaw-dropping cap relief for a team that faces it.
It’s also important to consider what the Canucks would save if they decided to demote Roussel to Abbotsford instead.
According to CapFriendly, the reduction of the ceiling of a buried contract would be “the minimum wage of the respective season + $ 375,000”. Currently, the league’s minimum wage for the 2021-22 season is $ 750,000, which would put Roussel in a cap relief of $ 1.125 million if he was sent to the AHL. Considering that the buyout option would only give you $ 141,666 more in cap relief for the first season over a demotion, you can see why Roussel isn’t exactly the best candidate for this option.
We’ll have to be careful with this one.
At the time of publication of this article, Virtanen is currently on leave from the organization after receiving allegations of sexual assault.
There is no doubt that this is an extremely sensitive issue, which must be treated with care and respect. As a result, we will only focus on the numbers behind a possible takeover of Virtanen.
Before being put on leave from the team, Virtanen continued to wrestle as Canuck. The former sixth overall pick produced just five points in 38 games and, like Roussel, had no impact on the team on the ice. Virtanen has just completed the first season of his current two-year contract, producing a cap of $ 2.55 million per season, but has performed well below that value.
Fortunately, Virtanen’s age puts the team in a much better position to pursue a buyout.
According to CapFriendly, players under 26 are only entitled to 1/3 of the residual value of their contract, compared to 2/3 for players 26 and over. For 2021-2022, Virtanen would receive $ 3 million in base salary, as well as $ 400,000 in signing bonuses. He will be 25 in August.
As a result, the Canucks would save $ 2.5 million on a Virtanen buyout for the upcoming season, which would produce a cap of just $ 50,000. It should be noted that the cap reached would rise to $ 500,000 in 2022-23, but if a team can incur a total cap well below $ 1 million over two seasons, this is certainly an option that management should seriously consider. .
Contracts play an important role in the likelihood of a player being bought out or not. For Beagle, his contract will almost definitely keep him in the Vancouver organization.
Like Roussel, Beagle is also entering the final year of his busy four-year contract. In the first two seasons of his contract, Beagle earned $ 7.6 million in base salary and signing bonuses, which is just under 2/3 of his total earnings. Last season, he earned $ 2.2 million without any signing bonuses. This season, he is expected to earn the same amount, with $ 1 million coming from a signing bonus and $ 1.2 million from base salary. Much like Roussel, the final year of the Beagle deal comes with a swap list of five teams without a team under a modified NTC.
Beagle, who turns 36 in October, has had its ups and downs in Vancouver. The former Washington Capital has once again been a key part of the team’s shorthanded penalty this year, racking up TOI’s second-highest shorthanded total among forwards at 97:20. He also posted the best faceoff percentage in all scenarios among the other main centers at 56.2%. However, like all aging veterans, Beagle’s overall gameplay and on-ice production continues to plummet, ultimately relegating him to the middle fourth row position with less responsibility.
Not to mention that Beagle continues to suffer from injuries.
In three seasons with Vancouver, Beagle has missed 65 games overall, including a long-term injury that sidelined him from the last 26 games of last season. As a result, Beagle has been on LTIR since March 31.
If Beagle stays on LTIR for the start of the 2021-22 season, which seems like the likely scenario, then the Canucks wouldn’t have to worry about a thing. Beagle’s remaining $ 3 million in AAV would not count towards the cap, and the team would have additional cap space to work with as the final year of Beagle’s contract slowly rolls out from the stand. Press.
However, even though it is believed that Beagle might be in good health at the start of training camp, it wouldn’t make sense for the team to consider a buyout for him now. The Canucks would only save $ 800,000 this coming season, based on an AAV of $ 3 million and a cap of $ 2.2 million, and they would also lose $ 400,000 the following season for a total savings of $ 400,000 over two years.
Factor in a cap of just $ 1.25 million should Beagle receive a demotion in the AHL instead, and you can see why a buyout would do more harm than good to the team’s current financial structure.
Based on the numbers and analysis of each contract, it appears that Virtanen would be the best option for a buyout. The big question: will CEO Jim Benning soon decide to take this route?
The NHL’s first buyout window will remain open until July 27 at 5 p.m. ET. The free agency is scheduled to start the next day at 12:00 p.m. ET.
What do you think, Canucks fans? Should the organization explore buyout options before time runs out? Let us know in the comments!