During a radio hit on TSN 1040, Loui Eriksson’s agent J.P. Barry mentioned that the player and the General Manager met over the offseason about his future with the team and where to go from here.
According to Barry, the two discussed where to go after a disappointing season from the highest-earner on the Canucks. Just 11 goals and 29 points in 81 games during the 2018-19 regular season, it is clear that both Eriksson and Benning would either like improvement or a new opportunity somewhere else.
“Him and Jim have spoken about that and we have to go from here,” the agent told TSN 1040. “I mean, we have spoken about a lot of things whether it is staying and playing or finding a new home, so we will need to continue discussing that.”
His future might be up in the air and uncertain, but with a $6-million cap hit and three years remaining on his six-year contract, Eriksson seems like an immovable object on the Vancouver roster. His ice-time has lowered to a minimal 14:04 average per game last season, so even Travis Green has trouble finding him a fit on this team.
“It’s gone past any kind of request,” Barry said. “I think we’re all just working together to look for a solution, really, is what we’ve been doing. It’s not an easy thing. I think any kind of transaction would have to involve a player on another team in similar situation and we all know that, so we’ve all looked around the league and this could be the time of year… those changes could still happen over the next several weeks.”
It will most likely be a long summer for both Benning and Eriksson, trying to find an answer to this cap and lineup problem. The result will not result in a buyout, since the Canucks don’t have any player going to arbitration, they do not qualify for the second buyout window this summer. Meaning that it will either be a trade or Eriksson will stay in Vancouver as they head into training camp.
“Loui’s an NHL player,” Barry said. “There’s many, many teams that would like to have him [if] his cap number weren’t what it is, right? So, we have to sit down and deal with that, but I don’t think that really helps make a transaction going forward, either.”
It’s an unfortunate reality, but Eriksson’s contract is a massive burden on any team acquiring the player. The Canucks would need to add a sweetener to the deal for the team acquiring the winger and that price might be high. The Leafs needed to add a first-round pick just to move one year of Patrick Marleau’s remaining contract with a cap hit of $6.25-million, so in order to move three more years of $6-million, it might take even more than that one high pick.
As of now, the future is still up in the air, but a solution will most likely be made before the end of summer.