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I think 30 points would be a great rookie season for Quinn Hughes. At his peak, he’s going to be able to produce more than that, but it’s important to remember that Travis Green is coaching to win, and may not feel comfortable immediately putting Hughes in high-leverage situations. He’s probably going to start the season off getting third-pairing minutes and playing on the second unit while Edler or perhaps even Myers mans the first unit. It’s not what I would do, but NHL coaches are creatures of habit and they like to lean on their veterans, so we shouldn’t be too surprised if it’s slow going for Hughes for the first 20-30 games of the year.

I’ll be pretty surprised if he isn’t. The figure that’s been floated about in the media is $7 million a year, which is completely reasonable, so I can only assume that the biggest snag is cap space. My guess is he’ll sign almost immediately after the space is cleared. The team is going to have issues finding a taker for Sutter or Eriksson, but they can find creative ways to clear a few million and get Boeser and Goldobin signed. The only question is going to be whether they actually pull it off. Creativity hasn’t exactly been a strong suit for this front office.

I’d be shocked if they don’t. At this point it’s blatantly obvious that he’s going to get the C, to the point where a lot of people seem to forget it hasn’t already happened. Waiting any longer would make the whole affair seem needlessly drawn out.

Off the top of my head I can say that I like how the Lightning, Leafs, and Hurricanes are constructed because of the way they’ve blended experience, youth, knowledge, and creativity. From a simple results-based standpoint, I think you could easily make the argument that the Sharks have the best front office considering the long run of success they’ve had and their ability to successfully transition from one core to another. I’d probably have to do more research to give a firm top three, but these are the teams that immediately come to mind.

I’m excited to see a full season of Quinn Hughes. Miller and Ferland are nice complementary pieces but they don’t have the potential to really move the needle for the Canucks the way Quinn can if he reaches his ceiling. I don’t think he’s going to blow the roof off immediately the way Boeser and Pettersson did, but he should give fans more than a few “wow” moments.

I think 4-5 makes sense, given the way the salary cap, CBA, and the draft are currently constructed. You run the risk after a certain point of losing value by focusing on a single player, but McDavid is good enough to be worth 3-4 good players, which is likely what you’ll get out of 5 10th overall picks. It would depend on how much I trust my scouting department and how good the drafts are.

I did a lot of digging on this one, and to the best of my knowledge, the only wiggle room allowed with salary retention is in the amount. You can retain up to 50% of the salary on a player’s contract, but it will be the same amount every year. Because retention is calculated based on cap hit, the Canucks could effectively pay the entirety of his salary for him to play somewhere else, since most of his actual salary has been paid in signing bonuses, but unfortunately that wouldn’t give them much cap relief unless they take virtually no salary back.

The contract really is as untradeable as it looks.

On the positive side, the Montreal Canadiens had surprisingly good underlying numbers last season and I wouldn’t be surprised if they took a step forward. By the same token, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Avalanche struggle a bit out of the gate due to regression and the loss of Tyson Barrie.

At this point, I’m frankly surprised he’s still on the team. There just doesn’t seem to be much love between him and Travis Green, and now that the team actually has options on the wing, I’ll be surprised if he gets much of a shot there. It’s not impossible, but he’s really going to have to earn it and I’m just not sure he can do that in Vancouver. It may be time for a fresh start somewhere else.

My guess would be that it has to do with leverage. Unrestricted free agents have far more bargaining rights and can theoretically go wherever they’d like, while restricted free agents have a limited number of tools in their arsenal when it comes to salary negotiations. It’s stupid that it works that way, but the current system is kind of set up for general managers to fall into these situations.

That doesn’t make it excusable, though. We all knew the cap crunch was coming, and that the Luongo cap recapture penalty was a possibility, so it’s indefensible that a team with one of the league’s worst records over the past four years is struggling to get their best young winger signed. Smart teams know that they can afford to pay stars the big bucks, and to be miserly when it comes to support pieces. I guess it’s up to fans to decide whether or not the Canucks are a smart team based on the situation they find themselves in.


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