There’s enough money coming off the books this offseason that the Canucks could afford Barrie if he’s interested in coming to Vancouver. The issue would be that there wouldn’t be a lot of room left over to re-sign or replace players like Troy Stecher and Jacob Markstrom, who would figure to be integral pieces on a team attempting to contend for the playoffs. If the Canucks can find a cheap replacement for Markstrom, and elect to either trade their RFAs or let them walk, they could probably clear enough space to fit Barrie and Stecher under the cap. The question would be whether or not the value going in would be enough to justify the value going out.

As far as how the Canucks ended up in cap trouble, it’s pretty simple. They signed a lot of ill-advised contracts, and then signed some more. Their salary situation isn’t completely beyond salvation yet, but they can’t really afford to make any more big mistakes like the Eriksson and Sutter contracts.

For the time being, there’s no room on the Canucks’ roster for Nikita Tryamkin. Tyler Myers, Troy Stecher, and Chris Tanev are all locked in for at least another year and they aren’t taking any of those guys out of the lineup to make room for an underpeforming KHL defenseman. If Chris Tanev walks this summer, then we could see Tryamkin make his return, but at this point it doesn’t seem all that likely. Rightly or not, I think the acquisition of Tyler Myers makes Nikita Tryamkin a bit of a redundancy in the Canucks’ system.

Honestly, I’d have a lot of time for a new-look third line centred by J.T. Miller and flanked by Gagner and someone like Josh Leivo or Nikolay Goldobin. The problem is that something like that was just never realistic and at this point the Canucks don’t have room for another forward, whether it’s Gagner, Spooner, or anyone else.

The real issue here is the glut of redundant, overpaid forwards and how even a relatively small contract like Gagner’s can become quickly become an albatross. In an ideal world, they’d have never signed Gagner in the first place, but I don’t think losing him for nothing is a significant loss.

To the best of my knowledge, the NHL does not hand out compensatory picks for draft picks who elect not to sign with the team that drafted them.

The New Jersey Devils find themselves in the unique position of not only having the cap space accommodate the salary of either player, but also enough empty spaces on the roster for the addition to be more than just a pure salary dump. Both players have limited no-trade clauses, though, and I’m not sure either of Sutter or Eriksson would waive to go there.

There’s been a rumour floating around that the Stars might have interest in Eriksson, and I think it has legs. Eriksson began his career there and they have a couple of their own bad contracts that could be swapped, essentially exchanging cap space for real dollars. If I had to bet on a landing spot for Eriksson, it would be Dallas.

A proven offense winger with back-to-back 25+ goal seasons seems like a slight overpayment for a relatively unproven defender, even one with the potential and pedigree of Ivan Provorov. I like Provorov a lot and I’m not completely convinced the Canucks wouldn’t come out on top in a potential swap, but I’m just not sure it makes a ton of sense for either team. Provorov obviously fills a need for the Canucks, but moving out Boeser would just open up a giant hole in the Canucks’ offense that they simply aren’t prepared to fill. I don’t hate the idea, but without a contingency plan to replace Boeser’s offense I think I’d have to pass.

Look, I know we all hate the drop pass (largely because the Canucks have applied it poorly), but dumping and chasing on the power-play is an extremely bad idea, even with players who have the speed to be effective at it. Ceding possession  when the opposition is free to ice the puck as frequently as they desire is a great way to insure your team never gets properly set up and fails to generate any scoring chances. I understand the frustration with the drop pass, but please believe me when I say dumping and chasing is not the solution.

  1. Significantly expand the analytics department, including but not limited to hiring Harman Dayal.
  2. Add at least one if not multiple people to the front office whose job consists solely of managing contracts and the salary cap, similar to the role Laurence Gilman occupied during his time as the AGM in Vancouver.
  3. Conduct a full-scale audit of the Utica Comets organization. Something isn’t working, whether it’s coaching, distance from the parent club, or simply the level of talent that’s coming in. Regardless, someone needs to get to the bottom of it, and that starts with an impartial observer conducting interviews with executives, coaches, and players to figure out what needs to change.