With Russian Vitali Kravtsov having skedaddled to the fatherland and the rest of the current Canucks under contract for this season, Vancouver can turn its attention to getting the next set of deals done for those players they want to keep around long term.
And there are plenty of contracts facing expiration in 2024.
Of course, tops on the list is star forward Elias Pettersson.
The last time his deal came up, under the Jim Benning Canucks administration, Petey and his pal Quinn Hughes missed training camp before getting deals done just before the start of the season in 2021.
There’s no reason to wait. The Canucks know what Petey brings to the table and they know what he’s capable of. His current three-year $7.25-million deal enters its final season. Patrik Alvin should start working on an extension with agent Pat Brisson at CAA sooner than later.
An element working in their favour; the NHL salary cap could bump up in the neighbourhood of $3-million next summer, which in a vacuum would pretty much take care of Petey’s raise to somewhere in the $10-million-plus per season range.
Plenty of Pending Canucks
That potentially advantageous situation won’t address all of the other contract issues related to current Canucks personnel.
For some, the end of defenceman Tyler Myers’s contract couldn’t come soon enough. The culmination of that five-year $6-million per season road comes in about nine months. That’ll free up that chunk of change for a replacement, one presumes.
Recent addition Filip Hronek is on a one-year Canucks taste test. Reports suggest he’s not the easiest guy to get along with. The Vancouver dressing room will soon find out whether that’s true or not.
Regardless, his right-shot versatility is essential to the line-up. The 25-year-old is making $4.4-million this next season, and if NHL trends hold true and he stays healthy, he’s liable to be charming and delightful while putting up impressive numbers, leading to a request next summer for a big fat raise over the long term.
It’s what NHLers in the final year of a contract do when their 25 or 26-years-old in particular. See Vince Dunn, Mikhail Sergachev, etc. etc, etc. etc.
34-year-old Ian Cole will be in town for this season making $3-million. No muss, no fuss for the two-time Stanley Cup champion with his former Penguins. If he works out, his future earnings will remain in the same ball park. No rush.
The depth defencemen are all under contract for at least a year, with the Jack Rathbone saga coming to a head again next spring. Operating thus far as an AHLer, he and veteran NHLer Matt Irwin both have the one year to play with, while inexpensive Guillaume Brisebois and potential call-ups Noah Juulsen and Christian Wolanin all have two years remaining.
A Potpourri of Forwards
Up front, aside from Petey, the seven other expiring contracts involve players the Canucks can let walk upon free agency or re-sign following deliberations. Four of them are unrestricted free agents. The two most costly of that group this season will be UFAs Anthony Beauvillier at $4.15-million and recently added Latvian winger Teddy Blueger at $1.9-million.
The 2023-’24 season becomes one big, fat Canucks try-out. Not necessarily a bad thing for a club trying to reestablish an identity and an organization looking to re-calibrate its salary cap.
It’s a lot of moving parts and a big test for Allvin and the braintrust, but it’s now a well established Canucks management group. It’s all theirs, and the challenges and opportunities abound.
— Yes, deals will expire in the crease as well, but the back-up goalie situation deserves an entirely separate conversation.
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