Lain joined the Canucks organization in March as a college free agent after signing a one-year, two-way entry-level contract worth $925,000 at the NHL level and $70,000 in the AHL—the maximum salaries allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.
In his new contract, Lain takes a pay cut at the NHL level, but will make nearly three times more in the AHL. The contract will pay him $600,000 in the NHL, but $200,000 in the AHL.
The qualifying offer for the centre was set at $874,125, but it’s likely Canucks general manager Mike Gillis was able to convince Lain to take a pay cut by saying a lower salary cap hit would help his chances of making the team this coming September.
The Canucks currently have just over $5 million in cap space with key restricted free agents Chris Tanev, Dale Weise, and Jordan Schroeder still to re-sign. Tanev is expected to cost the Canucks to the tune of $2.5 million as season to re-sign, while both Weise and Schroeder might be looking at $750,000-$850,000 a season. Once these three are re-signed, it likely leaves the Canucks with about $800,000 in cap space.
The Canucks are pretty high on Lain and despite only 13 games of professional experience, he was recalled at the end of the Chicago Wolves season to join the Canucks as a black ace for the playoffs. He is expected to contend for the fourth line centre position.