News 1130 Sports reported earlier this week there has been “nothing but silence” right now between the Canucks and Tanev’s agent Ross Gurney.
This should not come as much as a surprise since Tanev has zero leverage aside from signing an offer sheet.
The threat of an offer sheet has been highly publicized in the post-2004 lockout NHL after a couple of expensive offer sheets, but remains a seldom used mechanism in the NHL collective bargaining agreement. It was actually much more common and effective in the 1990s than it has been today.
Tanev and his agent likely wants a long-term contract with top-four defenceman dollars. The Canucks are likely willing to go that route if they have to since he has shown he can be a top-four defenceman in the league in spurts.
However, the Canucks with a declining salary cap and knowing Tanev has little leverage will likely hold out as long as possible in hopes of signing Tanev at a bargain cap hit.
Gurney could get his client an offer sheet, but the Canucks have over $4 million in cap space according to Capgeek.com. It might be challenging for the Canucks to fill out the rest of the roster, but they have the means to match any offer sheet that comes their way.
The only way the Canucks might not be able to match is if Tanev signs an offer sheet for over $5 million a season. He’s still a relatively unproven commodity, so will there be a team foolish enough to offer him $5 million a season under a $64.3 million salary cap? Will it be worth it to give up a first, second, and third round draft pick? I don’t think so.
The threat of an offer sheet is a threat, but not really one.
Right now, it is a matter of who caves in first.