Vancouver Canucks F Alex Burrows Could Be Bought Out Wednesday


Veteran Vancouver Canucks winger Alexandre Burrows could be bought out as early as Wednesday, June 15, 2016.

After 11 seasons with the Vancouver Canucks in the National Hockey League, Alexandre Burrows‘s time in British Columbia could come to an end. He has long been a potential buyout candidate, and with the conclusion of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the buyout window is about to open.

For teams that are not involved in arbitration filings, the only buyout window opens on the later of June 15th or 48 hours after the Stanley Cup final and closes on June 30th at 5PM EST. With the Stanley Cup Final concluded on Sunday, June 12, the buyout window will open on Wednesday, June 15 — time for the Vancouver Canucks to make a big decision.

As an undrafted free agent, Burrows worked his way into the NHL via the ECHL and AHL. A gritty winger with a scoring touch, he grew into an important part of the Canucks’ lineup in some of the most successful times in franchise history. As the ‘third twin’ on a line with Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin, Burrows recorded 35 goals and 67 points in the 2009-10 season. His nine goals and 17 points in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, along with his grit, were a big reason why the Canucks made it into the final and got closer to the Cup than ever.

But Burrows is not the player he once was.

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In the first season of his current four-year, $18 million contract, Burrows was paid $6 million. Unfortunately, he did not score enough to justify that money, as he finished an injury-riddled 2013-14 campaign with just five goals and 15 points in 49 games.

Things didn’t get better the next years. Now 33 years old, Burrows simply began to decline the way humans do in their 30s. In the past two seasons, he totalled 55 points in 149 games and is not the speedy, gritty goalscorer he once was.

That does not mean he can’t be an important part of the team, as a hard-working, experienced bottom-six player, but there is still that $4.5 million cap it. Taking a roster spot from a young player like Brendan Gaunce while making top-line money as a 10-goal scorer is not exactly an ideal situation. Which leads us to the buyout.

But what would it cost?

According to, the Canucks would have to pay Burrows two thirds of his remaining salary, so $2 million, over the next two seasons. With that, they would save $2 million on their cap hit in the upcoming season, but have an extra million counting towards the cap in 2017-18, when Burrows’s contract would actually be off the books.

Still, it makes sense for Vancouver.

First, they have two million more to spend in free agency, which will help if they want to pursue someone like Tyson Barrie, Milan Lucic or even Steven Stamkos. Just to clarify, I am listing options here, without any judgement on whether or not Vancouver should indeed pursue the mentioned players.

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Second, they make room for Gaunce and Swedish league MVP Anton Rodin. The lineup could look something like this:

Sedin – Sedin – UFA
Baertschi – Horvat – Virtanen
Gaunce/Rodin – Sutter – Hansen
Etem – Granlund – Dorsett

Then again, Rodin is a total wild card. He is the Swedish league MVP, but that doesn’t count for much if he can’t translate his game to the NHL. From top line to AHL or back to Sweden, anything is possible. So keeping Burrows around in case Rodin busts wouldn’t be bad at all. But, of course, a $4.5 million bottom-six player in case Rodin busts is not really the way to go.

Next: Best UFA Fits for the Sedins

You also might have noticed Chris Higgins. He, too, has a valid contract until the end of the 2016-17 season. Higgins is probably needed even less than Burrows, but at least his cap hit is a fair bit lower, at $2.5 million. Buying him out would save $1,666,667 next season but cost $833,333 the one after. Perhaps not worth it.

Whatever GM Jim Benning decides, the time to make a call is now. We will know for sure by June 30th.