Vancouver Canucks: Learning the Market for Free Agency

Mar 22, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) is congratulated by the beach after he scored a goal against the Detroit Red Wings during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) is congratulated by the beach after he scored a goal against the Detroit Red Wings during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 22, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) is congratulated by the bench after he scored a goal against the Detroit Red Wings during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Free Agency: The Wrap Up

The buyouts have been addressed. The latest trade possibilities have been drawn open. But what are the Canucks really looking to do on July 1st? How much cap space will they need?

The biggest question may have been addressed here:

A 20-30 goal scoring winger (would have to be a winger, right?) and a versatile 2-way forward? How much is that going to cost?

In this year’s free agency, that list addresses seven wingers with 20+ goals, plus Stamkos: Loui Eriksson, Andrew Ladd, Kyle Okposo, Jamie McGinn, David Backes, P-A Parenteau, and Milan Lucic.

The minimum price for a winger of that caliber would have to be in the $5 million range.

I think teams are just waiting to see where the salary cap ends up. – GM Jim Benning

As for a dependable two-way player, that is a very broad statement that should set the bottom line at $1 million, should a player like Mike Santorelli be in the conversation. Again, that prices goes up into the four millions if Troy Brouwer is the one in mind.

Doing the simple and very rounded math tells us that Jim Benning would have to have at least $6.5 million in cap space to lure a 20-goal scorer and a bottom-six two-way player. That becomes $11 million if the Canucks get a 30-goal scorer and a middle-six two-way player.

The Canucks currently have $7 million in projected cap space with a handful of fringe-NHL RFAs to qualify. If the two veteran wingers Higgins and Burrows are bought out, the figure rises to about $9.5 million.

Next: Countdown to 2016: Re-Drafting the Class of 2007

Ultimately, Jim Benning may be right — the Canucks are going to have to be tight to the cap ceiling once again and nothing will be certain until the NHL announces the official salary cap for the 2016-17 season.