As the Vancouver Canucks continue to try lock up Bo Horvat long-term, they should also have a focus on extending 2017 surprises Sven Baertschi and Markus Granlund.
Though not much went right for the Vancouver Canucks in the 2016-17 season, they at least got better results than expected from both Sven Baerstchi and Markus Granlund. They scored 18 and 19 goals last season, respectively, and figure to be part of Vancouver’s top-six for years to come.
Baertschi and Granlund — a pair of former Calgary Flames draft choices — were acquired by general manager Jim Benning in separate trades. At the time, neither deal appeared to be a game-changer, but both guys have found their niche right here in Vancouver.
Both Baertschi and Granlund are just 24 years of age and appear to just be entering their playing primes, so there’s a lot of room for them to grow into being 20-25 goal scorers. But both players have just a year left on their contracts, before they become RFAs.
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Per CapFriendly.com, Baertschi will make $1.85 million in 2016-17, while Granlund is on the books for a modest $900,000.
And there’s no doubt that both players will be able to triple their salaries, should they be able to repeat last season’s success.
After Bo Horvat is taken care of, Benning is going to want to get to the table and try to hammer out these two deals.
But though Baertschi and Granlund are young and each nearly scored 20 goals last year, they still have to show the consistency factor.
Taking all of this into account, let’s take a look at what the contracts for the two players should look like.
Baertschi was given every opportunity by former head coach Willie Desjardins last season, playing alongside the team’s top scorer in Horvat. Though Baertschi averaged a mere 15:53 time on ice per game, it was a career high.
Factor in that the Sedins are likely to move down to the second or third line, and Baertschi should be on the top line with Horvat. That means more ice time and perhaps some opportunities on the first power play unit.
So let’s assume here that Baertschi scores 20-plus goals in 2017-18. Now, Benning has to believe that he’s got his long-term answer at left wing. So what would a fair contract be for a young forward just in the midst of his prime?
A three-year deal worth $3.75 million a season would probably be a safe bet. Baertschi isn’t quite worth superstar money, and the Canucks have to be careful by not overpaying him. Nonetheless, getting in that $3.5 to 4 million range is probably fair for Baertschi.
Granlund may have a bit of a tougher time repeating his strong showing in 2017-18, simply because of the depth Vancouver has at forward. The versatile Swede will probably be on the wing, and might not see any action on the first line and perhaps very little on the second.
The Canucks may view Granlund as a depth second/third-line winger. Granlund may not quite get the money that Baertschi did — given the latter’s upside and strong chemistry with Horvat.
A fair deal for Granlund would probably be a three or four year pact worth around $3 million a season. The Canucks can’t complicate salary cap situation by overpaying Granlund, so expect him to make a bit less than Baerstchi.