Vancouver Canucks sign Sven Baertschi for the next three years

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 14: Sven Baertschi #47 of the Vancouver Canucks skates up ice during their NHL game against the Florida Panthers at Rogers Arena February 14, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n
VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 14: Sven Baertschi #47 of the Vancouver Canucks skates up ice during their NHL game against the Florida Panthers at Rogers Arena February 14, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n /
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Amidst some terrible signings today, the Canucks did something acceptable, inking Sven Baertschi to a three-year deal.

Well, today sucked. The Vancouver Canucks just spent $27.8 million on fourth liners, allowing the Grit wars to reign supreme. Given the awful results of the day, I wasn’t expecting the team to do something acceptable. The bar is always low in Vancouver, but today may take the cake.

Canucks announced a new deal for pending restricted free agent Sven Baertschi. It will carry a cap hit of $3.367 million per season. Benning had this to say about the deal:

"He’s a talented offensive player. We look forward to seeing Sven further develop his complete game and become a consistent contributor to our success.”"

What success? The Canucks are the worst team in the NHL since 2015. No team has lost more games than the Canucks in these last three years. We have a familiar theme here where the Canucks are foolish enough to think 25-year-old players still have room for development.

Concerning the contract itself, it’s fair. And considering some of the awful contracts on this roster, it’s pretty good. Some would say, real good. The cap hit is fine, certainly less than what an arbitrator would award. However, during salary arbitration, Baertschi would likely get a one-year deal. To bring down the cap hit, they added term.

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Alternatives and dying offence

As for top-six forward options, the Canucks have few. But injuries and a lack of top-end ability gave Baertschi few advantages in negotiations. This works out for him and Jim Benning since they both avoid arbitration this summer.

Personally, I would have traded Baertschi. And when this season goes sideways in January, he may be an interesting option for playoff teams at the trade deadline. Or, he’s locked into the lineup until a Canucks prospects pushes him out. I’m going with the second one based on history.

What does this mean? It pushes players like Nikolay Goldobin and Brendan Leipsic down the lineup. I don’t think Baertschi will keep his cushy spot with Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser all season, but I would expect him to start there.

In a vacuum, I have no problem with the signing. However, with the context of today’s events, it’s the only solace in a series of gut punches. We are facing a cold reality where the Canucks are bringing back a similar roster, but replaced the Sedins’ offence with fourth-line players.

Next: Canucks sign Antoine Roussel and Tim Schaller

Defensively, the team is marginally better, but they did nothing to address offence today, which makes me feel for Baertschi, Horvat, Boeser and Elias Pettersson. They are going to have to carry the bulk of the offence next year. I worry about the team maintaining the status quo. Honestly, I am struggling to see how they can possibly replicate last year, let alone top it.