Some have suggested that the Vancouver Canucks will buy out Loui Eriksson, but GM Jim Benning should retain him for at least one more year.
Now in his third season with the Canucks, Eriksson has totaled 32 goals and 74 points in 188 games here. General manager Jim Benning was hoping that Eriksson would “be a consistent 20-goal scorer.”
Eriksson hasn’t come close to justifying the rich contract since coming to Vancouver, and some wonder if the Canucks should try to move him in the offseason. Jared Clinton of The Hockey News suggests that if the Canucks want to trade Eriksson, they’d have to “throw in a pot-sweetener or two,” and find a team to take his contract off their hands.
Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet also provided (via CapFriendly), what an Eriksson buyout would look like:
But in my opinion, the Canucks should hold onto Eriksson for at least one more season, rather than trade or buy him out.
More from The Canuck Way
- Which team won the Bo Horvat trade?
- What to expect from newcomers Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Räty
- Back to the future: How the skate uniforms became a regular Canucks’ feature night
- Canucks kick off 2023 with disappointing 6-2 loss to Islanders
- 2nd period penalty trouble sinks Canucks in 4-2 loss against Winnipeg
Vancouver isn’t in position to throw away young assets and/or draft picks for the sake of moving out Eriksson’s contract.
It’d be a different story if they were a Stanley Cup contender with a major cap problem.
It’s not just the cost of trading or buying out Eriksson, but also a couple of more factors. The Canucks still have a good salary cap situation and can afford his $6 million cap hit for next year.
If they’re exploring the buyout route, it makes more sense to do that or 2020 or 2021 — when they won’t have much cap space left.
And finally, it’s hard to ignore Eriksson’s four-point performance against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night. He looked like a natural fit on the same line as Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson. Certainly, head coach Travis Green will give this group more time together and see if something special is brewing.
Eriksson won’t be a 30-goal scorer again, and he’s not the dominant two-way force that we saw during his days with the Dallas Stars. But if this Eriksson-Horvat-Pearson line is for real, then coach Green might have a solution for his $36 million forward.
Putting Eriksson in the bottom six and making him a healthy scratch won’t do anything to justify the $6 million. So for the end of 2018-19 and for the start of next season, coach Green should keep Eriksson in the top six and see if anything good comes out of it — or if Wednesday was merely one lucky game.
And even if Eriksson isn’t going to produce more than 20 to 30 points a season, the Canucks are still better off holding onto his contract for another year while they can afford it. The buyout option should only be used down the road — when the Canucks face a cap crunch — and if they don’t have any other option.