The loss of Brock Boeser and Micheal Ferland for the rest of the regular season is a crushing blow, but it may actually better equip the Vancouver Canucks for the playoffs.
The Vancouver Canucks were barely holding on to top spot in the Pacific Division when they received some crushing news. Two of the team’s top-six players, pivotal pieces for the playoff push would be shut down for the remainder of the season. A hard pill to swallow for a team who’s been promising it’s fanbase extra hockey in April all season long.
Micheal Ferland‘s concussion symptoms returned after just a single period of AHL hockey. After taking the precautionary approach, making the decision himself to head for Utica and appearing fulling confident he was ready to return, things just didn’t go his way and you have to feel for the guy. He pulled himself from the game, and days later CBS Sports reported he was to be shut down for the year. Heath always comes first.
On the other hand, Brock Boeser‘s revealed truth is the fact that he will miss up to eight weeks due to a rib cartilage fracture. Patrick Johnston of The Province had the article, a tough loss for Vancouver, but a truth that was definitely better kept under wraps until Jim Benning acquired Tyler Toffoli in a trade as an emergency back up. Nothing is stopping the general manager from going all in.
The Canucks have just over 20 games to go, the stranglehold like grip in the Pacific Division is tightening, so yes, the loss of two top-six forwards at this time of the year hurts the team tremendously, but Benning has the right idea. Put your foot on the gas JB, make some moves and get this team to the playoffs, let’s see you fulfill your promises. Here’s why this could actually benefit Vancouver.
When an NHL player is placed on LTIR, his salary no longer counts towards the team salary cap. How does that help a playoff team you ask? A loophole in the NHL shows that a team has to enter the playoffs under the league’s maximum salary, but once you’ve made it to the dance, any players coming off long term injury reserve can be added to your starting line-up, regardless of your cap situation.
So what does that mean? The long term injury of Boeser and Ferland hurts the push for the playoffs now, but it opens salary space the Canucks can use right now to bring in players like Toffoli. It creates room for us to add pieces to get us to the show, but it also allows us to stack the roster even more once Boeser and possibly Josh Leivo return.
That’s how the Canucks need to turn this situation around. Use the cap space LTIR gives you to stack the roster now, make sure the team gets into the playoffs, then you get your returning stars and can play with a team well over the maximum salary cap. So if you think Benning is done making moves, you might wanna think again. Now is the time to add another asset and make a serious push.