This one gets tricky. For starters, Quinn Hughes will be automatically protected. Chris Tanev is a pending UFA this year, and Troy Stecher is an RFA. The contracts for Edler and Jordie Benn expire next year. Hard to imagine Oscar Fantenberg coming back after this season.
My guess is that the Canucks and Edler agree to a new deal before the expansion draft. When Edler signed a two-year extension last year, it was set up perfectly: Vancouver wouldn’t have to use a protection slot on Edler, but they’d also be free to re-sign him after the expansion draft.
At this point, I think Vancouver will offer Edler a deal to make him a Canuck for life, and they can comfortably use a protection slot on him after all. One way or another, I’m predicting him to be with the Canucks beyond 2020-21.
Given their cap situation, Vancouver probably has to choose between Stecher and Tanev. I think they’ll go with the younger, healthier and cheaper option in Stecher. They’ll reach a multi-year deal, and he’ll be protected.
And like it or not, Myers is going nowhere. Seattle wouldn’t want that contract to begin with, and Benning won’t want to give him away this early. There’s a reason he gave Myers the risky five-year deal worth $30 million. Benning values his size, physicality and leadership that much.
We’ll actually have a firm idea as to whom Benning will protect here once July rolls around. Either No. 1 goalie Jacob Markstrom will have a new contract by then, or he’ll sign elsewhere — paving the way for Thatcher Demko to slot in as the new No. 1.
Like a fine wine, Markstrom has only gotten better with age. Demko, meanwhile, has struggled more often than not as a backup. Sure, he’s five years younger than ‘Marky’, but the Canucks also have another hopeful “goalie of the future” in Michael DiPietro.
Seeing how much the Canucks struggled without Markstrom this year, it only makes sense to extend the 30-year-old to a three or four-year deal. Vancouver can always look to trade Demko elsewhere before the expansion draft. Or they give Seattle some sweeteners to pass on Demko.
A lot can change between now and next year, but I see Vancouver extending and keeping Markstrom for the long run. Benning would still have over a year to work on a plan for Demko, and goalie-desperate teams should be willing to do business if they don’t have another key netminder to protect. Good thing the Canucks have plenty of time to sort this out.