The Vancouver Canucks need to shed some salary this offseason. Could veteran forward Antoine Roussel be on the move?
Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning has to clear out some cap space as he looks to retain several key free agents this offseason.
Not only that, but Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson will need new deals after the 2020-21 season. The contracts of top-six forward Tanner Pearson and longest-tenured Canuck Alexander Edler are set to expire next offseason.
The Vancouver GM has no choice but to try and trade out one or two expensive veterans. Otherwise, he could very well lose Jacob Markstrom, Chris Tanev and Troy Stecher. It’ll be difficult to work out new deals for pending RFAs Jake Virtanen and Adam Gaudette, too.
Two years ago, Roussel signed a four-year, $12 million contract with Vancouver. That seemed rather generous at the time, given that Roussel is simply a bottom-six forward who hadn’t topped 29 points in a season (he set a career high with 31 last season).
Roussel has a manageable $3 million cap hit. He’s four years younger than Eriksson, and less injury-prone than Sutter. The Canucks would likely prefer to keep Roussel over the other two, again, he’ll simply have more value on the trade market.
The 30-year-old Roussel has four seasons of double-digit goals on his resume. He has good offensive upside compared to the average bottom-six forward, and Roussel has developed a reputation as a key leader in the Vancouver locker room.
It would be nice if the Canucks could keep Roussel as they get closer to playoff contention, but the salary cap forces every team to make sacrifices. At the end of the day, Benning has to pay a No. 1 goalie and two top-five blueliners as well as two young stars in Hughes and Pettersson.
That is why the Canucks should look to trade Roussel once the offseason begins, especially if they’re unable to move out any other expensive players.