Canucks: Sven Baertschi opts out of the season

Vancouver Canucks forward Sven Baertschi has decided against returning for the resumption of the 2019-20 season.

The Vancouver Canucks will be without forward Sven Baertschi for the NHL’s return to play, which begins Aug. 1.

According to Rick Dhaliwal of TSN 1040, Baertschi has decided to opt out of the season. Citing sources, Dhaliwal added that Vancouver has recalled forward Kole Lind — the No. 33 pick from the 2017 draft — from the Utica Comets.

The 27-year-old Baertschi spent the bulk of the 2019-20 season with the Comets. He played six games for the Canucks, recording two assists while averaging just 11:49 time on ice per game. Baertschi had 13 goals and 46 points in 43 games for Utica.

Calgary Flames blueliner Travis Hamonic has also opted out of the NHL’s return to play plan.

Baertschi is in the second year of a three-year deal he signed in the 2018 offseason. Injuries limited him to just 26 games in the 2018-19 campaign.

The Canucks attempted to move him during the 2019-20 regular season.

He was placed on waivers back in December, but Baertschi went unclaimed. General manager Jim Benning also admitted that the team was looking to trade Baertschi, but they weren’t able to find any takers.

Baertschi showed the potential to be a top-six forward with a trio of 14-plus goal seasons, highlighted by an 18-goal campaign in 2016-17. But he suffered several long-term injuries, which unfortunately derailed his chances of growing into a consistent 20-goal man.

The Canucks will face the Minnesota Wild in a best-of-five qualifying round in the hub city of Edmonton. Game 1 of the series takes place on Aug. 2. The winner will advance to the round of 16, where they’ll either face the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues or Vegas Golden Knights.

Baertschi has one more season on his deal, and with the Canucks facing a serious cap crunch, you know Benning will continue to work the phones in hopes of finding a trade partner.