Canucks: 4 players who should be moved for cap space

Vancouver Canucks Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Vancouver Canucks Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Jim Benning at the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Vancouver Canucks are in a serious salary cap crunch ahead of next season. In order to make space to re-sign players, they need to move out bad contracts.

A team is only as strong as its weakest link.

Jim Benning, the General Manager of the Vancouver Canucks has done a remarkable job scouting and drafting key players to build a true Stanley Cup contender. Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, Brock Boeser and Thatcher Demko. The list goes on, but most importantly each major position has been filled by either a superstar or an elite player in the making.

Surrounding those players, Benning was able to find the proper supporting cast to perfectly propel the Canucks into the next level of competitive NHL hockey. We saw that this year when Vancouver was one game away from the Western Conference finals.

The only problem though is that those secondary scorers and defenders need new contracts and Benning’s dug himself quite a hole with an entirely overpaid bottom-six. With $14 million dollars and change to spend this offseason, Benning has a few key players he’ll have to let walk to free agency if he can’t find a way to shed salary.

This will be Benning’s biggest offseason to date and it will ultimately define his tenure as GM of the Vancouver Canucks. More importantly, it will determine the fate of winning the Stanley Cup. Let’s dive into four players that Benning could try and move out before next season.

1. Do almost whatever it takes to trade Loui Eriksson

Contract status: $6 million AAV, 2 more years.

Loui Eriksson might go down as the biggest disappointment of all-time for Vancouver. The six-time 20+ goal scorer has just 38 goals over the course of four seasons with the Canucks. When his first-ever goal in a blue and green uniform was scored on his own net, I had a really bad feeling he may never recover. I was bang on with that prediction. His time here has been abysmal.

Thankfully, he now has a modified no-trade clause in his contract and Benning should do whatever it takes to try and dump him onto a team trying to make the 2020-21 cap floor. On top of that, Eriksson is only due a total of $5 million dollars over the next two seasons. That might be appealing to a team if the Canucks either retain salary or add a sweetener.

Crazier things have happened, but if there is a time that this deal might actually work, it’s now. Benning should pick up the phone and ring any bottom feeders who answer. The New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings all need to reach the cap floor for next year.