The Canuck Way Mailbag: Podkolzin, Ryan, trade talk, more

Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /
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Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /

Another week has gone by and the Vancouver Canucks are still in a holding pattern. That means more discussion and questions for the mailbag!

As the unprecedented NHL offseason continues into the last week of September, the Vancouver Canucks still have not made any changes to their lineup. Tyler Toffoli is seemingly closer and closer to an extension, Jacob Markstrom remains in a holding pattern with management and Chris Tanev appears to be entering free agency come Oct. 9.

General manager Jim Benning has also not made any moves to clear out any cap space, either.

All of this means more speculation and more questions for The Canuck Way mailbag, so let’s get to it!

Bobby Ryan, who just won the Masterton Trophy for his perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey, was a bit of a surprise as a buyout. The Ottawa Senators do not need to clear salary-cap space. In fact, they probably need help to get to the floor now.

Ryan has been with the Senators since the 2013-14 season when he came over in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks. Despite some up and down campaigns, he has proven to be a consistent threat in the goal column. His last 20-goal season came in 2015-16 when he scored 22 goals en route to a 56-point season. It’s unrealistic to expect another 30 goals from him, but 20 goals is entirely possible.

With the right linemates, he could return to 20-25 goals, especially if he’s thrown on a line with Adam Gaudette or Bo Horvat. He won’t be expensive either, as he likely could be had for less than $3 million in average annual value (AAV).

Given that he just won an award for perseverance and dedication, I’m sure he will fight tooth and nail to prove that he can still be an impact player in the NHL. Long story short, I would definitely throw my hat in the ring to add depth to the top-nine and second power-play unit.

Keeping with the theme of buyouts, the Canucks definitely have some candidates. Brandon Sutter, Sven Baertschi and Loui Eriksson are all possibilities. However, I think that route should be a last resort. Benning should explore all trade scenarios before going down that road since it’s always better to get even a small asset than eating a salary on a buyout. What’s more, Eriksson does not save you much money anyway, and he’s the biggest moneymaker on the books.

If they do buy someone out, I see Baertschi as the one getting that treatment. Sutter has value around the league as a checking line center with leadership and penalty killing attributes, so he could be moved in a deal with some retained salary.

Benning attempted to move Baertschi last season with no luck, so I don’t really see that changing in the future. There are plenty of players like him available in the free-agent market that I don’t see another team giving up an asset to get him.

As I mentioned earlier, the Canucks would be better off doing exactly what you’re suggesting. They need to attempt to move one of these players for an asset of some kind. Eriksson’s agent is already calling around trying to gauge interest, so hopefully, his work bears some fruit.

Unfortunately, they will still need to add some sort of a sweetener like a draft pick, prospect or retained salary to entice another team to take on his contract.

The same can be said for Sutter and Baertschi. I just don’t see another team taking any of them outright, especially when there are pending buyouts and free agents that can do the same job without giving up an asset to acquire them.