Canucks: Latest on Holtby, Markstrom, Virtanen, Motte, more

Nov 23, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) makes a save in front of Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat (53) and Capitals defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler (34) in the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 23, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) makes a save in front of Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat (53) and Capitals defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler (34) in the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jake Virtanen brings the puck over the blueline and into the offensive zone. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Jake Virtanen brings the puck over the blueline and into the offensive zone. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /

Tyler Motte avoids arbitration, Jake Virtanen welcomes it

Earlier this week the Canucks qualified Tyler Motte but it was made clear that both sides wanted to get a deal done and avoid arbitration. That was the first thing that happened for the Canucks today. Just a little bit after the opening of free agency, Benning and Motte agreed to a two-year deal.

The hardworking fourth line grinder will be back in blue and green and earning his paycheques on the penalty kill. His AAV is $1.225 million and he earned every last penny. He’s an energy guy that fits the mould of this young team and Benning was happy to lock him up and avoid arbitration.

He was an excellent playoff performer within his role for the team. He had four goals and one assist through their 17 games and people can still perfectly visualize him breaking the ankles of Alex Pietrangelo and scoring shorthanded versus the St. Louis Blues.

Jake Virtanen, however, has filed for arbitration and is hoping his 18-goal (36 points) season is enough to earn a big raise in the National Hockey League. Considering he could earn $3 million or more it’s probably something the Canucks wanted to avoid. There still could be a trade in the works but at this point, it’s probably unlikely.

Virtanen has been a very streaky player during his tenure on the Canucks and that gives Benning a reason to keep this deal short. It’ll likely be a one-year show-me contract as he underperformed in the 2020 NHL Playoffs. With Toffoli still unsigned, Virtanen could get every opportunity to become a legit 20-goal scorer inside the top-six but if that doesn’t happen, it’ll likely be his last dance in Vancouver.