Micheal Ferland’s absence gives the Canucks some wiggle room

Micheal Ferland’s health will keep him from attending training camp with the Vancouver Canucks, but his absence frees up around $2 million in cap space.

2020 was a long and painful year for a lot of people, especially for Vancouver Canucks‘ forward, Micheal Ferland, who spent the majority of his time doing anything and everything to overcome a serious concussion.

Sidelined since late October 2019, Ferland has attempted a return to hockey on three separate occasions. Each time he’s been given the green light by his doctors, but once he gets up and running at the full speed of the NHL, the wheels tend to fall off and all progress is shattered.

The reason for the setbacks is always the same — His brain’s vestibular system fails and causes vertigo and dizziness — But why it sets in after the “go ahead” from doctors remains a mystery. One thing is for certain though… Another setback like this and his NHL career is likely over.

Ferland hasn’t thrown in the towel just yet, but given the circumstances, he’s made the right call in deciding not to attend Canucks training camp on Sunday. Instead, he’ll be required to do a physical from home, which he’ll assumably fail for the betterment of his overall health.

What does this all mean for the Canucks moving forward into the 2021 season? It’s likely Ferland starts the year placed on LTIR and his $3.5 million cap hit is removed and no longer holding the Canucks over the salary cap.

According to CapFriendly, Vancouver is currently $1.5 million above the 2021 limit, but if Ferland does in fact remain off the roster, the Canucks will suddenly find themselves with $2 million in spending money.

Looking at the Canucks youthful depth on defence, as well as the bargain contracts being dealt to players this late in the offseason of a pandemic riddled year, and Jim Benning might feel obligated to fetch Vancouver some more help.

Considering the Canucks will return with more or less of the same forward group, Benning could elect to spend his newfound money on rounding out the Canucks’ blueline. With only a handful of questionable rookie defencemen to turn to to fill out the bottom pairing, it might make sense to acquire another veteran presence.

Names like Travis Hamonic, Mike Green and Sami Vatanen remain available. And considering the great Zdeno Chara just put pen to paper on a six-figure contract, it would be foolish of Benning not to at least kick tires on upgrading Vancouver’s blueline.

Training camp for the Canucks opens tomorrow. Will Benning find another fit for the blueline?