The Canuck Way Mailbag: COVID-19, Demko deal, Edler, more

Mar 17, 2021; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Vancouver Canucks right wing Brock Boeser (6) celebrates his goal with his team in the first period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2021; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Vancouver Canucks right wing Brock Boeser (6) celebrates his goal with his team in the first period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports /
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Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /

Mailbag continued

Thatcher Demko‘s rise to No. 1 in Vancouver this season single-handedly earned him every dollar on that new contract. In case you missed it, the Canucks and Demko agreed to terms on a five-year, $25 million contract, locking up the 25-year-old netminder through the 2025-26 season.

It’s a great deal for both sides. Demko gets a well-deserved raise that earns him the same annual dollar amount as Robin Lehner and Frederik Andersen. And Jim Benning locks down a very capable netminder at a very reasonable price.

The Canucks’ GM takes on a little bit of risk with the five-year term on a goalie with just 66 games of NHL experience, but even if Demko doesn’t get any better between now and the end of his deal, it’s a win-win for Vancouver. He’s been that good this season!

His play has earned him good money, but his numbers have catapulted him into the all-star goalie conversation. His 0.917SV% is even better than proven goalies Tuuka Rask (0.907SV%), Carey Price (0.902SV%) and Jacob Markstrom (0.901SV%).

$5 million is a bigger jump than expected, but at the term agreed upon, this deal could look like highway robbery in three years time. As long as Demko doesn’t sour, Benning gives the Canucks an up-and-coming goaltender that could soon be working well below his pay grade.

Heading into next season, I believe it is essential for Benning to sign cheap players like Jimmy Vesey and Travis Boyd. With the Canucks having just signed Demko to more money than expected and still having to ink both Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes to new contracts, Vancouver really isn’t going to have much money to spend elsewhere.

If the interest is there for Vesey and Boyd to re-up on Canada’s west coast, then Benning needs to do what he can to make that happen. With Brandon Sutter likely out the door and Adam Gaudette looking more and more like a winger, Vancouver could use some offensive talent in the bottom-six.

Why not keep the players picked up through waivers? It doesn’t cost the team anything, and the team gets depth players who are easily movable and come with little risk. They are honestly the perfect targets for a team facing a cap crunch like Vancouver. They don’t cost much, but they can help your bottom-six while even being able to contribute to the middle-six in a pinch.

Before his injury, I would have said Tanner Pearson was capable of fetching the Canucks a second-round pick at the deadline. He’s a Stanley Cup winner with a proven ability to play top-six minutes and a 200-ft game. On a championship contender, Pearson would make for an exceptional third-line winger that can contribute on special teams.

However, the injury hit and the timing couldn’t have been much worse. Not only will the injury keep him sidelined past the deadline, but it’ll drag down his trade value. Not only is it more difficult for an injured player to return to game action entering the intensity of the playoffs, but Pearson would also need to go through quarantine after being dealt. Not exactly signs that help the Canucks’ cause.

My guess is that the market value for Pearson drops to a third-round pick, maybe a very late second if they’re lucky. The Canucks have shown interest in re-signing Pearson, but if the right deal comes along I don’t see Benning hesitating to pull the trigger.