The 2020-21 season might be one of the worst in Vancouver Canucks history. Not only did the team struggle mightily for the first few months of the year, but they’re also now in the most dire situation in franchise history health-wise due to their COVID-19 outbreak.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there are now 25 individuals within the organization who have tested positive for the virus, and it’s been confirmed that the infection within the team is a variant.
This season is most definitely a wash, and we can only hope that everyone makes a full recovery so that they’ll be ready to play when the puck drops next year. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that Vancouver will return to the playoffs in the 2021-22 campaign due to the team’s salary cap constraints.
Following Thatcher Demko’s extension that was reported last week, the Canucks will have just over $27 million in cap space next season assuming Micheal Ferland stays on LTIR and Loui Eriksson gets buried in the minors, according to CapFriendly. This valuation also includes having Jay Beagle on LTIR, as it appears like the veteran will be out with a long-term injury.
Now, that sounds like a lot of cap space, but Vancouver only has 12 players signed in that scneario. It doesn’t even take into account the mammoth second contracts that Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson will ink this summer, and they’ll combine for $14 million at the very least, with something closer to $16 million being much more likely.
But let’s go with the best-case scenario here and say that Hughes and Pettersson sign for $14 million combined, which means that the team will have $13 million left for nine additional skaters. Again, this is the best-case scenario, as it doesn’t even take into account a potential Tanner Pearson deal, which will probably clock in at $3 million annually at the very least.
Even if the Canucks let go of Pearson, they’ll still be missing a third and fourth line centre and two bottom-six wingers, not to mention half of their entire defensive group since Nate Schmidt and Tyler Myers are the only blueliners with contracts going into next season assuming Hughes is re-signed.
No matter how you slice it, $13 million for nine skaters will probably give Vancouver one of the league’s worst bottom-six group and defensive core, so it seems inevitable that they’ll miss the playoffs again next season.
But what do you think, Canucks fans? Am I being too harsh in my assessment? Let us know in the comments below!