Canucks have excuse to avoid lucrative Dakota Joshua contract

Vancouver Canucks v Washington Capitals
Vancouver Canucks v Washington Capitals / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

Dakota Joshua (upper-body) has not played for the Vancouver Canucks since Feb. 13. To be certain, his absence has been significant, and the Canucks called up Arshdeep Bains to temporarily take his place. For a player who is set to become a free agent in the summer, this is bad news.

On Feb. 13, the day when Joshua suffered his upper-body injury, the burly forward scored one goal and two assists against the lowly Chicago Blackhawks. Since then, the Canucks have struggled to replace Joshua, who particularly excelled on a checking line alongside veteran forwards Teddy Blueger and Conor Garland.

But, what happens if Bains takes over once he gets up to speed at the NHL level? Of course, there's little chance the Canucks simply let Joshua walk, but they can prove in negotiations that he is replaceable beyond a certain point. The issue is not where he wants to stay in Vancouver, but whether the Canucks can afford to make it happen.

The Canucks will have to offer Elias Pettersson a blank check in order to convince him to stay with the team, and then there's a host of pending free agents due for lucrative paydays. Sure, Tyler Myers's $6 million cap hit will come off the books, but that's going to go directly to extensions for players like Pettersson and Filip Hronek. There are also decisions to be made on players such as Casey DeSmith, Ian Cole, Nikita Zadorov, Elias Lindholm, Teddy Blueger, Sam Lafferty, and more.


Essentially, if Bains can stick, the Canucks have one more reason to avoid handing out a sizeable contract to a bottom or middle-six player. At some point, Vancouver needs to strike the balance of winning and finally developing their own players into passable NHL regulars who can contribute to winning. Bains is going to get the first crack at doing so.