Mystery surrounds Arturs Silovs' future with the Canucks

Arturs Silovs still hasn't signed a new deal with the Vancouver Canucks, leading to the question of if this delay is any cause for concern regarding the goalie?
Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks - Game Five
Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks - Game Five / Derek Cain/GettyImages

The 2023-24 season was as surprising as it was successful for the Vancouver Canucks. There was no one predicting they would win the Pacific Division and have one of the best overall records in the entire NHL.

Along these lines, Arturs Silovs in some respects epitomises this combination of surprise and success for the Canucks. He came almost out of nowhere towards the end of the regular season, going on to become the main option in net during the playoffs.

Now yes, the main reason Silovs was even given the opportunity to play, was due to Thatcher Demko's unfortunate injury issues. However, that he would take over from Casey DeSmith as the main man in Demko's absence, spoke volumes.

Canucks coach Rick Tocchet had no issue in putting Silovs between the pipes, to deal with the increased pressure that comes with playoff hockey. This was despite the young goalie being just 22 and having only nine career regular season games to his name.

By comparison, DeSmith was 32 and with 142 career starts to his credit in the NHL (including 27 in 2023-24 alone). And it's not as if he was some type of scrub, with a 70-53-21 record, .909 save percentage and 2.82 Goals Against Average.

This clearly alluded to Tocchet having complete confidence in Silovs, as well as the writing being on the wall for DeSmith's time in Vancouver. And so the latter has proven to be the case, with DeSmith since signing a three-year deal with the Dallas Stars.

Radio silence on the contract front

However, with Silovs seemingly set to officially become Demko's main backup, there's just one not-so-small problem to consider - he's yet to actually sign a new deal with the Canucks. So what gives?

To be clear, with the 2019 sixth round draft pick being a restricted a free agent, the Canucks have already extended a qualifying offer. At the time it was assumed this was effectively a placeholder, so that general manager Patrik Allvin and the rest of the front office could continue negotiations towards a longer-term contract extension.

However, with no new deal announced as yet, does this mean fans should be concerned about Silovs' future with the team? Certainly this isn't helped when, as per Patrick Johnston of The Province, the goalie's agent Paul Theofanous hasn’t replied to queries.

In theory the money is there to sign Silovs with, as per Puck Pedia, the Canucks currently having a projected cap space of $1,015,833 available for next season. Now consider that AFP Analytics has him projected to sign a new deal for two years, with an annual average value of $1,003,200.

Looking for clues

While not a definitive indicator, the recent signing of fellow goalie Jiří Patera could offer a clue to Silovs' future with the Canucks organisation. While Patera does have some solid upside, the fact he signed a two-way deal seems to be proof that he's further down the pecking order in the grand scheme of things.

Allvin hasn't offered much indication himself. In fact his recent comments regarding Silovs are equally open to perception as being both optimistic and not so much,

Certainly, the general manager is being non-committal. As per Johnston, he said: "We’re very pleased with Silovs and his progress, his play and performance in the playoffs. The discussion is what’s best for him and what’s best for the Vancouver Canucks. At this point, we’re still talking internally. But Silovs is definitely a good candidate to be on the big team next year."

As for Silovs, all we know are his comments during his end-of-season presser, when he said all he wanted to do during the playoffs was prove he can play for the Canucks and make key saves. He also added he thinks he can learn a lot from Demko, if he is the main backup in Vancouver next season.

Canucks should be higher in NHL offseason power rankings. dark. Next. Canucks should be higher in NHL offseason power rankings

In this respect, the Latvian native has the talent, confidence, size and athleticism to succeed in the NHL, but whether that is in Vancouver remains to be seen. You assume the Canucks will be smart enough to secure his future, but until a new deal is announced, it will have to be accepted that a large portion of the fan base (and media) are going to wonder what's going on?

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