How Kole Lind’s selection is shaping the upcoming offseason
The Vancouver Canucks officially have one less thing to worry about this summer.
On Wednesday night, the Seattle Kraken hosted their extension draft, selecting one player from each of the 30 participating teams. After some speculation on who they would pick from Vancouver, the Kraken ended up going with 22-year-old forward Kole Lind.
The real question – what exactly did this decision do for the Canucks?
Lind has only played seven games in the NHL so far in his career, but he has looked disappointing in all of them, not having scored a point in that span. The former 2017 second-round pick recorded impressive numbers in the WHL, especially during the 2017-18 campaign, but has yet to be able to bring those offensive prowess to the AHL or NHL yet. .
Given his young age and limited exposure to the big leagues, there is still a possibility that Lind could become the top nine forwards that everyone expected him to become from the start. However, if Lind continues at this current pace, he will only become a fourth-row center at best, if he breaks the opening night roster. Also, when you take a look at what the other teams lost to Seattle with no comeback, it should make you sleep better at night knowing that we only lost a slow-developing prospect like Lind.
Of course, when teams compete in extension drafts like this, it’s important to focus not only on what you have lost, but also what you have lost. could have lost. In the case of Vancouver, the change is focused between the pipes on Braden Holtby.
Much like Lind, Holtby seemed like another hot topic of conversation in Vancouver before Wednesday night. Many fans had Holtby high on their roster when it comes to the Seattle selection, not least because of what that would mean for the team in the coming season.
Holtby is entering the final year of his current two-year contract, but is looking to bounce back in a meaningful way. The soon-to-32-year-old posted below-average numbers for the second year in a row, posting seven wins and no shutouts, to accompany an average of 3.67 and 0.889 SV% over 21 games.
Considering the current situation for goaltenders in Vancouver, that doesn’t raise the biggest red flag for fans and management. Goalkeeper Thatcher Demko is expected to shoulder most of the workload next season, which also marks the first year of his five-year, $ 25 million contract. However, if Holtby stays with the club, he will be counted on to score 10-12 wins in Demko’s absence if the team wants a decent chance for the playoffs, which means his gameplay will need to improve considerably. It would also mean Holtby would spend most of the year on the bench, accompanied by his cap of $ 4.3 million.
Thanks to the Seattle Extension Draft, many fans were hoping the Kraken would solve this dilemma by taking Holtby out of our hands to use him as an option 1B or even 1C. As we all know, it was not. Seattle didn’t want to shoulder the full financial burden, and they weren’t in the market to help a division foe without getting a sweetener in return, forcing the Canucks organization to re-calculate the numbers with the hat of. Holtby still in place. books.
Heading into the 2021-22 season, the Canucks are currently expected to have just over $ 15 million in ceiling space, according to CapFriendly. At first glance, it would appear that the Canucks have a decent amount of money left over to do a few trades, especially given the LTIR, buyout contracts and burial of minors. However, after delving deeper into exactly what the organization needs to cross off its to-do list, it’s much easier to see why the Canucks are strapped for cash this summer, even though one of the options is The above money saving actually takes place.
The first two priorities should be the signing of the calls for applications Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. Both players have proven they can become franchise-changing superstars, having led the team up front and down the blue line. As expected, both players would like their new salaries to reflect their current roles within the organization, and could command more than $ 12 million to $ 13 million between the two. Dickinson is also joining the list of RFA signings that need to be done, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he expected a decent increase in his current AAV of $ 1.5 million.
Benning and company. are in a position to finalize these contract negotiations now and should consider sealing the deal before free agency opens on July 28 at 9:00 a.m. PST. Once the morning clock strikes that day, Pettersson and Dickinson could be subject to leaf offers from other NHL clubs.
The start date of July 28 also applies to FMUs. Right now, the Canucks have eight players ready to touch unrestricted free will, but most of them should walk. The two exceptions are defensemen Travis Hamonic and Alex Edler.
Hamonic struggled early in the season but was able to bounce back in the second half and ended up finding chemistry with Hughes. At just 21, Hughes could use a bit more stability in a defensive partner, and Hamonic would be a great option at home and defensively strong to complement the young defender, much like former Canuck Chris Tanev.
Edler is a bit more complicated. Last week, it was reported that Edler wanted to test the waters of free agencies after spending 15 seasons in Vancouver. The 35-year-old could probably have his fair share of options next week, especially if he’s looking for a smaller role on a contending team, much like Ron Hainsey did in Pittsburgh a few years ago ( although it was acquired at the trade deadline).
However, if Edler can’t find what he’s looking for in free agency, it might make sense for Benning to come back to the veteran, as long as the term, course, and positional expectations work for the team and their long-term plan. . In other words, third pairing minutes with limited responsibilities.
And that’s just free will.
In the next week or so, fans will be hopeful that Benning can also find a new home for defenseman Nate Schmidt, who is reportedly keen to leave Vancouver after just a year with the team. In an ideal world, Benning would acquire another strong right-handed defender in exchange for Schmidt, or even a potential top-six winger.
Benning will also have to make decisions on Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, Loui Eriksson and Jake Virtanen regarding the rest of their contracts. For now, it would make sense to buy out Virtanen’s contract, given his age and cap. Even if he decides to keep those players, Benning will have to decide very soon, as the buyout window is expected to close on July 27.
The four forwards mentioned currently represent $ 14.55 million of the team’s cap. Add in Holtby’s remaining salary and you get just under $ 19 million. Given these numbers, it would be ideal for Benning and co. could reallocate some of that money before the puck fell in October, either through a trade, buyout or transfer to Abbotsford.
Despite the fact that the expansion draft is relatively unscathed, it’s clear the Canucks still need to sort out a few things on their to-do list, and many fans are hoping they can all be ticked off over the next week or so.
At the time of publication of this article, NHL teams are no longer bound by the list freeze and are able to engage in trade negotiations and buyouts, which means Benning can initiate the process of redesign. The remaining question – will he be able to achieve everything the team needs in a timely manner?
Buckle up, Canucks fans! It’s about to get very busy in the hockey world.