The Vancouver Canucks are one of several NHL teams that have been overhauling their roster this summer despite not having much money available to spend. So general manager Jim Benning has gotten creative.
The Canucks traded their 2021 first-round pick to ship out $12 million of salary — Loui Eriksson, Jay Beagle, and Antoine Roussel — to the Arizona Coyotes for Oliver Ekman-Larsson and the rights to RFA Conor Garland (who could end up with an AAV of $4 to $5 million). Vancouver also bought out Jake Virtanen, netting $2.5 million of savings next season, and added RFA center Jason Dickinson from the Stars for a third-round pick.
Now, a year after signing Braden Holtby as an unrestricted free agent, the Canucks are looking to move their backup netminder either via buyout or trade after Thatcher Demko locked down the starting spot. Holtby has a cap hit of $4.3 million.
Before the Expansion Draft, the Canucks were approached by the Seattle Kraken if they would be willing to retain salary or do a sweetener deal (give up a player, prospect, or draft pick compensation) to take Holtby. The Canucks were not interested in doing so.
Kraken and Canucks talked about Braden Holtby, but believe VAN not interested in retaining salary or adding sweetener. Kole Lind was logical pick for SEA.
— Iain MacIntyre (@imacSportsnet) July 21, 2021
Now, the Canucks are mulling the next steps for Holtby, which includes outright trading the Holtbeast to another team or possibly buying him out.
Now down to the final two days of the #NHL’s first buyout window of the summer, these players are on buyout watch today:
Braden Holtby (VAN)
Martin Jones (SJS)
James Neal (EDM)
Buyouts must be completed by July 27 at 5pm ET, so today is the day for waivers in order to do it.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 26, 2021
As of right now, the Canucks are still trying to trade Holtby first, have not made a decision on buyout yet.
Fluid situation, things can change quick.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) July 26, 2021
Time is running out, however, to buy him out.
Teams can still place players on Unconditional Waivers tomorrow for the purpose of a buyout, even though it takes 24 hours to clear waivers.
The buyout can go through on the same day with the expectation that the player will clear waivers the following day.
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 26, 2021
There are several teams that are reportedly trying to land the 2018 Stanley Cup champion, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, including the Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, and Philadelphia Flyers.
Friedman on Holtby – They are having a tough time moving him because they wont give something up. There is interest in Holtby – Col, Tor, Phill, Buf.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) July 26, 2021
A move to the Flyers could be of particular interest to Holtby who has a prior relationship with RFA Carter Hart.
#Flyers have apparently shown interest in Holtby but it would make no sense at his current price. Would need Vancouver to retain major salary or take a significant salary back in return. https://t.co/HNProsO4Tz
— Broad Street Buzz (@BroadStreetBuzz) July 26, 2021
The Fourth Period added that Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, and Washington Capitals have been “linked to” Holtby as well, though it’s unclear what “linked to” means and is devoid of details.
While the Capitals need another goaltender (preferably veteran) after losing Vitek Vanecek in the Expansion Draft, they would not be able to bring Holtby back unless the Canucks took on the same or more amount of salary back, making a Holtby reunion remote unless the Capitals cap situation improves. Washington has Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Samsonov to re-sign, on top of another goaltender, with only $9.735 million available to spend.
If Holtby isn’t bought out or moved by Tuesday, the Canucks could wait until a few days after free agency opens to see if there’s a better dance partner then, but their time is running out.
As the The Canuck Way explains:
The Canucks do have the option of waiting it out for the next 48-72 hours to see how free agency unfolds, given that some teams will still have goaltending issues once the big fish are locked into new contracts. However, if they want to deal with Holtby sooner than later, it would make sense for Benning and co. to seriously consider a buyout option.
Unlike Virtanen, Holtby would be owed 2/3 of his remaining contract value over the next two years. After crunching the numbers based on the structure of his final year, the Canucks would only be dinged with a cap penalty of $500,000, meaning they would save $3.8 million for the upcoming season. That penalty would increase to $1.9 million in 2022-23, for a total cap hit of $2.4 million over two years.
Holtby, 31, went 7-11-3 for the Canucks last season, posting a 3.67 goals against average and a .889 save percentage.
Headline photo: Canucks
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.