A flurry of reports in Vancouver Thursday evening indicate that centre Elias Pettersson has signed, or is about to sign, a three-year contract for approximately $7.8-million dollars per season. Same neighbourhood financially for defenceman Quinn Hughes, but his deal would be for six years. The Vancouver Canucks and agent Pat Brisson of CAA, who represents both players, had picked up the pace of negotiations since Wednesday. Persons close to the discussions told VHN Thursday morning that talks were “getting closer” and “heating up”.
Speaking of Thursday’s practice, one could feel a certain anxious anticipation in the building. Sure, it’s great for other guys to get a look on the power play, but there was also the sense of “yeah, once Petey and Hughes are back, this guy’s never going to be on the power play.” Maybe due to injuries, maybe in January. Now, these hypothetical scenarios subside, especially once the offensive stars are back in the mix. It won’t be long.
The next decision to quickly come down the pike belongs to defenceman Travis Hamonic. It’s generally been accepted that this player is not interested in being vaccinated for Covid. The reasons are unimportant ultimately. As one NHL GM pointed out to us Thursday, it’s personal, it’s his right. That same GM also suggested that Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning shouldn’t be blamed for the Hamonic situation should the player opt-out of the season as expected. The team and the player signed a two-year, $3-million per season deal on July 28th in good faith. The Canucks have called around to US based markets this week in an attempt to trade the player to no avail. The other option for Hamonic is to retire. Is there a dream sequence where he, hearing that the two young stars have signed and trade attempts have failed, decides to get vaccinated and report to Vancouver? Not bloody likely.
Depending on how much exactly the Pettersson and Hughes financial numbers come in at, and considering the $3-million that frees up if Hamonic sits out, minus the cost of his replacement, the Vancouver Canucks might actually have just a wee bit of salary cap breathing room to work with. This would also involve claiming the long-term injured reserve money from Michael Ferland’s contract when the season starts. He has two years remaining at $3.5-million per.
Ultimately and thankfully, we’re about to put the off-season business of hockey behind us, and move the action completely on to the ice. Hallelujah. The Vancouver Canucks take on the Calgary Flames in preseason action Friday night in Alberta. The start time is 6 pm pacific. We’ll post the roster when it’s released.
Enjoy the Hockey Action!