Canucks talks with Hughes, Pettersson accelerating to conclusion
VANCOUVER – Long movie, quick ending.
It was like watching the Godfather, except no one woke up with a horse’s head in bed. Not that we know, anyway
The months-long saga of the Vancouver Canucks’ slow negotiations with free agents Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes accelerated dramatically to conclusion on Thursday night after a decisive day that saw the teams move towards a six-year contract. for Hughes, the team’s best defender, and a three-year contract for Pettersson, his best striker.
Sportsnet 650’s Satiar Shah reported that Hughes’ contract will be for six years at around US $ 7.75 million per season, while CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal reported that Pettersson’s deal was for three years and $ 7.7 million.
Sportsnet announced earlier that general manager Jim Benning and agent Pat Brisson, who represents the two players, could finalize the deals as early as Thursday evening. Without confirming or refuting any of the reports, a Canucks official later said there would be no official announcement that day.
Friday is shaping up to be big news for the Canucks.
In addition to looking to secure second contracts for their two most important franchise players, the Canucks were also awaiting a decision this season from absent defenseman Travis Hamonic, who has until 2 p.m. local time on Friday to retire from the third. National Hockey League year with COVID-19 Restrictions.
If Hamonic, who pulled out of the playoff bubble with the Calgary Flames 14 months ago, decides he won’t play this season, it will leave a big hole in Vancouver’s defense.
But that’s just a crack in the abyss in the Canucks roster that will exist if 22-year-old Pettersson and 21-year-old Hughes are not re-signed before the season opener. Vancouver to Edmonton on October 13.
The unexplained and injury-related absence in Thursday training of winger Brock Boeser, another of the organization’s founding players, not only left the Canucks with what looked like a glorified expansion roster – a few excellent players surrounded by a companion and promising prospects – but amplified the continued absence of Pettersson and Hughes.
They trained together near Hughes’ off-season Michigan home. Until Thursday, there had been little progress in the daily talks between Benning and Brisson since the Canucks’ training camp opened a week ago.
Coach Travis Green squeezed his training camp roster into an NHL-sized squad of 23 or 24 earlier this week. Without Pettersson, Hughes and Hamonic, as well as seasoned fourth-row forwards and penalty killers Tyler Motte and Brandon Sutter, who are respectively out indefinitely due to injury and fatigue, Thursday’s training roster included Alex Chiasson, Phil Di Guiseppe, Justin Dowling, Nic Petan, Brad Hunt and Luke Schenn.
They are all respected veterans who had strong training camps and earned the right to continue competing for a berth in the NHL. But the number of players who might otherwise be trapped in a bubble between the NHL and the American Hockey League also reflects the number of Canucks regular players missing.
Pettersson and Hughes are essential. The fact that the Canucks both appear to have signed on for less than $ 8 million on average is an impressive achievement for Benning.
But it also represents the skill and pragmatism of Brisson, whose challenge has always been trying to figure out how to distribute among his clients the $ 15 to 16 million the Canucks had under the salary cap without disturbing either player. .
When Pettersson changed agents at the start of last season and joined Brisson and JP Barry at Creative Artists Agency, which employs Jim Hughes, Quinn’s father, as a development coach, there were concerns about the type of influence that the CAA could exert in the negotiations.
But the two-horse entry probably helped Benning. Despite fears that Pettersson could attract a predatory free agency bid, an option not available to Hughes, Brisson couldn’t afford to hit a home run for one player if it depleted the remaining money for the other.
Brisson had to manage the interests of his clients and maximize their individual value within the Canucks salary cap. So that means a six-year contract for Hughes at market value, leaving a three-year contract for Pettersson which sets a new precedent for “bridge” contracts.
At $ 7.75 million, Hughes’ average salary will be slightly lower than the $ 9 million AVV contemporary Cale Makar recently received from the Colorado Avalanche, and the $ 8.45 million the Dallas stars agreed to pay Miro Heiskanen.
At this point, Hughes is less accomplished and complete than these defenders. But he will also be eligible for unrestricted free agency at age 27.
If Pettersson’s transition salary is $ 7.7 million, it will easily exceed the $ 7 million the New York Islanders agreed to pay Mat Barzal, another CAA client, before. last season, and the $ 6.75 million the Tampa Bay Lightning paid Brayden Point the past two years.
Pettersson’s salary will be less than the $ 9.25 million Mikko Rantanen receives from the Colorado Avalanche and the $ 9 million Kirill Kaprizov receives from the Minnesota Wild. But the Canuck will be in contention for their next contract at 25 and will then position themselves, if they continue to develop, to surpass Rantanen and Kaprizov in their next contract.
Those contracts set a precedent for the Canucks, and if Benning and Brisson finalize them by Friday, Pettersson and Hughes should be in Vancouver this weekend and ready to play the Canucks’ final three preseason games next week.