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The Loui Eriksson train is fuelled up & getting ready to leave the station

June 15, 2019, 1:25 PM ET [398 Comments]
Carol Schram
Vancouver Canucks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The NHL's first buyout window opens Saturday, giving teams a chance to get out from under bad contracts on their books.

Click here for CapFriendly's complete buyout FAQ.

This is the main buyout period, and runs until June 30. The action tends to pick up steam as we go along, once teams receive the final salary-cap number for next season and see what kind of player movement they can execute during the draft, and start to get an idea of their free-agency plans when the talking period opens on June 23.

There will be a second buyout window later this summer, but that's only for teams that have one or more arbitration filings, and usually doesn't see much action.

The Philadelphia Flyers are the first team to step into the waiver pool.

MacDonald, 32, has one year left on the six-year deal that carries a cap hit of $5 million a season, but the value on the deal actually went up year-over-year. He's owed $5.75 million this season. The buyout cost for the team will be just over $3.8 million, spread over two years, so the Flyers will save just under $2 million in real money. The move will free up $3.8 million in extra cap space this season, but they'll be on the hook for $1.9 million next year, that they wouldn't otherwise have to deal with.

MacDonald is one of the names that Elliotte Friedman mentions as a buyout candidate in his new
31 Thoughts column. He also says to watch for possible action on Scott Darling, Corey Perry and Dion Phaneuf—as well as possibly Valeri Nichushkin in Dallas. Because he's under 26, Nichushkin's buyout number is only one-third of his salary, instead of the usual two-thirds. He has one year left on his current deal, at $2.7 million.

We've often heard Loui Eriksson's contract with the Canucks referred to as 'buyout proof.' Here's what that means right now:

Eriksson has three years left on his current six-year contract with the Canucks. The cap hit is $6 million a season, but he has already received $23 million of his total $36 million, and will get another $4 million in signing bonus on July 1. That leaves just $9 million owing for the rest of the deal—$1 million in salary this year and next, then $3 million in the final year, plus bonuses of $3 million in 2020-21 and $1 million in 2021-22.

Buyout ratios don't apply to signing bonuses, so Eriksson is guaranteed to receive the full $8 million in bonus money that's still owed to him. Only his $5 million in salary can be bought out.

So, if the Canucks did buy Eriksson out, they'd save just over half a million off the cap for each of the next two seasons, then about $2.5 million in 2021-22. After that, they'd be on the hook for just over half a million for three more years, till 2024-25.

In real money, Eriksson would get $11.3 million of the $13 million that's owed to him on his contract. And cap-wise, the Canucks would save the same difference—$1.7 million in total. Pretty small potatoes.

Earlier this week, we got confirmation from Eriksson's agent that a change of scenery is looking like an appealing option.

Eriksson has a full no-trade clause for one additional season, so the player would have to be fully on board with any deal that is worked out.

Friedman takes another spin around the Eriksson-Lucic rumours, mentioning that there was some talk of James Neal possibly being added into the mix as part of a three-way deal that would see Eriksson end up in Calgary. He also mentions Jese Puljujarvi's name as the possible 'sweetener' coming from Edmonton—while acknowledging that Lucic's no-move clause would mean that he'll have to be protected in the expansion draft. That, and the extra year on his contract, are the two big anchors that his contract carries.

Friedman says "I don’t know where it stands," with Puljujarvi, but does mention that the player is still looking for a fresh start—apparently not ready to wipe the slate clean in Edmonton even with the arrivals of Ken Holland and Dave Tippett.

What do you think? Do you think Puljujarvi and Olli Juolevi could re-discover their dominant form from that 2016 World Junior tournament if they were reunited in Vancouver next season?

Jim Benning gave a positive update on Juolevi's rehab on the radio on Friday.

Puljujarvi has completed his waiver-exempt period—he'd have to play for the big club next year. He had just 4-5-9 in 46 NHL games last year, but he also underwent hip surgery at the end of the year. Will he come back stronger? And would he be enough to make you feel better about the Canucks acquiring Lucic?

After the St. Louis Blues' Stanley Cup win and all the talk about the return of 'heavy hockey,' I feel like Jim Benning won't be deterred from the idea that Lucic is a good acquisition for his team. Sigh.

As we head into draft week, here's what Elliotte has to say about the tradewinds currently blowing:

"Among the most aggressive teams: Buffalo, Calgary, Chicago, Minnesota, Nashville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Vancouver, Vegas, Washington and Winnipeg. Depending on how the draft goes, we could see some frenetic attempts to move up and down."

I'm doing my best to get into the spirit of the thing. As of Saturday morning, I'm on the clock for the Canucks in the HockeyBuzz mock draft—and I've got a deal in place that I hope will please you. Keep an eye out for updates on the main page and when the trade is announced, please vote!

Benning also kept an optimistic tone on Friday when asked about Alex Edler.

With all the talk of the Canucks being aggressive, what are we to make of this news from Friday?

After suggesting a couple of weeks ago that Erik Karlsson's preference would be to return to the East Coast, with the easier travel—and maybe even to Ottawa, because his wife is homesick—the latest update is that Karlsson and the Sharks are making an effort to try to get a long-term deal done.

So much for the idea that he's too fragile to commit to long term. "It is believed they’ve made him an offer that will challenge, if not surpass, Drew Doughty’s extension from last summer," reports Friedman. Doughty's at 8 x $11 million, in case you forgot.

A week or so ago, Karlsson was spotted at one of the NBA Finals games in Oakland—on crutches, after news broke that he'd undergone groin surgery. No sign of the crutches in this photo.

He certainly wasn't shy about posing for pix while he was at YVR.

Again—since we're still more than a week away from the free-agent discussion window, Karlsson is still officially under contract to the Sharks. He can't say anything about wanting to play for another team, and he wouldn't be allowed to take a meeting with Jim Benning.

Could he have chosen to route through Vancouver to get a bit of a feel for our fair city? Maybe. But according to the rules, that would have had to be an independent decision, made by him.

Something to watch over the coming days, for sure...
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