The Vancouver Canucks have a lot of work to do. With an underwhelming season, some big contracts to attend to and players on the books that are being paid for too much for their respective production, this offseason will be a busy one for general manager Jim Benning. And, according to Patrick Johnston of The Province, the GM is confident he can make it work.

The Canucks took care of two important players when they signed both Thatcher Demko and Tanner Pearson to extensions this season. Taking care of that bit of business a couple of weeks ago, Benning can look forward to deals for Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. Both will be due hefty raises, but the Canucks don’t have a lot of cap space with which to work. Johnston writes, “As it stands, even with Micheal Ferland placed on long-term injured reserve, the Canucks could have just a few million dollars to fill out the rest of their roster, something that will be very difficult to do with effectiveness.”

As a result, Johnston notes the team might be looking at ways to clear salary off the books. The scribe quotes Benning who said, “I don’t foresee any cap problems this summer.”

It’s an interesting statement to make considering the magnitude of the deals he’s got to take care and that he’s not got the best track record for being salary cap savvy. We can only assume he’s got a plan.

What Might Benning Be Thinking?

Johnston suggested Benning wasn’t keen on the idea of moving a big-ticket like Nate Schmidt. Instead, he adds:

“That suggests he has other shoes he hopes to drop. Jake Virtanen was on the trading block earlier this season, so might he find a suitor for the wayward winger? Jay Beagle’s injury is unknown, but there have been suggestions he might be out long-term, perhaps even all of next season. If so, his absence would create more cap space.

source – ‘Canucks GM Jim Benning not concerned about salary cap issues, quiet on the Travis Green front’ – The Province – Patrick Johnston – 04/09/2021

Keep in mind, while it doesn’t count against the salary cap, Benning also has to get an extension done with Head coach Travis Green, whose contract expires on June 1. “Travis has done an excellent job coaching this group of players,” Jim Benning said Jan. 3. “Our intention is to sign Travis to an extension so he’s part of our group here moving forward.”

This article first appeared on NHL Trade Talk and was syndicated with permission.

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