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Vancouver Canucks: Cap Crunch? Prust Clears, Henrik and Hamhuis Ready

John Tortorella is back with the Jackets after missing three games before the All-Star break due to broken ribs suffered during an accidental collision at an outdoor practice. Last-place Columbus went 2-0-1 while he was sidelined, though the two wins did come against the woeful Montreal Canadiens.

According to the Blue Jackets website, Torts is not yet cleared to get back on the ice, so he watched practice in Edmonton from the lower bowl. I wonder if he'll do the same here in Vancouver today?

I also wonder how things will go when he meets with the local media here in town for the first time since he was relieved of his duties with the Canucks on May 1, 2014. 

But first...Canucks news.





The Canucks will be able to bury $950,000 of Prust's $2.5 million cap hit as he's assigned to the AHL, but the team's cap situation remains murky from my perch.According to General Fanager, the Canucks had $3.2 million in available cap space with Prust still on the books. By my simple math, if they gain $950,000 by sending Prust down, that increases the space to $4.15 million.But Dan Hamhuis, with his $4.5 million cap hit, is almost ready to come off injured reserve.



I asked General Fanager if that would be a problem. This is what they told me:

If this is correct and the team remains healthy, the Canucks would need to consummate a big trade before Hamhuis comes back—or else move a bunch of players down to Utica?

In past years, Vancouver's salary-cap details were handled by Laurence Gilman, who was dismissed last summer. From what I can tell on the Canucks' management page, these duties now fall under the job description of Vice President and General Counsel Chris Gear and Director of Hockey Operations and Analytics Jonathan Wall.

So—maybe cap-related moves aren't being announced or processed in the same way as in seasons past? From a purely logical point of view, it would seem to me that the Canucks should be sitting pretty thanks to all the significant injuries the team has absorbed this year:

Just looking at the injuries that have lasted more than 30 days and would definitely qualify for long-term injured reserve:

• Brandon Sutter missed 33 games between Nov. 12 and Jan. 26, so that should provide $1.3 million in cap relief on his $3.3 million cap hit for this season.

• Dan Hamhuis has been out since Dec. 10 with his facial injury and has missed 20 games so far. That should earn the team a little over $1.1 million in cap relief when he comes back.

• Luca Sbisa's hand injury kept him out for 19 games between Dec. 9 and Jan. 16. That should have earned the team about $830,000 in cap relief on his $3.6 million cap hit.

• Chris Higgins was placed on IR with his foot injury on Oct. 6 and returned to action on Nov. 4, which looks like it was exactly 30 days. Not sure if that would qualify or not.

Even without Higgins, you've got about $3.2 million in cap space that the team didn't have when the season began, assuming all those players were placed on long-term injured reserve to collect the cap savings. Yes, players were called up to fill in during those injuries, but none of those players had base salaries even close to $1 million—less than 1/3 of any of the players that were injured. 

I don't know if this injury relief has been factored into General Fanager's numbers. I have a hard time believing that the Canucks haven't properly juggled their contracts given the timing of these waiver moves—Higgins, right before Sbisa returned, and now Prust as Hamhuis is due to come back. 

I expect we'll get more clarification on this issue in the next couple of days, since it looks like Hamhuis won't be activated until Saturday at the earliest.



Looks like Henrik will be back in, McCann will be scratched and Hamhuis will take a little more time.

One final note today—the Canucks are looking to shore up their defence at the minor-league level by bringing the "Big Russian Bear" Nikita Tryamkin to Utica after his KHL contract expires on April 30.

The assumption here, of course, is that the Comets will go on another long playoff run like they did last year. The AHL regular season ends on April 17.

Listed at 6'6" on the HockeyDB site, Tryamkin is 4-7-11 and has 67 penalty minutes with Yekaterinburg Automobilist this season. His team is currently in a playoff position, in seventh place in the KHL's East Division.

Tryamkin turns 22 in August so in addition to being big, he's also a bit more seasoned than other players from the 2014 draft class.

Since he was drafted, there has been a lot of talk that Tryamkin planned to stay in Russia. Sounds like we'll find out soon enough whether the Canucks organization can change his mind.


I predict Hansen with the hatty to send the Jackets and Torts packing and Virtanen with a strong game again.






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8 minutes ago, Tre Mac said:

Where's McCann?:picard:


'We are opening a opportunity for our youth to play more.'  And you sit McCann after a week long break, I must disagree with this decision!!! RASWR

As a coach, you ride your hot hand. Right now that's Vey, not McCann. 

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5 minutes ago, HC20.0 said:

As a coach, you ride your hot hand. Right now that's Vey, not McCann. 

Not to berate on Vey who has actually played decent since getting called up (other than the atrocious own-goal), but I'd hardly call Vey a "hot hand". I don't see a reason why Vey and McCann shouldn't be getting alternated in and out since neither have been a game-changer this season.

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51 minutes ago, Tavrohorvat53 said:


I predict Hansen with the hatty to send the Jackets and Torts packing and Virtanen with a strong game again.



Thanks to the OP for all information in the GDT. I am also a bit puzzled by the cap situation. I don't think the Canucks should have a problem due to accumulated cap savings during the year.

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Four point game for the Canucks tonight - likely the deciding game between tank mode and playoff mode. If we win tonight, the gap between the Canucks and last place widens to 10 points but if we lose it shrinks to a mere 6 points.

Will be interesting to see how the Canucks play and what kind of hockey we'll get to witness for the remainder of the season.

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