By: Trent Leith / April 1, 2021
For a week without any hockey to be played by the Vancouver Canucks, a lot has happened in the last few days. The Canucks’ first Covid-19 delay, Demko’s deal and Pearson contract rumours for starters. To make sure we cover it all we figured now is as good a time as any to do a SCT Grab Bag and touch on much of the latest news.
Adam Gaudette’s Positive Test
The Canucks centre depth has been truly tested recently with Elias Pettersson, Brandon Sutter, Jay Beagle all out of the line-up, and that test will only continue as now Adam Gaudette will be tagged out for Brandon Sutter. Adam Gaudette has entered the NHL’s COVID-19 Protocols as of Tuesday morning.
Prior to leaving in the middle of Tuesday’s practice, Gaudette was on a line with J.T. Miller and Jimmy Vesey, finally poised to get his chance in the top six. Here at StadiumChinatown.ca we have been calling for Gaudette to get an extended look over Jake Virtanen for weeks, and just as it looked like he had his chance to show himself off, it got plucked away. Virtanen was not at practice either on Tuesday as he was not feeling well. Gaudette’s practice linemates could have been a placeholder until Wednesday’s game, but it could also have been a signal of more favourable deployment.
Wednesday evening before the Vancouver Canucks Calgary Flames game, the NHL released a statement saying that the evening’s game would be postponed. The release stated that the Canucks had a second player test positive after Wednesday’s morning skate. Sometime after 5 pm, when the Covid list was submitted, a second player got a positive test, as well as a member of the coaching staff. Further possible delays for the Canucks are currently still up in the air.
It should go without saying, but we hope Adam is lucky enough to have a mild case and quickly recovers. We also hope that Micaela Gaudette is in good health as well. The same also goes for the second player who tested positive, the member of the coaching staff and their families. COVID-19 continues to be a very real threat, and we hope everyone involved stays healthy through this process. The health of these individuals is infinitely more important than the hockey implications.
Demko’s New Contract
Thatcher Demko is the first of the big three contracts that the Canucks will need to sign before next season. Thatcher Demko signed a 5 year, $25M contract as an up-and-coming superstar. Rick Dhaliwal is reporting that there is no trade protection on this new deal which is a breath of fresh air for fans. This new contract buys 3 UFA years and ties Demko up from age 26 to 31. If the Canucks are looking to be contenders in the next couple of years, having a bonafide starter tied up through the window is a tidy piece of business to have behind them.
There is of course risk in signing a still relatively green player like Demko to a big deal like this. Demko only has 62 NHL games under his belt with a 0.911 SV%. However, the contract that was signed was not a bad bet on a player you expect to be the backbone of the team for years to come. When you directly compare this deal to players like Jordan Binnington or Matt Murray, the contract stands out as a team favourable deal. Binnington has a career 0.914 SV% and is signed for 6 years $36M and Matt Murray has a career 0.911 SV% and is signed at 4 years $25M.
Pearson’s Contract Negotiations
Rick Dhaliwal provided an update for Canucks fans about the contract situation for Tanner Pearson Tuesday afternoon. The Canucks have reached out to Pearson’s agent to start the negotiating process. Though the latest information suggests that the Pearson deal is still far from complete according to Elliotte Friedman.
Tanner Pearson is currently still not in the lineup due to injury. Pearson is one of the Canucks’ most movable assets entering the final days before the trade deadline. Unfortunately, though his injury lessens the chances of him being traded yet does not completely rule out the possibility. However, with Pearson out, and interest in the player deflating, it’s not much of a question as to why contract talks are finally starting.
New Quarantine Rules Hurt the Canucks as Sellers
The NHL, the Canadian government and Provincial governments have approved a 7-day quarantine for players that are traded from the United States to Canada. While this increases the chances of an exciting trade deadline come April 12th, it doesn’t fare well if the Canucks were to be sellers.
The 14 day quarantine period for players coming from south of the border into Canada created a unique situation where Canucks players became more valuable to other Canadian teams. When a player is traded within Canada, there is a quarantine period of 7 days in most cases, which prior to the changes was half the downtime of cross-border trades.
Now with the international trades are under the same timeline as national trades, it opens up the market and tips the scales more towards a buyers market. While it is still very possible for Canucks management to complete trades, they have more competition when providing goods to Canadian buyers. This trade deadline is likely going to be the most unique deadline of our lifetime and will be interesting to watch, even if there are all but no trades by the end of it.
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