Ben Kuzma: Canucks general manager Benning optimistic about retaining Sutter over buyout option

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Concussion-ridden Micheal Ferland is at a crossroads in his career and, although the winger is skating and training, his future as a player is in great doubt. Placing the winger on the long-term injury list would unleash his annual hit of $ 3.5 million in ceiling relief. There’s also the possibility of burying contracts and demoting Eriksson and Sven Baertschi to AHL affiliate Utica Comets in a formula that brings some relief.

Applying the league’s minimum wage ($ 700,000) plus $ 375,000 means Eriksson’s cap will only be reduced from $ 6 million to $ 4.9 million and Baertschi’s $ 3.36 has been hit the last year of its deal, reduced to $ 2.29 million. This makes sense as the contract is not movable and there have not been any trading suitors for the pair.

“I’m okay with having some extra guys we could send,” Benning said. “In a world of variable capital, I don’t think there is a risk that someone will be taken care of (waivers) and if they do, good for them. These are things that are on the table. ”

Another pressing issue, unless Benning can find a business partner, will be the committee right winger to flank Bo Horvat. With Tyler Toffoli leaving free agency, and Brock Boeser set to line up with Elias Pettersson and JT Miller, Virtanen is going to take a look at the captain and Adam Gaudette could get changes as well, as Eriksson has proven the last season that it was not This is not a solution.

Defensively, the commercial acquisition of Nate Schmidt solidifies the first two pairings and highlights the third tandem. The Canucks need to know if Olli Juolevi, 22, can consistently play at this level after 25 points (2-23) in 45 games at Utica last season. And can teammate Brogan Rafferty, 25, earn 45 points last season (7-38) in 57 games that placed third among all American League defensemen in the NHL despite defensive shortcomings?

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