I have to admit that when Harman Dayal wrote about this idea in Athletic in February, I was skeptical. Despite his flaws as a hockey player, the Vancouver Canucks forward had just finished an 18-goal season. The former sixth pick in the draft has size, speed and strength. And he is still only 24 years old.
Whatever you think of his game on the ice, it fits the profile of a player that at least one old-school GM will attempt – at least during normal hours.
Well, clearly a lot has changed between now and then.
For starters, Virtanen is currently on leave due to allegations of sexual misconduct. Plus, his terrible season on the ice continued – with just five goals and no assists in 38 games.
What hasn’t changed is the flat cap and the economic blow every team has suffered as a result of the pandemic.
If there is still a team that sees potential at Virtanen, it would be hard to believe that they would accept their full cap ($ 2.55 million), let alone their 2021-22 salary, which contains 3.4 million dollars in real money.
At this point, it might be best to get away from Virtanen entirely by redeeming his contract.
Unlike Loui Eriksson’s deal, which is virtually buyout proof, buying out Virtanen’s contract could be a boon for the team.
As the above image from CapFriendly.com illustrates, the Canucks could see significant savings in cap and real money by buying out Virtanen.
Because Virtanen is under 26, he can be redeemed at a cost of only one-third of the remaining $ 3 million in base salary owed to him (the $ 400,000 signing bonus is not eligible for redemption. ). This buy-back is then spread over a period of twice the remaining term of the contract.
In real dollar terms, the result would be that the Canucks would pay $ 1.4 million instead of $ 3.4 million. As for its link with the salary cap, Virtanen would count only $ 50,000 in 2021-2022 and $ 500,000 in 2022-2023.
And the termination of his contract?
Depending on what happens to the allegations against him, the Canucks may be able to terminate Virtanen’s contract.
Standard NHL player contracts include a morality clause.
According to the ABC, players agree to conduct themselves “on and off the ice according to the highest standards of honesty, morals, fair play and sportsmanship, and to refrain from any behavior. detrimental to the best interests of the club, league or professional. hockey in general. “
There have been a few instances where a player has been found to have violated this clause, allowing the team to terminate the contract.
This is what happened to former Canuck Brendan Leipsic last year, when “misogynistic and objectionable” comments he made in a panel chat were leaked publicly. Washington capitals subsequently gave him unconditional waivers in an attempt to terminate his contract.
Other cases of players having their contracts terminated include Slava Voynov (domestic violence) and Mike Richards (drug possession), each of whom had their contracts terminated in 2015.
Voynov left for the KHL and never returned, while in Richards’ case, the NHLPA filed a grievance on his behalf. The league and NHLPA subsequently reached a settlement, making Richards an unrestricted free agent. Leipsic now also plays in the KHL.