The Canucks’ messy cap situation means they may not be able to make many big moves in the coming days.The Vancouver Canucks say they knew the Roberto Luongo cap penalty was likely on its way.In fact, the club has been planning to work with a salary budget that will be $3 million less than the rest of the NHL teams due to its 2010 deal and financial obligations with the Florida goalie. Or so we’re told.Whatever the truth is, the cap-recapture penalty triggered by the retirement of their former goalie changes the cap story for the Canucks significantly.It should be noted that Luongo couldn’t go on long-term injury reserve with the Panthers until the season starts, as Florida needs its full cap space for the free-agent window that opens July 1.The salary cap for the coming season will be $81.5 million. At minimum, the Canucks need to assemble a roster of 18 skaters and two goalies whose total salaries fall at or below that amount.Or rather, a total of $78.5 million, give or take, because of the rarely assessed penalty they’re receiving for signing Luongo to a long-term deal in 2010, two years before the NHL decided to retroactively punish clubs for signing contracts the league had allowed up to that point.The Canucks have roughly $16.5 million in cap room as the summer free agency window gets set to open on Canada Day.
The Canucks already have 20 players on their NHL roster. (Capfriendly.com)
So that means a $7-million cap hit for Tyler Myers isn’t as straightforward as it appears.On top of whatever move(s) he might want to make in free agency, Canucks general manager Jim Benning also has to sign a number of unrestricted free agents. There are three depth forwards who need new deals: Tyler Motte, Josh Leivo and Nikolay Goldobin.And all this is without taking into consideration Brock Boeser’s new contract, whatever it might be, though it’s a safe bet that Boeser’s deal will not be far off what many expect Myers to get in his contract.The big-money deals he signed with underachieving forwards Loui Eriksson and Brandon Sutter will continue to hamper him from making other moves as long as they’re in the picture.Even if he signs Myers, Benning needs to find another defenceman, albeit he’s said if Olli Juolevi is healthy enough and looks ready to play NHL minutes come training camp, they’ll find a spot for him in the lineup.If Juolevi isn’t ready, the Canucks will either start the season with Ashton Sautner or Guillaume Brisebois on the third defence pairing. Sautner, by the way, needs to clear waivers to go to the minors, though the odds seem good he’d clear.And what if there’s somehow a deal done with free-agent defenceman Ben Hutton? That’s a whole other cap challenge. The Canucks were afraid of him winning a $4-million deal in arbitration and that concern makes sense now, since they apparently now see him only as a low-end defenceman after going through a full season of him playing top-four, sometimes top-two minutes.It’s entirely possible that after signing Goldobin and Motte, if they’re both re-signed of course, one or both may still end up on waivers just to get the Canucks’ opening-day roster under the salary cap.The Luongo penalty also brings into clearer view why the Canucks apparently couldn’t take on all of P.K. Subban’s contract. Nashville had four suitors, the Canucks among them, but only New Jersey was willing to take on the full brunt of Subban’s $9-million salary and cap hit for the next three years.The Canucks initially offered a second-round pick for Subban. It has been reported the Predators countered by asking for Adam Gaudette to be a part of the deal, on top of the Canucks taking on all of Subban’s salary.If the Canucks knew a Luongo hit was coming, that would have made fitting Subban under their tight cap challenging. You would hope, as the previous regime once said of the possibility of adding defenceman Shea Weber, that you would move heaven and earth to find space for a Subban-like player on the roster.The Canucks feel they’ll ice a lineup that’s a bit better than the 2018-19 version. Myers is a flawed defenceman who would still improve the Canucks’ thin right side, but is the hefty price right for his services?J.T. Miller’s trade price seems like a bargain with every cap-relieving move made by the Vegas Golden Knights — the Canucks’ Pacific Division rivals traded defenceman Colin Miller for a couple of non-first round picks Friday — and will make the forwards better, too.But if you’re hoping to see many more quick fixes over the coming days, you might be disappointed. There just isn’t enough money in the Canucks’ cupboard for email@example.com/risingactionCLICK HERE to report a typo.Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email firstname.lastname@example.org