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Sending Eriksson to AHL Not an “Easy Fix” for Canucks

Some might suggest simply sending Loui Eriksson to the AHL would help alleviate some of the Canucks’ salary cap pressure. It’s not that easy.

Loui-Eriksson

If there’s one thing that’s clear by now, moving on from Loui Eriksson’s contract is not the easiest thing to do if you’re Vancouver Canucks’ GM Him Benning. A trade hasn’t worked, Eriksson’s deal is virtually buyout proof and he’s not played up to anywhere close to value of what he’s being paid. The money allocated to Eriksson is handcuffing the Cancucks from other deals and the easiest thing to do might be to send him to the AHL.

Related: Ekman-Larsson Reveals Truth Behind Offseason Trade Rumors

Loui Eriksson 1
Loui Eriksson 1

Except, that isn’t actually the easiest thing to do if your the owner of the Canucks, according to a recent post by Harman Dayal of The Athletic.

Dayal notes that the Canucks have considered the idea of sending Eriksson down to the AHL to free up cap space, but there are complications that come with such a move. First, because of the differences in escrow between the AHL and NHL, the money owed to Eriksson actually increases if he plays in the minors versus the pros. Dayal writes:

Well, the NHL and AHL rules for revenue sharing are different. We discussed this briefly in September, but the AHL doesn’t tax players with escrow which means Canucks ownership would actually be paying Eriksson more money if he plays in the minors as opposed to the big club.

In other words, because the AHL doesn’t withhold money from the players to ensure the owners get their fair share, Eriksson would be owed the full amount of his salary. So, instead of the NHL withholding the typical 10% (now 20% with the pandemic adjustments), he gets it all. That equates to about a $780K difference.

Some will argue that’s no big deal and worth it to move on from the salary. But, if you consider the Canucks would then be spending that saved money on another player, ownership then owes Eriksson and the new acquisition. While league revenues are down and the owners are taking a huge loss, that might not be the easiest sell.

What About Eriksson Retiring?

There’s a potential argument that if demoted, Eriksson might elect to retire instead of report to Utica. That’s certainly possible. But, Dayal also points out that Eriksson is heavily invested in the restaurant business and he’s not doing well on those investments. Giving up the $5 million he’s set to be paid next season may not be realistic.

Loui-Eriksson
Loui-Eriksson

And, until the NHL gets going again, Eriksson won’t be forced to make a decision on his future. There’s no reason to retire until that time, even if he is demoted. That lessens the ability for the Canucks to go out and add a player to replace him.

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