The Canucks’ young star keeps piling up his bonuses.

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It’s been a tough two weeks for Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes but he still had himself a very fine night against the Canadiens on Saturday.

He picked up a pair of assists, which combined to earn him $425,000*.

That’s because Hughes nailed two more Schedule A bonuses on his entry-level contract.

(*It’s actually $289,000 this season because bonuses — both cash and cap hit — have been pro-rated down.)

Hughes is now up to to 28 points on the season, which puts him past the Schedule A pro-rated 27-point threshold for defencemen.

Hitting 28 points also means he’ll finish the season no worse than .5 points per game, eclipsing the .49 PPG threshold for what is his third bonus on the season (he previously surpassed the assists minimum, 17, again pro-rated, last month).

You can earn four Schedule A bonus in each season on your entry-level contract. Hughes is likely to earn his through either finishing top-four in time on ice at the end of the season (pretty much a guarantee) or scoring four (or is it five?) more goals.


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Because the Canucks are playing the season with contracts in Long-Term Injured Reserve, his bonuses will apply to next season’s cap.

As for Hughes having a tough two weeks? Every game since the Maple Leafs arrived in Vancouver has seen the Canucks badly outshot with Hughes on the ice.

That means he’s playing at the wrong end of the ice.

More bonuses

Elias Pettersson hasn’t hit any of his bonuses yet, but he’s going to. He only needs four more goals to earn a bonus, 13 more assists to clear that threshold, 20 more points for the points award and 13 more points to hit the points-per-game minimum.

He’s going to earn a bonus for being in the top six forwards in ice time. Possibly in plus/minus, too.

Nils Höglander also could earn some performance bonuses but only up to $200,000 and his don’t count towards the salary cap because of how he was assigned to the roster at the beginning of the season. (Don’t ask, it’s not interesting.)

Hold tight


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Let’s parse through this a little. The Canucks’ pending unrestricted free agents are Tanner Pearson, Brandon Sutter, Alex Edler, Travis Hamonic and Jordie Benn (and, yes, Brogan Rafferty and Jalen Chatfield).

You can see why teams would be interested in all five of those veterans. They all would be handy role players on a team that’s making a big push.

The Canucks are two points back of Montreal, who still hold four games in hand. They’ve done what they had to do over the past two weeks and they’re still on the outside looking in no matter how you slice it.

They don’t have to keep this crazy pace up but the playoff bar is just getting higher and higher. The Canucks will still need at least 15 more wins, likely 16, to get enough points to squeeze into the final playoff spot in the North.

They have just 21 games left.

In 2013, Sharks GM Doug Wilson got aggressive at the deadline.

He dumped Doug Murray on the Penguins for 2013 and 2014 second rounders, Ryane Clowe to the Rangers for 2013 second and third rounders *plus* a conditional second for 2014, and Michal Handzus to Chicago for a 2014 fourth round pick.

He flipped one of the seconds in 2013 for Tyler Kennedy, a 2013 seventh rounder for Scott Hannan and a 2013 third rounder for Raffi Torres.

He got rid of players who weren’t useful to his team anymore, brought in a bunch of replacements and still *gained* three draft picks.

The Sharks lost in the second round, but they took risks and served multiple purposes.


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Podkolzin watch

We know the Canucks would like to get 2019 first rounder Vasili Podkolzin into the lineup ASAP. His SKA St. Petersburg won game 2 of their KHL western conference semifinal series vs. Moscow Dynamo today, evening up the series at a game apiece.

If SKA were to lose that series, the Canucks could ask for his release from the last month or so of his contract, which expires April 30. But as Bulis has noted, he could get picked for the Russian national team for the world championships, which are scheduled to go in Latvia at the end of May.

If he’s picked, the Russian hockey federation would be under no obligation to release his player transfer card, which they must do before he can register with the Canucks.

Them’s the rules.

But you’ve got to think the Canucks are hopeful that he’s let loose. Do they have a good relationship with Igor Larionov? Jim Benning was once his teammate.

Expansion realities

Braden Holtby is almost surely going to be a Vancouver Canuck in 2021-22.

Erase any notion you might have had that the Seattle Kraken would have case their eyes towards him.

If they ever did, like the Eye of Sauron, their attention is surely now cast elsewhere, towards a bigger prize: either Jake Allen or Carey Price.

One will be available on Montreal’s list.

Price hails from the Cariboo but has made his off-season home in eastern Washington, where he played junior hockey and met his wife.

Would he be amenable to joining the Kraken?


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Anton Khudobin or Marc-Andre Fleury or Cam Talbot will also be available.

There are a few interesting, though not spectacular, younger goalies available, too.

All this is to say, why would Seattle grab Holtby, whose cash outlay is a lot bigger next season than this year?

The Canadian premium

With the two-week travel quarantine rules still in effect, there’s an incentive for teams like Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto to chase after players on the Canucks this season: They can get the likes of Pearson, Sutter or Benn in the lineup in half the time compared to finding a comparable player from down south.

That extra week of utility for a depth player, in a season where three games mean a whole lot for playoff positioning, has to be worth something in a trade. The Canucks would be wise to exploit it and get more from a Canadian trade partner than they might be otherwise able to.

That being said, the Canucks don’t have to trade with Canadian teams, they could trade *to* the U.S., where players only have to serve a one-week league-mandated quarantine. (And in some cases, less.)

That’s another reason to leverage a premium off Canadian teams.

Let’s remember a guy

Reid Boucher had a go. He might have done better with different timing. Either way, he wasn’t going to change the situation of the Canucks’ bottom lines.

Anyway, good to see he’s having success in Russia, especially after the scary start to his season.


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You do feel for Micheal Ferland, who is at home with his family, which is what matters. But he’s not doing what he loves to do and that’s not fair.

Concussions are terrible.


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