The Vancouver Canucks are trying to break the internet.
Just a few hours after announcing that veteran netminder Ryan Miller might be backing up interim starter Eddie Lack Wednesday night, the Vancouver Canucks confirmed that both right wing Derek Dorsett and defenseman Luca Sbisa have been signed to contract extensions with the club next season.
Sbisa, who was dealt to the Canucks as a part of the Ryan Kesler blockbuster deal, has been extended three years. His annual cap hit will come out to $3.6M AAV, with the contract broken up into $3.2 million the first year, $3.6 million the second, and $4 million the third. He’s second on the team in both hits and blocked shots — recording 149 and 127, respectively — and although there’s a sense that this may be a slight overpayment, the 25-year old blue liner still has room to grow. He’s been a decent contributor for the team over the year since getting dealt, and with the contract lasting until he’s 28, this is about what one would expect in a deal for a young blue liner. Originally a first round pick by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Sbisa was also a part of the deal that sent Joffrey Lupul to Anaheim and Chris Pronger to Philadelphia in 2009.
Derek Dorsett, on the other hand, is making slightly less — but he’s getting a longer term out of the contract.
A former seventh round pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets, Dorsett is also a recent acquisition of the Canucks — the bottom six winger was dealt to Vancouver by the New York Rangers at the 2014 Entry Draft for a mid-round selection. He was initially dealt to New York with Derick Brassard and John Moore, of which only Derick remains with the blueshirts.
Although Dorsett never projects to be more than a depth forward, though, he’s been a decent contributor this year. Although he only averages just over twelve minutes of ice time per night, the 28-year-old Saskatchewan native has chipped in with seven goals and eighteen assists on the year — a career high. The team has confirmed per TSN’s Bob McKenzie that he will make $2.65M AAV over the next four seasons.
If Dorsett can continue to play limited minutes but produce like a solid middle six forward, the deal will be worthwhile for the Canucks. It’s likely he’ll be overpaid by the final season or two of the contract, but any increase in his offensive production next season will make the contract cheap at the start of its term.
Of course, though, there’s always the risk that this is an above-average year for the forward. At that point, the Canucks need to be wary — if either Sbisa or Dorsett see a decline in production by next year, the combined salaries will be a gross overpayment. It’s a high risk set of deals for the team — and while they may both pan out and seem like bargains, it’s also equally likely that they’ll end up hurting the team’s management in the end.