Vancouver Canucks twin veterans Henrik and Daniel Sedin, 37, announced on Monday that they will retire after the 2017-18 season. So we asked our NHL experts to weigh in on the Sedins' legacy, spend the extra cap money the Canucks will now have and speculate about what the twins will do -- together or, heaven forbid, separately -- with their newfound free time.
How should the Canucks use all of the cap space the Sedins' departure will leave them?
Greg Wyshynski, senior writer: Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, so it pains me to say that the best way for the Canucks to use their generous amount of cap space is to turn it into an NHL garbage dump. Take on bloated problem contracts from other teams in exchange for high draft picks, in an effort to cluster-bomb the organization with young prospects. Canucks GM Jim Benning has been negligent in acquiring picks -- how did he manage not to acquire one at the trade deadline as a seller? Provided that the Canucks do it smartly, and that cap space could provide a bounty from a desperate contender with a cap crunch.
Emily Kaplan, national NHL reporter: Sign an elite defenseman in free agency. Regardless whether the Canucks win the Rasmus Dahlin sweepstakes, they need to upgrade the blue line if they're going to have any shot at decency in 2018-19. I'd love to see Vancouver enter the mix for the most prized D-man in the 2018 free-agency class: John Carlson. He'll likely command upward of $7 million a year (boy, the $3.9 million cap hit he carries with the Washington Capitals this season is really a bargain) as well as a long-term deal. That's something Vancouver can now afford.
Chris Peters, NHL prospects writer: With the space they have, the Canucks might as well make a run at John Tavares if he goes to market. That said, I don't think there are many other free agents out there to whom Benning should offer massive contracts. This is a team that has to build itself up a bit, and Vancouver can't be taking shortcuts with onerous long-term contracts unless it's for a game-breaker like Tavares. That cap space doesn't need to be filled immediately, no matter how impatient Canucks fans are getting (and rightfully so).
Is this a win for Vancouver?
Wyshynski: It's a win in the sense that the Sedins made this decision for themselves, and are going out on their terms. Which means it spares the Canucks any consternation over next year's contract -- either in money or term -- or the twins' future beyond that. It also eliminates any and all possibility of a situation in which Vancouver wants to move on, the Sedins aren't ready to, and Canucks fans are treated to the image of Henrik and Daniel posing for photos with Brian Burke in their spiffy new Calgary Flames jerseys. At least in theory.
Kaplan: It's awkward to admit, but yes it is. After this season, $14 million is coming off the books for the Canucks, a franchise with many holes to fill in order to become competitive. Though the Sedins' class and leadership surely rub off on teammates, the burden of carrying this team on the ice is no longer reasonable. Vancouver have exciting players to build around, like winger Brock Boeser and prospect Elias Pettersson. The Canucks are committing to that young core -- while hopefully augmenting their roster with some smart free-agent additions -- and that money can help Benning phase into the next chapter.
Peters: I'm not sure that it is, honestly. The cap space is nice, but having two guys like the Sedins around for another year to show the young players what it takes to be elite players would have been a benefit. Even if the Sedins aren't at their best anymore, they still are pretty impressive on the ice and off. That's especially true if Vancouver were to add a player like Dahlin at the draft. And what mentors the Sedins would have been for young Elias Pettersson, should the Canucks' top prospect move up to the NHL next season. It all depends on how this changes the offseason strategy for the Canucks front office. Again, I think this is a team that needs to take a long-range view instead of looking for quick fixes.
Should a team try to persuade the Sedins to keep playing? If so, which one?
Wyshynski: Selfishly, I want the Sedins playing for as long as their bodies can withstand the strain, keeping in mind that, as twins, obviously one would feel the other one's pain. But if they want to hang up the skates, let them do so in Vancouver as career Canucks. Unless, of course, they have an unwavering desire to play a season with Vegas Golden Knights sensation and fellow Swede William Karlsson. It wouldn't be the first or the last past-its-prime novelty act to set up a residency in Vegas.
Kaplan: It hurts the NHL that Henrik and Daniel Sedin won't be playing in 2018-19. They are true ambassadors for the game. In my ideal world, the Sedins and Jaromir Jagr would all have NHL homes next season. The truth is, not every player's career is granted a perfectly scripted goodbye. More often, the end is unceremonious -- a perfunctory backstage exit. Do the Sedins deserve to win the Stanley Cup? Of course. But could they, at this stage in their career, be a difference-maker for a contender? I'm not so sure. They've already made concessions (diminished roles, less time on special teams, etc.) to remain on a team that, frankly, wasn't very good. I think the rest of the league should respect the Sedins' decision and honor them for what they've already contributed to the game -- which is a lot.
Peters: I think it would be difficult for a team to offer them the roles they'd need to keep playing and stay engaged. Elite players want to be in all of the key moments of a game -- and at this stage, most teams are going to have better options than the Sedins for those roles. If there were any out there with a compelling pitch and cap space to burn, it wouldn't hurt to make an attempt. But I think it's wasted time at this point.
What should the Sedins do next?
Wyshynski: First, they should agree to be on the same Hockey Hall of Fame plaque as a single entry, even if Henrik told me three years ago that they would have separate ones "for sure." But what do I really want to see from them? Co-coaches of an NHL team. Both of them behind the bench. Both of them throwing tantrums over botched calls by the officials. Joint postgame press conferences. Or maybe just one of them talks after each game, never identifies themselves by first name, and the baffled media just refers to him as Coach Sedin.
Kaplan: Sure, there's talk of the Sedins sticking around Vancouver in some capacity. They could certainly mentor the young Canucks, especially for a team that should maintain a strong Swedish presence (Jonathan Dahlen, Petterssen and, if all magically goes according to plan, Dahlin). But I'd love to see the Sedins get off the grid. Pursue passions outside of hockey -- together or, heaven forbid, separately. They were so gracious in the spotlight, let them flourish outside it. We'll all catch up with them at their Hall of Fame ceremony.
Peters: In their letter announcing that this is the end for them, the twins talked about spending more time with their families. We've seen them on the ice together for so long, I want to see them as rival youth soccer coaches. I have a hard time believing it would be a really intense rivalry, but we'll take what we can get. If we can't see them cycling down low anymore, pit them against each other.