And that’s where it could get a bit tricky. The Canucks can start interviewing free agents on June 25, but they can’t officially sign them until July 1, after the buyout window ends June 30. So those could be an interesting few days for Benning. He’ll have to gain a good idea of his chances of landing one of his targets.
Burrows, 35, and Higgins, 33, each have a year left on their contracts, with cap hits of $4.5 million and $2.5 million, respectively. Buying out the former would mean a $2.5 million cap hit next season, and a $1 million hit in 2017-18. Buying out the latter would mean an $833,333 hit in each of the next two seasons.
Besides buyouts, other options include trading one or both of them (if possible, which it might not be), or keeping one or both of them.
Burrows had just nine goals in 79 games last season, though he did finish fourth on the team with 135 shots.
Higgins had just three goals in 33 NHL games. He spent part of the season with AHL Utica.