Hronek asking Canucks for more money than Quinn Hughes: report

The Vancouver Canucks have a big decision to make when it comes to Filip Hronek.

The 26-year-old right-shot defenceman is a restricted free agent, and he’s reportedly asking for a boatload of money.

Hronek finished the season with 48 points in 81 games, good for 21st among all NHL defencemen. He then managed just two points in 13 playoff games.

“Filip Hronek, two points in the playoffs, this guy’s asking for eight million,” said CHEK’s Rick Dhaliwal on the Donnie & Dhali show recently.

“He’s got [arbitration] rights, and he’s going to get over seven in arb rights. The last I heard the ask by Hronek is not going down…it’s strong at eight, and it’s going to be strong at eight because he’s got arb rights.”

“I believe him and his agent think that they’ll do well in [arbitration].”

An $8 million contract would mean a higher salary than the Norris Trophy favourite and Canucks captain Quinn Hughes who is making $7.85 million through the 2026-27 season.

While Hronek’s numbers look solid, they hide the fact that his play dropped off significantly in the second half of the season. He played the first half of the season at a 68-point pace and the latter at a 28-point pace.

He followed that up with a relatively weak playoff showing, including a measly two points.

It wasn’t just his point pace that suffered. The Canucks outscored opponents 59-31 at five-on-five with Hronek on the ice over the first 41 games of the season. They outscored opponents by a rate of just 26-24, with Hronek over the final 40 games.

When comparing his numbers across the two-time frames, the Canucks on-ice shooting percentage stands out. The team was scoring on twice as many of their shots with Hronek on the ice in the first half of the year compared to the second.

He is perhaps the biggest example of the team’s sky-high early-season PDO, a hockey stat used as a proxy for luck, heater.

First 41 games Final 40 games
On-ice goals for – goals against 59-31 26-24
Hronek points 34 points 14 points
Scoring chances for/against % 56.82% 51.97%
On-ice shooting percentage 15.90% 7.58%

His true production is somewhere in between the two segments. He got lucky at the start of the season and then got unlucky as the season went on, making the shift in his raw numbers look more drastic than the drop in his play really was.

The Canucks have just three defencemen under contract for next season, and only one of them, Noah Juulsen, is right-handed. It’s not easy to find young, top-four blueliners; thus, Hronek has a lot of leverage.

The fact that he’s eligible for arbitration, as Dhaliwal mentioned above, also means that Hronek can force a ruling. The results could be favourable for the player as his point totals are quite impressive at first glance.

Last season, Hronek played on a deal with an average annual value of $4.4 million. He was well worth that money, but nearly doubling it to $8 million would mean much higher expectations.

If the Canucks are hesitant to give Hronek that massive contract, there’s surely a team out there that would. His departure would leave a massive hole to fill, but if this management group has proven anything, it’s that they’re aggressive and cutthroat in dealings.