Alex Burrows may have played his last game in a Canucks uniform

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Alex Burrows sounded like a guy who was resigned to his fate following the Canucks’ season finale on Saturday.

“Jim and Trevor, they have a plan” Burrows said. “They want to get younger, they want to get more young guys into the lineup and try to build a new core. I’ve been around a long time, I totally get that. It makes total sense. I have a lot of faith in those guys and I’m not going to throw stones at anyone. If this was my last game, I just point the finger at myself, I had to be better.”

Burrows has one more year left on a contract that carries a $4.5 million cap hit. After being the best bargain in the league for years, Burrows is not the player he used to be and is now overpaid.

Burrows had just 22 points (9-13-22) in 79 games this season and was no longer a fixture on the top line with the Sedins. He got a chance with the twins on Saturday, which in many ways had the appearance of a farewell tour.

Burrows scored a clutch goal in the shootout and did Luc Bourdon’s bow and arrow celebration, something he admitted that a few fans requested to him before the game.

“For sure, I tried a little bit this afternoon” Burrows said, in response to thinking about it being his last game with the Canucks. “This business, things change quickly, so you never know what can happen and I haven’t got any confirmation with management yet either way. So for me I was trying to have fun with the twins. I thought we had some good shifts in there, and remembered me from the past a little bit. It was a fun night and we’ll see what happens on Monday or Tuesday.”

Burrows has a no-trade clause, but certainly he sounds like a player that will be willing to waive it.

The 35-year-old is near the end of the line in his career, but can still be a useful depth player. He will only earn $3 million in real dollars next season, so his contract is not as daunting for a non-cap team despite his $4.5 million cap hit. The Canucks can also withhold salary to make him more appealing to a contender.

Perhaps he would be a fit on a fourth line with his old coach in New York?

Buying out Burrows doesn’t make a lot of sense, other than as a last resort to open up a roster spot for a young player.

Should the Canucks choose to buy-out Burrows’ contract, they would still have to pay him $2 million of the $3 million he is owed. Vancouver would also be dinged $2.5 million on their cap in 2016-17 and $1 million cap hit in 2017-18 (source: Cap Friendly).

A lot can happen between now and the start of the season through trades and free agency, so the amount of open spots for a player like Burrows is yet to be determined.

The Canucks will have a lot of young players in the lineup next season, but they will need some veteran leadership too. If GM Jim Benning can’t find a taker for Burrows, the gritty winger could return and act as a mentor to the younger players.

It will be sad for Canucks fans if Burrows is indeed done in Vancouver. Fans fell in love with the undrafted kid from Pincourt, Quebec who clawed his way from the ECHL to the NHL and became one of the team’s best goal scorers.

With 364 NHL points (184-180-364), all with Vancouver, Burrows ranks 16th on the franchise’s all-time scoring list. Burrows also ranks 8th all-time in games played, 3rd in plus/minus, 7th in even strength goals, 2nd in shorthanded goals, and 8th in game winning goals.

But it’s in the playoffs where Burrows really made his mark. He ranks 10th all-time in franchise playoff points, 7th in goals, and 1st in overtime goals, including the dragon slayer in 2011.

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Rob Williams Sports Editor at Vancity Buzz covering all sports in Vancouver.
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