Jim Benning wants to build a deeper blue-line group that's better in transition

Thomas Drance
May 25 2015 11:27AM

USATSI_7971074_168381338_lowres
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

In his first year as the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, Jim Benning learned a crucial lesson about the importance of defensive depth in the Western Conference. 

"We’ll start with eight defencemen, but we want to have 11 D capable of playing in the NHL," Benning told Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province. "That’s something I learned this year from being in the West. The travel wears the team down a bit and it seems to take a toll on your defence."

It's an interesting statement, and for a variety of reasons. Let's unpack this on the other side of the jump.

Read Article | 3 Comments

Utica Comets vs. Grand Rapids Griffins – AHL Playoff Series Preview

Josh W
May 23 2015 02:46PM

GR-UTI2015

Courtesy: GriffinsHockey.com

After another series going the distance, the Comets managed a game-7 win to advance to the third round of the Calder Cup playoffs.  The Comets first ever game-7 saw Jacob Markstrom out-duel the Oklahoma City Barons goaltender Richard Bachman, while Alexandre Grenier, the Canucks next power-forward, emerged from the game a hero. 

Moving on to the Calder Cup Conference final, Utica's opponents are only looking to become tougher and tougher.  In this round, the Comets will be facing the Grand Rapids Griffins (affiliates of the Detroit Red Wings).  To see how the two teams stack up, continue past the jump.

Read Article | 24 Comments

Hockey Graphs Podcast Episode 17 - Dump Trucks Full of Money

Rhys Jessop
May 22 2015 04:06PM

article_805e9b87-9dcf-441f-9632-ffadab89eb2d

This week, Rhys and Garret ask if Mike Babcock is really worth his $6+ million annual salary, look at Canada's dominance on the world hockey stage, examine Tyler Johnson's unlikely ascension from marginal junior player to NHL playoff hero, and of course do some good ol' fashioned prospecting. Join us past the jump to listen!

Read Article | 6 Comments

Rebuilding on the Fly - Part 5 - Later Round Draft Targets

money puck
May 22 2015 11:55AM

In this series, I've contemplated how the Canucks could achieve their "rebuild on the fly" goal of winning now while incrementally moving towards becoming a contender again. 

In the first part of the series, I argued that the Canucks should look to move Chris Higgins, the rights to Shawn Matthias, and 2016 UFA's Radim Vrbata, Kevin Bieksa, and Dan Hamhuis in exchange for draft picks and cap space. In my second and third parts, I suggested forward and defense UFA targets that are worth a look in the efforts of keeping the team reasonably competitive while the rebuild happens through the draft and prospect development. 

In terms of the upcoming 2015 draft, I profiled Nick Merkley, Evgeni Svechnikov, Daniel Sprong, Filip Chlapik, Jansen Harkins, Michael Spacek and Anthony Beauvillier as potential first round selections. Using the PCS% system I discussed here

Now we'll get into players the Canucks should target in later rounds of the draft after the jump.

Read Article | 15 Comments

The Roundup

Nation World HQ
May 22 2015 06:45AM

unnamed[1]

Oilers and Leafs land the coaches they want, the Canucks ongoing rebuild and Jordan Subban, Flames draft plans and cap situation, Zack Kassian, Ladi Smid, the NHL draft, free agency and more in this week's Roundup brought to you by DraftKings.

Read Article | 20 Comments