McKenzie: Canucks won't part with futures to upgrade patchwork defense corps

Thomas Drance
February 17 2015 03:50PM

Has trader Jim gone conservative on us?

Rookie Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning made splash after splash at the 2014 NHL Draft, remaking his new club in his own image with astonishing, trigger happy aggression. His initial flurry of action behind him it would appear that Benning is settling in to play the long game, and is unwilling to part with any significant futures in an attempt to chase a short-term upgrade before the March 2 NHL trade deadline.

This posture became apparent when Benning refused to include young roster players like Bo Horvat and prospects like Jake Virtanen and Jarred McCann in half-hearted trade talks with the Winnipeg Jets concerning Evander Kane. We should perhaps expect Benning's newfound conservatism to continue over the next couple of week.

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Canucks Army Postgame: Some wins are big, this one was Biega

Thomas Drance
February 16 2015 11:15PM

The Vancouver Canucks and their patchwork defense-corps narrowly held on to a critical 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Monday night. The regulation loss snapped Minnesota's 10-game point streak. 

Missing their entire top-pair, the Canucks played one of their best games of the season - from an energy standpoint, from an entertainment standpoint, and from a "legitimately out-possessing a high quality opponent" standpoint. 

And in the end, as the clock wound down and a chaotic goalmouth scramble raged, Eddie Lack maintained his composure, securing the Canucks two points and, more importantly, securing 26-year-old journeyman defender Alex Biega a game-winning goal in his NHL debut. 

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Canucks' Tanev will not play Monday vs. Wild

Thomas Drance
February 16 2015 07:30PM

Who needs healthy defensemen anyway?

The Vancouver Canucks will be without three of their top-four blue-liners on Monday night when they host the Minnesota Wild, as it has become apparent that defenseman Chris Tanev - who didn't take to the ice for the warmup skate - will not play. 

26-year-old former Harvard Crimson captain Alex Biega will make his NHL debut in Tanev's stead, while Luca Sbisa presumably jumps up onto the Canucks' top-pair. It could be a long night. 

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What should Chris Tanev's next contract look like?

Thomas Drance
February 16 2015 02:30PM

Chris Tanev is going to get paid

The Vancouver Canucks have been in negotiations with the 25-year-old first pairing defenseman's representatives since late January. This past week, general manager Jim Benning provided an update, suggesting in an appearance on TSN 1040 that contract talks had been productive so far.

"We’ll keep down that path," Benning said, per, "and hopefully we’ll get something done here sooner rather than later."

Tanev is arbitration eligible and will be a restricted free agent for the next two years, so the two sides have plenty of time to come to a long-term agreement. The question is: what should that agreement look like?

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Canucks claim Brandon McMillan off of waivers

Thomas Drance
February 12 2015 11:06AM

The Vancouver Canucks have put in a waiver claim on forward Brandon McMillan, most recently of the Arizona Coyotes, the club announced on Thursday.

McMillan, 24, hails from Delta, B.C., and has spent the early years of his hockey career bouncing between the American Hockey League and the NHL. This season he's been a mainstay with the goaltending challenged Coyotes managing a goal and two assists in 50 games. He's also been a minus-19, but such is life playing in front of Mike Smith this season.

Read on for more.

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