Report: Canucks will allow Ronalds Kenins to test free agency

Thomas Drance
June 29 2016 12:47PM

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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski / USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks will reportedly allow Ronalds Kenins to test unrestricted free agency, the News 1130 Sports twitter feed revealed on Wednesday.

Kenins, 25, will be a Group VI unrestricted free agent, having failed to play sufficient games at the NHL level to merit a qualifying offer. The club decided against bringing him back and its been reported that he didn't have much interest in returning anyway.

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Selling Nope: The Unfortunate Optics Of The Jim Benning Regime

Jackson McDonald
June 29 2016 11:00AM

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It's an oft-repeated adage in the NHL that to succeed from a business standpoint, you must either sell wins or hope. If that's the case, then this was a tough season for Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning.

The embattled Canucks architect threw gasoline on his critics fire, doing little to shake the notion that he's a scout in way over his head. A notion berthed last season as the Canucks defiantly made moves to continue business as usual, avoiding a long-term rebuild and the growing pains therein.

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Are the Vancouver Canucks Out of the Running for Milan Lucic?

J.D. Burke
June 29 2016 09:00AM

The Vancouver Canucks need goal scoring, want size and have to address dwindling fan interest. So it makes sense that they'd have some level of interest in adding a player like Milan Lucic.

Since joining the league in 2007-08, Lucic has averaged 50 points and 108 penalties in minutes per 82 games. To put that in context, only 17 other players in the entire NHL have matched that level of production and pugnacity in a single season over that span. He is, in a sense, the prototypical power forward. And he just happens to hail from East Vancouver.

It's an enticing package that checks off every box this franchise could look for in a free agent. And Canucks General Manager Jim Benning is sold. He's expressed as much to the public and apparently wine and dined Lucic to send the message directly, too. If yesterday's reports are any indication though, Benning isn't alone in this regard. Not even in this division. It appears as though the Edmonton Oilers are putting the full court press on Lucic and making serious headway.

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NHL fines Canucks $50k for 'inappropriate public comments' violating tampering By-Law

Thomas Drance
June 28 2016 11:14AM

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Photo Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports

As expected, the Vancouver Canucks have been levied an enormous $50,000 fine by the NHL for violating the league's tampering By-Laws, the league announced on Tuesday.

The fine has been levied as a result of comments Canucks general manager Jim Benning made this past Thursday in Buffalo, in which he expressed his interest - during an appearance with Matt Sekeres and Blake Price on TSN 1040 - in Tampa Bay Lightning centre Steven Stamkos, a pending unrestricted free agent, and Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban.

The amount is double what then-Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson was fined for tampering back in 2009, when he made significantly more suggestive and pointed comments indicating that his club was interested in pursuing the Sedin twins. You'd think that perhaps the league just doubled the Wilson fine because Benning mentioned two players, but then, that doesn't make sense, because Henrik and Daniel Sedin are two distinct individuals also, even if we often group them together for obvious reasons...

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Report: Canucks enlist mayor Gregor Robinson in recruitment pitch to Milan Lucic

Thomas Drance
June 28 2016 10:46AM

The Blue Water Cafe is the new Italian Kitchen and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robinson is the Vancouver Canucks' newest Mariano Rivera-style closer, according to a variety of reports surfacing from the often ahead of the game News 1130 Sports Twitter account.

News 1130 Sports reported on Tuesday morning that the Canucks met with unrestricted free agent winger Milan Lucic at the Blue Water Cafe - the same restaurant the club reportedly used to pitch Drake Caggiula on joining their club back in May - on Monday night, at a dinner that was attended by Jim Benning, Trevor Linden and Francesco Aquilini. The club even had the mayor drop by, presumably to outright offer his position to Lucic should the former Vancouver Giant and apex predator power forward opt to join his hometown team. 

The details are fun, but taken together, what the trickle of news positively suggests is that the Canucks are all in on pursuing Lucic in free agency.

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