This Canucks Season Hinges On Draft Selections

It's all about draft selection.

In what may be the most important move they make this off-season, the Canucks have brought in a professional bartender to spruce up the beverages at Rogers Arena. Too bad it didn’t happen last year, given how much time Canucks’ fans spent crying in their already watery beer. Hopefully Jay Jones’ first order of business is to add a little character to their draft beer selection.

On the flip side, if only Trevor Linden and Jim Benning realized that what their draft pick selections could use is a little less character…

Oh well, maybe next year they can bring in a professional scouting team. Sigh.

Anyway, the draft is done and it’s not like they made bad picks, it’s just that they could have made better ones. So let’s move on to taking a look at just what Jim Benning has planned for this team.

First, we need to consider that the driving factor behind most, if not all, of the moves made over the last couple of months are aimed at stopping the bleeding of fan support and selling tickets to games. Remember, the Aquilinis made their money in real estate. And in that industry, what they’re selling is a lifestyle, not property. Just take a look an any of the myriad of full page ads for condos in the Georgia Straight. Hardly any of them show or say anything about the building. But there’s no shortage of images showing people roller blading on the sea wall or shopping at Granville Island or eating out at a restaurant… you get the picture. Literally.

Anwyay, that’s the same approach being taken here.

At its core, the Canucks fanbase is a lunch bucket crowd. They like their hockey meaty with a side of potatoes. Heck, they probably don’t even mind the swill that passes for beer at Rogers Arena. And that’s the marketing angle the new management team is taking, from Trevor Linden on down.

My only hope is that this really that the pronouncements are comments coming out of the front office really are just marketing hype for the masses, while the actual hockey decisions are based on the fundamentals that create winning teams in today’s NHL.

One of the key things I picked up in the transcript of the Summer Summit earlier this week was Jim Benning’s focus on adding depth to the club. And I have to say he’s right on. Look around the league at the best hockey teams and you’ll see quality, NHL calibre players all they way down the lineup. Fact is, if you don’t have depth on your roster, you’re probably going to find yourself in a deep hole in the standings:

Either way the Canucks are going to be deep this year.

So I’ll take Benning at his word, that he’s going to address that depth.

Last year, the problem was largely no depth in the bottom of the line-up. This year, we have more third line players than we know what to do with. I’m not sure Nick Bonino is the answer on the second line, and I’m not hopeful there’s a ready solution, given that most of the cap space they freed up by dealing Luongo and Kesler has been eaten up by the addition of Miller and Vrbata.

Throwing one of the kids in there is probably not a good idea. Best to let them develop a bit more rather than throw them in the deep end playing tough minutes in the NHL.

That leaves the trade route, and with all the NTCs on the team, the only guy being dealt for sure is Markstrom and Benning will be lucky to get a late pick for him.

But hey, with the roster decisions that Doug Wilson and Bob Murray have been making lately, sometimes it’s just best to let the field come to you:

Sometimes it's just better to let the field come to you...

With that in mind, it might be best for Jim Benning to stand pat and see how things play out in training camp.

Because if it isn’t just marketing hype to sell tickets to the lunch bucket crowd, and Benning does make good on his promise at the draft, I might need to make an appointment with my doctor:

The Canucks are giving me high blood pressure.

If that’s the case, at least the beer will better…

Recent Graphic Comments

  • *crickets*
  • dingo

    How can you be so certain that they could have drafted better? Ehlers or Nylander over Virtanen you have no idea. The draft is littered with highly skilled guys that did nothing as it is with power forwards that didn’t pan out. As for upside, maybe Ehlers is a Palat and Nylander will be a Backstrom. Virtanen could be an Iginla and McCann a Bergeron. If I’m buying lottery tickets I’d rather buy ones with guys that are molded to ones that actually make things happen in the playoffs. If you have a clear and documented history of correctly second guessing the scouting then do us all a solid and apply for the job.

  • Vladmir Lenny

    Now, I’m just a lunch pale sorta guy, but I know what I likes and likes my hockey with potatoes and meat. I may not quite understand all them fancy *statistics* you college boys learned in your college schoolins, I may be iggnint of what there analytics, but darned if I ain’t sated by these Virtano-McCanio kids (although Virtano does sound a little, you know, ‘European’). Anyway, thankya GC fer uncovering my lunch pale biases.

  • islander

    Maybe it was intentional… but it’s driving me crazy how little sense that “depth graph” is.

    The way it should look is the X axis labelled “Depth” and the Y axis labelled “Position in standings.” Yknow, because what you’re trying to get at is the more depth you have the higher up you are in the standings. The curve should not be labelled.

    If it makes sense the original way, someone let me know how.

    PS. Just so I don’t come off sounding like a complete tool, the Venn Diagram is just hilarious. Kudos, sir.

  • islander

    I seriously disagree with your assertion that the draft pocks could have been better. I will take Benning’s track record over yours any day.

    Secondly, yes the team has a lot of third line players on face value. I believe that having a true first line with the addition of Vrbata and a renewed power play with a guy that scores goals on the power play along with more production from the third and fourth line will more than make up for that. Linden Vey could come in and prove to be the answer or Kassian could make a jump, who knows what to expect. No one expected last year at all!

    True fist line, vastly improved PP and depth all through the line up is a definite playoff contender. If Miller and Lack form a great goalie tandem…. Who knows?

      • Graphic Comments

        And you know this how? You could be right and if you are I’m sure it’d be because it was a lucky guess.

        Benning scouted the guy and Willy coached him a little while ago. These two seem to know their hockey. I think I’d take their educated guess over yours.

  • Graphic Comments

    Graphic, your excessive negativism is scary. It is way to early to assess the choices in this draft. I have doubts about Nylander, simply based on his comments and attitude. Ehlers I think will have problems with size. Virtanen is a question mark as well, but he is fast, decent size and a good shot. I think all will do well, the difference between any of them will be a matter of small degrees. We all tend to want to see these issues in major catastrophe terms, which are rare. The main reason for the poor Canucks situation of the past 10 years is not so much the scouting staff as opposed to the attitude of the 3 GMs, Burke, Nonis and Gillis, all 3 who tended to eschew draft choices for active NHLers. So it is hard to know how good or bad Ron Delorme and his crew were. Benning has a deserved great reputation for evaluation, give him a break and let him have some time to prove that true or false.

    • Graphic Comments

      I think the 20 year old guys tend to be negative these days. Who knows. I prefer to use facts instead of BS armchair scouting etc. Get a grip. It’ll be years before we can tell how good, or bad, these picks end up being.

      If the Canucks picked Nylander then WhinerNation would be up in arms saying why didn’t we take Virtanen?! How will we survive in the West with all of the big teams?!

      Virtanen was the fastest skater backwards and forwards in this draft class. He has a big league shot and is one of the youngest players taken (he barely gets into this draft class). I’m optimistic on the pick and I am a fan of the McCann pick.

      Trader Jim isn’t going to do everything overnight. I am sure they have some other players they’d like to pluck from other systems. They know the Sedins might be done before we expect. Hopefully we can find our future #1 centre sooner rather than later. Otherwise, I am happy with the other players in the system. I think Kassian and Jensen might be our future top 6 wingers. Same with Virtanen. Hoping Horvat is our future #2 centre. We have lots of other guys that could also break into the top 6. Yes, there is some optimism out here but I won’t hold my breath 🙂

  • Graphic Comments

    Weird as it looks i hope the Canucks do bad enough to acquire Connor McDAVID in next years draft to play with Fox again. I also hope Fox ends up on the Sedin line since Fox commented on how McDAVID put the puck on his stick at the right time …sort of like Henrik Sedin does.