Canucks Trade Deadline 2015: Jim Benning Speaks; What it all Means

After Monday’s trade deadline passed and news broke that the Canucks had acquired Sven Baertschi from the Calgary Flames, Jim Benning met the Vancouver media to take questions on the busy-but-uneventful day that was.

Join us on the other side of the jump to go over what Benning said, what it all means to us, and some final reflections as we enter the stretch drive.

On acquiring Sven Baertschi:

We listened to teams on their (rental) players, we didn’t feel the prices were right for us to do that right now. Then kind of at the end of the day- and we’d talked to Calgary earlier – they phoned us on Sven Baertschi,
I don’t like giving up draft picks, but in this case we think Sven Baertschi is – we feel – going to be a top-six NHL player for our team someday. So we weighed getting Sven against what we could get in the second round with our pick and we made the decisions that “let’s go ahead and do this.
He’s a guy that fits our profile, he’s fast, he’s skilled, and I don’t know what happened in his development in Calgary but we’re very excited to have him and he’s going to be a big part of our skilled group going forward.

First off, we have a more in depth look at the Sven Baertschi trade here, including our evaluation if Baertschi can really still be a top-6 NHL F after his development stalled in Calgary. It was the only significant move that the Canucks made on deadline day.

It’s interesting to hear Jim Benning mention Sven Baertschi as a player that fits their “profile,” especially considering that “meat and potatoes” and “Boston model” were buzzwords that marked the very beginning of the Benning era. The 5’11 and skilled Baertschi certainly doesn’t fit that profile, so either Benning has altered or tweaked his perceptions of what successful NHL teams need, or hasn’t been entirely clear with his vision of how to build the team going forward. He makes another “profile” allusion later in his presser:

We have now a group of good young, fast, skilled players that are going to be the foundation of our teams going forward. Like what’s happened around here is that they’ve had such good teams over the years and they’ve been so close to winning the Stanley Cup that sometimes you sacrifice draft picks to buy players at the deadline that you think can make the difference in you winning the Cup. So we’ve had to regroup a little bit that way. So we’re acquiring players that fit a profile that we like in terms of the way we play. From that 20-year-old to 26-year-old hockey player to set the foundation for our group going forward.

If anything, last year’s entry draft showed an inclination to shy away from speed and skill in lieu of titanic size, not so much in the first round (though there was some of that with the Virtanen over Ehlers and McCann over Pastrnak decisions), but very obviously in later rounds. The decisions to draft coke machines like Nikita Tryamkin, Mackenze Stewart, and Kyle Pettit were really the ones that drove me crazy and led us to question how reliable we could expect this “profile” to be at finding good players, so it’s pleasantly surprising that Vancouver isn’t putting a Milo on guys perceived as skill-focused (or, in less friendly words, soft).

This eases my mind somewhat about the Canucks falling for the Brandon Carlo trap at the upcoming entry draft. Hopefully they decide to go with someone like undersized but super skilled playmaking centre Mathew Barzal instead. It helps that Barzal is a local kid too, since that appeared to factor in to the Virtanen decision.

One more parting thought from Benning on Baertschi:

Yeah I was surprised, but for whatever reason sometimes players need a change of scenery, I think Sven is sort of at that point. A couple years ago scouting all through North America, I thought Sven was the best junior in the country. He was a dynamic player and he played on some real good teams, he played for Mike Johnston who likes to play a fast style of game, and he was excellent. I can’t comment on his development the last couple of years, but we’re very excited to have him, we think he fits our profile of being a fast, talented, skilled player so I think he’s going to fit in good with our young players going forward.

On keeping Zack Kassian:

Jim Benning let it be known that the Canucks had indeed been shopping Kassian around:

Teams called us and inquired about a lot of our players. They inquired about Zack, y’know, we maybe called some teams on Zack to see if there’s interest – because we identified players of a similar ilk that we’d consider doing. But at the end of the day Zack’s played really well for us the last couple of weeks. We’ve bee happy with his play. He’s stepped up and he’s doing the things that we want him to do, and he’s been a part of our team winning the past couple of weeks. At the end of the day nothing made sense to move him so we’re happy he’s still part of our group.

He’s a young player and with any young player there’s going to be inconsistencies in his game. He’s got special tools that a lot of other young players don’t have because he’s got the size and hands to do things that other players don’t have. So with his size and his skill and his whole package he’s got more responsibility on him because add more is expected of him. But like I said, the last two weeks he’s been excellent for us, he’s done all the things we’ve asked of him, he’s showing up every night, he’s going the net, he’s playing physical, he’s scored some big goals for us.  He’s on the right path so let’s just see if he can continue down that road.

It’s… interesting to hear Benning openly admit to shopping a player that’s still a part of the organization, but let’s be honest, Zack Kassian absolutely knew already that he was being shopped so this admission is neither shocking nor controversial. Still, it’s good to hear that our fears that Kassian was simply going to be shipped out for the purpose of being shipped out were largely unfounded. We knew that, should Benning intend to pursue a Kassian trade to better the Canucks, it was going to be difficult, and that appears to have held true.

I look forward to not talking about Kassian until he’s scratched this Thursday and then dealt at the draft for a 3rd rounder and two 5ths or something. Until then:

On the future, both short and long term:

My two favourite days of the year are deadline day and the draft. Because that’s an opportunity where you can add guys to your group that make an impact on the team going forward. As far as a hockey stand point – not my personal life, but a hockey stand point – those are the two favourite days of my life.
I love draft picks. So we’re going to try to recover some of these picks, but you know what, sometimes when you make trades it’s got to hurt a little bit for the trade to be worth it. So giving up a second round pick on our part that hurts, but I believe that we’re getting a top-six forward back and a player that’s going to be really good for us for a long time.

I love draft picks too, Jim. Pretty thrilled to hear this. Now what matters is that this traditionally poor drafting franchise starts nailing picks again, as they appear to have begun to, especially in middle and later rounds.

Benning also mentioned how he thought that the 2016 draft was going to be strong, and I certainly have to agree. There’s no McDavid at the top of the list, but Auston Matthews may be as good or better than Jack Eichel at the same age, and high scoring forwards like Val-d’Or’s Julien Gauthier, Vancouver’s Tyler Benson, Regina’s Sam Steel, and Erie’s Alex DeBrincat all look very promising. Defenders Jakob Chychrun and Sean Day are also poised to go high, and there are a number of other 16-year olds making waves through the CHL, such as Calgary’s Jake Bean.

Our goal each and every year is to make the playoffs. First, that’s our goal. 
And we made some tough decisions this summer to trade some players, to try and readjust where the money was being spent, and to use it on signing Ryan Miller, on Vrbata, and making some trades to get Dorsett and to change the culture. And we did those in sight of, we want to make the playoffs, that’s our goal each and every year. 
We’re going to bring new players, young players into our lineup every year, but we want them to develop in a winning environment; so they get a taste of what it takes to win, to learn to play the right way… So at some point we’re going to have playoff success with this young group, and we have excellent leaders with our older guys on the team teaching these guys the right way to play.
‘We’re going to do what we think is right to build our team now and in the future. So we just kind of worry about our own business, we don’t worry about what other teams are doing. Like I said, I’m really happy with our team, I’m proud of this group, I wanted to give them an opportunity to show us and management and our fans what they could do as a group and that’s why we didn’t want to sell any of our UFAs today, because we want to give these guys every opportunity to be successful.

This is the part that concerns me, because Oilers aside (they’re laughably bad at this team building thing), the best way to get really good is to start off really bad:

Building a consistently mediocre team is the cardinal sin in sports management, and unless the Canucks make a concerted, persistent, and determined effort to continually acquire elite or otherwise premium talent through whatever means available to them, they’ll stagnate and keep losing the last game of the season until they either bite the bullet and be really bad for a couple of years, or get ridiculously lucky in the entry draft.

While a “winning and positive environment” seems like it should be important, the best teams seem to repeatedly have their kids develop on pretty big losers. If the Canucks are truly focused on winning the Stanley Cup, they will see out this season, try their damnedest to go on a playoff run, and then blow up this core by the time the 2016 entry draft rolls around. Aiming for the playoffs every year with a group of players this old is a waste of time, and severely inhibits your chances of building a great team around Bo Horvat and company.

Parting thoughts:

Yeah that’s the message from our standpoint that we’re trying to send to our team and our fans. This group has worked hard, they’ve competed hard, on any given night even against the best teams in the league. When they show up and they work and they compete, we can beat anybody in the league. You look at all the top teams and we’ve beaten them at some point this year. They seem to be getting better and better as we go, they’re a resilient group – like, we’ve had eight or nine of our regulars out of the lineup and these guys haven’t missed a beat. We’ve called up players from the minors and they’ve stepped in and they’ve helped us win, so this is our way of saying to the group that let’s continue on and let’s see what we can get to.

At this point in the season, Vancouver is a very strong bet to make the playoffs, despite deteriorating underlying metrics relative to years past. In that sense, their reluctance to trade impending UFAs Shawn Matthias, Brad Richardson, and Derek Dorsett is understandable. Benning also never considered trading Chris Higgins, which is something that may come as a shock to some Canucks fans:

Chris Higgins is a glue guy in our room, he’s a guy that shows up and works and competes every night. We never received any calls and he has a limited no-trade, and we never asked Chris to give us a list of teams to go too.

In all, I’d say that Jim Benning had a very successful afternoon. We didn’t expect the Canucks to do much, and the one significant move they made was a rather pleasant surprise. Sven Baertschi is a very nice addition to this organization, even if there is legitimate concern about how his development has gone.

As a general manager, Benning will now turn his eyes to the NHL entry draft in an effort to further fortify the future of the Vancouver Canucks while the team he has assembled makes a final push to the NHL playoffs. Adding Cory Conacher and Sven Baertschi to the farm also makes Utica more dangerous for a Calder Cup bid, and Jared McCann, Jake Virtanen, and Cole Cassels are all key players on CHL teams with a legitimate shot at the Memorial Cup. No matter what happens with the big club, it’ll be a fun ride the rest of the way.

  • I don’t think they have any hand in the day-to-day workings of the team, but the whole “try to make the playoffs every year” is probably mandated by the Aquilini’s. That, or they picked a GM that believes in the philosophy.

  • The Baertschi thing is a little bit like Grabner.

    A young, skilled mid-first round pick that an organization didn’t appreciate and sold on the cheap around the expiration of the entry level contract.

    Of course, Grabner is probably more of the exception than the rule for traded first rounders.

    Hard to complain about a low risk, medium reward play.

  • acg5151

    Regarding Sven:

    Flames fans, while apparently upset at this trade, also seemed unsurprised – apparently there was growing tension between the two parties. Sven apparently has a controlling father while Burke was completely out of line publicly shaming Sven.

    Furthermore, Sven was their prized prospect before the flames started getting more pieces like Monahan, Gaudreau etc. It wouldn’t surprise me if he hit a snag, other youth started to leapfrog him, he felt betrayed by management’s public comments on him…

    I am not suggesting that Sven has character issues, but that perhaps he’s a red-blooded competitive kid who started to lose faith that he was actually as big of a part of the picture as he saw when he first arrived as the shiny new toy. I’m optimistic that by joining Utica, a team pushing to succeed, and being surrounded by players like Shinkaruk, Gaunce, Jensen etc – players who by no means are handed positions because of their draft # and must work for a spot in the line up – maybe this will invigorate Sven to push to become the player he can be.

  • orcasfan

    The idea that being bottom-feeders for a while is the right way to develop a successful team reeks to me sport mythology! Surely it is obvious that loser teams do not, in fact, often produce winners. Hello Columbus, Florida, Edmonton, Buffalo, Phoenix/Arizona, etc. I would say that what is more important for a team to be successful is good drafting, good player development and good management.

    The most successful team in the NHL for the past 20 years is the Detroit Red Wings. They never had an extended losing record that gifted them high draft picks. Even the Canucks were a successful franchise for nearly 10 years without the benefit of multiple high picks. For my money, I’ll go with guys like Benning and Linden as opposed to opinions of sports bloggers!

    • nucksandbolts

      While I understand where you’re coming from, because hey there is no arguing the Red Wings point you make, I think you overlook a few fundamental teams that showcase the other side of the coin.

      The three main pieces of reference I am referring to would of course be Chicago, LA, and Pittsburgh. They have dominated the league for a time now and are perennial cup contenders. How did they get here though (i.e. where did their core come from)?
      Chicago: Kane first overall, Toews third overall.
      LA: Doughty second overall
      Pittsburgh: Crosby first overall, Malkin second overall, Fleury first overall.
      Clearly these teams had to be abysmal for at least a short time to assemble these important pieces.

      While it would be nice if the Canucks could replicate the Red Wings, I believe they represent the exception, not the rule. Hopefully the changes to the lottery next year change the need to be atrocious a bit, however.

    • acg5151

      I do agree with the Detroit model and I would like to emulate it, but we can’t forget the fact that we got the twins with the #2 and #3 pick in the same draft and have been doing reasonably well with them ever since, even reaching elite territory in 2010-2011.

      As for tanking next year, I don’t see why we have to purposefully do bad when we could use our players until close to the deadline, then deal them and hopefully have enough points to coast on to finish in a playoff position. Then we can put our young guys through some playoff hockey while still getting big return for our skilled rental UFAs. Hopefully Bieksa’s value doesn’t tank over the next year though…

      Like you said, the return of that group could go a long way; I don’t see why we need to purposefully tank to get an extra high draft pick as well when we’ll have at least one first rounder anyways.

    • andyg

      I agree with the model of trying to win every year. Developing our own talent is a big part of the picture. Unless you are very lucky with your your drafting as was Detroit.Some ware along the line this team will regress enough to be selecting in the top 5.

      last year was a prime example.

    • Fortitude00

      Furthermore, only 1 team since the 70;s has won a stalely cup without a top 4 pick in their lineup. That was Detroit and that is if you are ignoring the impact of Stevie Y on their organization.

  • orcasfan

    I don’t think this “the worse the better” assumption as far as team-running is as ironclad as Rhys and every writer for the site thinks. I think to win the Stanley Cup you probably need a genuine superstar player, and the best way to acquire one is to be really terrible, true. And it’s also true that if you asked a fan whether they would take two years of terrible for a guaranteed Stanley Cup, the vast majority would answer yes.

    But being a good team is not the same thing as a guaranteed Stanley Cup. And if you ask a fan whether they would take several years of being terrible plus several years of being good, versus, say #7 seeds for every one of those years, I don’t think it’s all that obvious. At least, it’s not to me. The Canucks are paying fun hockey right now, and that hockey seems “meaningful” to me in that they’re in a playoff race, even if they’re clearly not gonna win the cup. If I were a Buffalo fan, I’d be excited for the future, sure, but also I’d be bitter and there’s no way in hell I would watch any Sabres games. And if I were a kid who was a Buffalo fan, I would hate the situation with every fibre of my kiddish being.

    I can see the argument for why “peak” could be your criterion for GM performance, but it’s not clear to me why you assume that that’s the only criterion possible. And anyway, with drafting rules likely to be changed continuously to reduce tanking (starting with the changes for next year), it’s not even clear that being terrible will be such a good bargain in the future..

    • Larionov18

      Nobody can argue with Pits, Chicago, LA. ( you forgot NYI and a few others too) But one can also find other examples of the opposite side of the fence as mentioned earlier (I wont call out Edm, as they get way too much media attention here for my liking……..).

      Thats the problem with reductive fallacy, trying to simplify things so a number tells you the right or wrong answer. You can always find supporting metrics to push your case. Either way.

      You cannot discount the human factor, it can be positive, but it can also be negative.

      “Detroit an exception to the rule”, so is this to insinuate there is a rule to how to build a team? The problem with trying to fit all of life’s (in this case hockey’s) questions into a neat little formula is the fact that life is life, and life happens (not to quote the other well known phrase for the little children), ie there are no rules, EVERYTHING is the exception. Here is an example of shrewd drafting, good evaluators/developers of talent, Ie great management. You can throw in SJ, yes underachievers post season , but perenialy good during the regular….keep going and you will find many examples you can throw in….

      You can also call Edm ( oops soory there i go again…) the exception to the rule. You have poor management for….ok we know how this story ends…Again a plethora of other candidates here…

      In an ideal world, if you combine high draft picks, with sound management, and good assesment/ development, you get of course a better chance of future suucess. NO KIDDING! But having all three is like the perfect storm. For me THAT is the exception to the rule (80s Edm, 90s Pens, 10s CHI)

      You cannot consciously go along that path, your messing with nature, and when man thinks he can conquer nature, your hooped! Basically what your saying is tank for a few years, get a couple of high picks, and ride them out….Sounds like a plan…..but it has risks too….big ones!!!! With probably more failures than successes…

      The point is to stock pile talent, gems are found from the first round to the last round. Current players undervalued by their current teams, etc etc. continuouly upgrading / or in JB terms accelerating. Going along that route makes sense to me, add to what you have, continue to evolve…. and who knows. Dont understimate a winner (Mark Messi….), eerrr i mean winning environment ( check out Vrbata’s interview with TG on his days with the big Colorado teams of Sakic, Forsberg, Blake, etc….)

      You know what they say, the real purpose is the journey not necessarily the destination…there can only be one winner in the end….odds are stacked against everyone…..

    • Larionov18

      It is a ridiculous statement made by jealous fans that say it it cup or bust. I was jealous of the Sharks dominating regular seasons for years. I was never like oh they did not win the cup so my Canucks being average was the same..no it wasn’t. Sharks were selling hope not misery. I am a hockey fan and I like watching the Canucks win.Last year hoping they lost down the stretch sucked. Can you imagine ten straight years of wishing your team starts losing starting in November like the Oilers. No thanks. Boston won with out sucking. Maybe the Caucks can do the same. Here is hoping

      • acg5151

        I can’t imagine that because I would have quit on the Oilers after year 6 or year 7. If a sports team sucks that bad there is a point when you need to find a team that is winning because sports isn’t about loyalty, it’s about watching and having fun with it, and if your team sucks that bad for 7 years it’s not fun.

      • Fortitude00

        Boston drafted
        Thornton 1st overall 1997 which they traded for other players they later
        turned into picks and core players
        2000 7th overall Lars Jonsson
        2006 Phil Kessel 5th which they traded to Toronto for their 2010 2nd overall pick T Sequin and 2011 9th overall pick Dougie Hamilton
        2007 Zack Hamill 8th overall

        Pretty sure Boston had some high draft picks they built around and yes it was from sucking initially.

  • orcasfan

    I don’t see how anyone can attribute LA’s success to one player in Doughty. Obviously he is a key component, but it was the GM assembling the rest of the cast, as well as drafting well (i.e. Kopitar), not to mention coaching, that has led to their success. And, yes, Pittsburgh does owe it’s Stanley Cup to the presence of Crosby and Malkin – but Crosby, at least, is a generational player like Gretsky, so a team would have to be really hopeless not to have some success! And Chicago, again, does not owe it’ s
    two cups to Kane and Toews only. Tallon, followed by Bowman assembled a brilliant team, that has been coached by one of the top coaches in the League.

    If acquiring a talented top pick is so important,nucksandbolts, how do you explain the failure of all those other teams with those talented players over the years?

    • nucksandbolts

      I’m not saying it’s a guaranteed strategy, because that is the nature of the beast when dealing with human beings. We’re evaluating and judging these kids at 18, before they’ve even fully matured. There is going to be some error there. For example, Alexandre Daigle was one of the most hyped prospects of his time and amounted to little. Sometimes it just goes that way and there is little you can do.

      I will concede the LA point but say: I doubt the Kings would have won either cup without him with how he plays in the playoffs but that was a weak example. I thought about deleting it but I had already typed the whole thing and I’m lazy so here we are. But irregardless, you can’t attribute it to one player.

      Contrary to the LA point, however, I strongly disagree fundamentally with your assesment of Chicago. Their depth pieces are important, but Kane and Toews make that team. Without them they have no chance at any of the success they have achieved in my opinion. I believe this is exemplified by the fact that the two players who won the Conn Smythe when Chicago won the cup are in fact Jon Toews and Patty Kane.

      • Dirty30

        What we tend to forget about Detroit is they were for a long time a bit of a laughing stock of the league. The the new owner togther with a pre Salary cap era permitted the Wings to assemble a winning team with Fetosov, Larinov, Konstantinov. Add high pick Yzerman ( 4th O/A because of their porr league position ) Primeau 3rd O/A ) add Lucky picks 6th round selection ( ie they passed on this guy 5 times ) Zettersburg 7th round and they were on their way. The frequently bought success.

        Here’s their drafting history and theres a lot of failure

        http://canucks.nhl.com/club/draftstats.htm?year=All&round=All&team=DET&supl=N

    • Mantastic

      i hope you realize that the Canucks would be no where without their top picks. This team currently has 2 top 3 picks and without them, they are nothing this past decade. the 2011 team alone had 3 top 3 picks. top picks aren’t the only way to make it to the finals but it helps a lot. LA was also bad for numerous years before being perennial contenders. traded their top picks to acquire depth, high 2nd rounders also help a lot. don’t be delusional, there are plenty of examples where teams just flounder being a middle of pack team, never being good enough to win the cup or acquire elite talent.

  • wojohowitz

    Part of the big picture is that Sir Benn needs to build depth in the organization. On deadline day the teams with depth trade players for draft picks. Maybe next year but in reality it will takes two or three.

  • wojohowitz

    While I understand wanting to tank for a shot at some high end talent, it is not always needed to win. Look at the teams that have made it to the Cup Final in the last 10 years, there’s a surprising number that were the 8’th seed. While often not winners, LA sure did just a few years ago. I really do believe GMJB’s logic that punching a ticket to the playoffs is like a lottery ticket, the more chances you get to play, the more likely to win.

    This is part of why the Detroit model works, everyone has seen their team fail due to injuries, bad luck, players slumping at the wrong time, suspensions to star players (oh Bert). Punching your ticket to the playoffs really is a lottery ticket, and the more chances you get the better chance of getting lucky.

    I for one am getting amped already to see some playoff hockey!! Win or lose, I am going to enjoy the ride 🙂

  • Dirty30

    So Benning bought 19 year old Sven. Doesn’t sound like he’s watched him since. Smart from Calgary to call with 5 minutes to go – Canucks had no time for due diligence.

    As for the Pronman graph, the well-managed-never-has-to-tank model doesn’t apply to us. There’s a sweet point between dark horse and contender where a team might be able to sustain itself. We made a damaging push for the Cup and were rubbish at drafting for years. Starting with a bare cupboard and an ageing core that you’re not allowed to sell is an insanely difficult place to start building a perennial playoff team. The quickest way back to a point where ‘sustainably good’ might be possible is tanking.

    Tanking next year makes so much sense. Bieksa, Hamhuis and Vrbata on expiring contracts; Higgins, Bonino and Burrows with 1 year left. If you want a quick turnaround, the return from that group could go a long way.

  • wojohowitz

    “Building a consistently mediocre team is the cardinal sin in sports management”

    O for the Canucks of the 70s and 80s forever aiming for the pinnacle of a .500 season. But never lousy enough to score a first-overall draft pick.

  • acg5151

    Great trade – I like Baertschi and I think that provided Willie Desjardins can give him some minutes next year, that he could easily develop into a good scoring winger for us. He’s already played in the NHL so the odds of him being an NHLer are better than any random 2nd rounder we pick in 2017.

  • acg5151

    I have no problem with giving up a 2nd round pick for a guy that didn’t fit with Burke and Hartley…..

    If Sven was a round peg trying to fit in a square Flames hole, then we got a steal. How many guys have been given up on because they haven’t become Stars overnight. Even in Van media, everyone is talking about Vey deal as if it were a total bust. The guy hasn’t even played a full NHL season.

    Hartley and Burke like big tough guys and they are in a long long term rebuild. I like Benning’s philosophy of trading in order to speed up development. Clandening is a perfect example…

    Hopefully Sven will fill out and bit get pished around, but if his O skills are as advertised. Nice trade! Always count on Calgary to do something stupid

  • Dirty30

    Don’t forget that Detroit had one of the highest payrolls in the league at a time Brian Burke was offering to drive Canuck players to the airport if they didn’t like his salary offer.

    It was one problem with the introduction of the cap — it might have hurt a team like Detroit to some extent, but they had the pieces to trade out for picks that helped them rebuild when other teams were still trying to figure out how to win under a cap.

    Detroit did benefit from very good scouting and coaching (Scotty Bowman anyone?) while the Canucks were still too often held back by poor ownership — the Griffiths never had the money to put a great team on the ice and the dude from Seattle had the money but didn’t seem to have the interest. Current ownership is hurting for money after some poor decisions and that’s hurting the team in addition to bad drafting and trading.

    The only good move Benning made was to forgo trading away Kassian.

  • bigdaddykane

    Another thing that has to be considered here is the quality of drafts you draft from. Sometimes you’re a terrible team in a middle of a rebuild, stockpiling high 1st round picks, and you luck out on the 1st overall pick. Yaaay! If the consensus best player is Crosby or Toews? Bam. You’ve just drafted one of the greatest players in 20 years. Buuuuut, what if that year its Alexandre Daigle, or Nail Yakupov? I’ve heard that because NHL drafted kids are so young vs NFL/NBA who get the benefit of at least a few years of college, its like trying to pick rocket scientists based on how they do in grade 10 science class.

    • Dirty30

      The NFL has benefitted to the extreme from the college system and the billions that backers pump into the system. It allows the hiring of top-tier coaches and staff and recruiting like the AHL has never seen.

      And how to compare the Stars to the Cowboys when the latter has an owner who can spend a billion dollars to build a stadium to hold 100,000 fans?

      Bettman’s background in the NBA influenced the model he imposed on the NHL and while there have been a couple improvements, there have been some stinkers that have been detrimental in a number of ways.

      I don’t believe the worst team should get the best pick and would rather see something like more buy-outs (pay for your mistakes) and a system that says the winner of the SC gets first pick — and from there the top ten teams get to pick. The rest of the draft is then open to a lottery system. What bottom teams get are additional compliance buy-outs and maybe extra cap space.

      Not perfect … but better than the Oilers tanking until the next millenium.

  • Fred-65

    We’re getting a opportunity to see Benning implement a unique strategy of making “hockey trades” to speed up player development (i.e. make up for Gilles’ mismanagement of the prospect pipeline) and to exploit other teams’ roster issues. Benning has been in charge for less than a year so it’s a too soon to condemn his strategy and adopt a tank-for-success strategy.

    We’re in a much better position to critique Benning at the end of next year, once we’ve had a chance to see if his NHL trades (i.e. Vey, Clendening, Bonino, Sbisa, Dorsett) and minor league transactions (i.e. Baertschi, Conacher, Pedan, all of the 2014 draft picks) show improvement or regression. That’s a large enough sample of players to see if Benning’s strategy and eye for talent is valid. Also, don’t forget the impact that Willie Desjardins and Travis Green have on Benning’s roster moves.

    • Ruprecht

      Thanks. It’s very well written and quite interesting. A lot of nasty butthurt could fester over the years with Flames fans should we ever be able to develop this kid to his potential. I have no idea why Flames management would even risk that for a 2nd rounder.

      • acg5151

        They would risk that for a second rounder because he asked for a trade, and if you don’t accept a trade request you are pissing an already unhappy young player off and that can cause discontentment to spread throughout their minor league team, which could eventually lead to losing him for nothing and actively torpedoing a young guy’s career. At the end of the day, they want these guys to do well.

        I hope that a lot of nasty butthurt flows through Flames fans about this for a long time because f those guys. I really hope they miss the playoffs and that our retool beats their rebuild and I hope that we have a long and nasty rivalry again – except this time, Canucks come out on top.

  • elvis15

    I have no problem with the small moves Benning made (cautious about the Baertschi deal but would be great if it works to any degree) but I am disappointed that he didn’t take advantage of some of the overpayments to sell a player or two. I normally wouldn’t suggest that but he’s running out of time to get something for some of the players that are taking spots he’s starting to earmark for younger players (Baertschi is waiver eligble next year, so is Jensen, Clendening, etc. and he wants Virtanen to compete). While he can still move players at the draft I don’t know that the price will be as good and we might miss out on some bargains to bring in other players with teams in a cap crunch.

  • Fred-65

    On reflection re Baertschi there is a strange quirk to the trade. His ELC finishes this season so next season he’s a RFA. This means two things, easier to resign but the catch is he can’t be sent down without clearing waivers. Does this mean he has a guaranteed position on next seasons roster ….. to the detrement of other prospects or other FA’s. If Baertschi makes the roster, Kenins, ( has to pass through waivers next season) is he here to stay and will Matthius, Richardson and Dorsett remain. What does this mean to the likes of Virtanin et al there’s only 23 roster spots.

    I assume Clendening will be in Utica

      • Fortitude00

        Pretty sure that is wrong. When he gets sent down he must clear waivers. The thing about the start of the season is that there is a glut of players going down at that time and teams are pretty much set on their starting rosters. Welcome to your Sven (Jensen….) dilemma.