Canucks Free Agent Frenzy Recap: Rearranging the Deck Chairs

In terms of volume, the Vancouver Canucks were reasonably active on the opening morning of unrestricted free agency, making four signings and a depth trade to shore up their roster for next season. They added some much-needed depth to their blueline, and dealt from a position of strength to address a position of need. It could have been a good, productive day for the team…

…had they not made a questionable decision in trading a young and improving asset for a much older one that’s just a year away from depreciating into nothing thanks to unrestricted free agency.

There were some positives and some negatives today, so we’ll go over what went down after the jump.

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Yannick Weber re-signed

Vancouver began the morning with a tidy bit of housekeeping, getting UFA D Yannick Weber under contract for another year at one million dollars. In doing so, the Canucks brought back one of their better powerplay threats on the back end and averted a potentially messy situation they created by declining to tender the Swiss defender a qualifying offer.

Given Benning’s insistence that they were going to get Weber signed, it’s not a surprising move, but still encouraging. Weber isn’t fantastic in his own end, but can provide a net benefit through his puck moving and powerplay utility, and $1.5 million for one year is a low-risk low-commitment deal that makes this a good value signing.

Weber could potentially slot in to Vancovuer’s top-4 next season playing along side Dan Hamhuis with Kevin Bieksa now in Anaheim, and will likely get extended time on the powerplay. He’s also a bit of an insurance blanket should one of Frank Corrado or Adam Clendening prove unable to handle the NHL this year.

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Yannick Weber isn’t a number-4 D on a good team, but the Canucks aren’t a good team. Still, he helps with blueline mobility and doesn’t carry a contract so onerous that he’ll prevent the Canucks from improving their roster elsewhere going forwards. He’ll have a good chance to carve out a name for himself early in the year with powerplay reps, and if both Adam Clendening and Frank Corrado perform well, is a prime candidate to be dealt ahead of the deadline for a draft pick to preserve a good deal of future value for the Canucks.

Matt Bartkowski Signed

Generally, high profile UFAs have their best years behind them and are being paid for name recognition rather than what they’re actually contributing, so the most prudent course of action when free agency opens is usually sitting around and dipping into the bargain bin every now and then. The Canucks did so, acquiring mobile transitional defender Matt Bartkowski on a one-year contract at $1.75 million.

Dashboard 1 (3)

Similar to players like Chris Tanev and Anton Stralman, Bartkowski brings significant defensive value but does so in a fairly non-traditional sense. He’s not the big, clear-the-front, nasty-in-the-corners, overpower-your-opponents type, but he’s quick and smart and willing to bump and grind.

Despite never having scored a goal in the regular season of his NHL career, he produces offense at a credible and about NHL-average rate for defenders. The term is good and the money’s a little much considering Ryan Stanton’s numbers since the beginning of his NHL career are similar and Stanton is also younger, but Bartkowski should be an upgrade on Stanton’s 2014-15 year. The money is also pretty negligible since the term and overall financial commitment is so small, so this is a minor concern more than anything.

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We’ve looked at Bartkowski’s fit in Vancouver back in January, when the Zack Kassian trade rumours first started kicking up. Here’s what we said then:

Frequent observers of the Bruins tell me that Bartkowski is prone to making the big mistake, so he’d be somewhat similar to Luca Sbisa in that regard, but he’s otherwise a solid defender that many believe should be in the Bruins lineup over more frequently used Kevan Miller. His possession numbers seem to support this too – he’s a 53.3% Corsi player over his past 84 games in a depth role compared to Miller’s 50.1%.
He is a negative for CorsiRel however, but some of that can be attributed to Zdeno Chara seeing the ice the majority of the time when Bartkowski was on the bench. In terms of Stephen Burtch’s dCorsi metric, Bartkowski has basically had a negligible effect on what’s expected from an average player in his role, indicating that he’s roughly an average to slightly above average puck possession player. 
Bartkowski has been fairly effective at pitching in on offense too, despite having never scored a regular season NHL goal. His assist rate is very good, as his 0.9 A/60 ranks him 1st on the Bruins since the beginning of last season, and also would rank him 1st on the Canucks in the same time frame by a considerable margin, though this is likely inflated by a very favourable 9.1% on-ice shooting percentage.
All in all, it sounds like Bartkowski is the lite-version of the player Keith Ballard was supposed to be, which is a mobile and physical two-way guy that can help out a little bit in all facets of the game. Put it all together, and you a picture of a very serviceable second-pair guy on most teams.

I’d argue that Bartkowski is a significant upgrade on Luca Sbisa right now and should slot in as the #3 left defenseman on Vancouver’s depth chart behind Alex Edler and Dan Hamhuis, but given the financial commitment the team has (pretty foolishly) made to Sbisa, I can’t see that happening.

Bartkowski does help the Canucks get better and more mobile though, and he’s a good depth pickup that could be a valuable asset when injuries inevitably hit.

Comets bolstered with Bachman and Fedun

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Richard Bachman stood on his head against Utica in the playoffs with Benning in attendance, so it’s no wonder that Vancouver’s GM targeted the veteran AHLer to split starts with Joe Cannata in Utica’s crease. Bachman is probably an upgrade on Joacim Eriksson at the AHL level and has seen NHL time, but he’s performed like a credible 3rd-stringer in his limited NHL action. If Miller or Markstrom goes down, Bachman could see spot NHL duty, but it’s more likely he’s in the organization solely to give the Comets some solid AHL starts.

Taylor Fedun is a little more interesting, as the mobile right-handed defender has flashed some decent offensive ability at the AHL and NHL level. The 27-year old right handed D has close to a 50% Fenwick in his 11 career NHL games to go along with 2 goals and 4 assists. Nothing earth-shattering, but maybe there’s a big of low-end NHL upside there.

Unfortunately, Fedun slots in behind Corrado, Clendening, and probably Alex Biega on the right-handed depth chart and isn’t likely to see NHL ice this season, barring unforeseen circumstances. He’ll be a valuable contributor to the Utica Comets, as he’ll help offset the graduation of Vancouver’s young defenders to the NHL.

Zack Kassian traded for Brandon Prust

In his biggest move of the day, Jim Benning sold low on Zack Kassian, dealing him and a 5th round pick in 2016 to Montreal in exchange for credible NHL pugilist Brandon Prust. Kassian hadn’t grown as hoped in Vancouver, and seemed to take a step back from becoming a more well-rounded and reliable middle-6 forward this past season, perhaps in part to a fairly significant back injury.

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Kassian was a surplus asset on the Canucks while Prust fills a need at left wing, but the net benefit Prust will provide should be marginal at best. It will cost Vancouver an extra $700,000 in cap space, the rights to an RFA-protected asset, and a low-value lottery ticket that they really didn’t need to burn. We knew that Vancouver has been trying to move Kassian for nearly anything for a while now, so a pretty low-value return shouldn’t come as a surprise.

This is a bad process trade for sure – the Canucks burned a non-insignificant amount of future value in a young asset, a draft pick, and cap liquidity that they really didn’t need to – but it really amounts to shuffling the deck chairs come October. Prust brings something different than Kassian, and while it may be a thing that’s more satisfying to some, it’s not clearly better. This is likely a lateral move today, with the added cost of hampering the Canucks’ long term future by some unknown small amount.

Kassian was a damaged asset so this deal doesn’t deserve some of the scorn it’s received, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s not a good one for Jim Benning and company.

Looking Forward

The opening of free agency is just that: a beginning of a period of roster moves rather than an ending. There’s a lot of summer left between now and October, so I highly doubt the Canucks are done yet. In the big picture, none of today’s moves will fundamentally alter the trajectory of the Canucks, nor will they significantly help or harm the team going into next season. The Canucks this evening are essentially the same team as the Canucks last night, and that could be a good or bad thing depending on what you were expecting to happen and your views on free agent frenzy day.

With Brad Richardson heading to the desert, Benning will also have to find another centreman somewhere, unless he’s set on having Linden Vey take faceoffs and handle that defensive responsibility once again. There are a number of potential low-cost options out there that should be able to handle a fourth line role, but it remains to be seen whether there will be enough cap space left after Clendening, Corrado, Baertschi, and Grenier get contracts.

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The Canucks did address a need to get more mobile on the blueline today, and they also addressed the need for a credible NHL left winger, but there are still more holes in their roster that need filling. Given the team’s cap situation, Benning will undoubtedly look for short-term, low-cost solutions rather than swinging for an Antoine Vermette.

With a group of high-priced players scheduled to come off the books by next July 1st, the team also appears to be trying to position themselves for the 2016 free agent crop that includes Anze Kopitar, Jakub Voracek, David Backes, Kyle Okposo, Andrew Ladd, Milan Lucic, and Brent Seabrook by not committing term to players, but this theory could go out the window should Prust receive a contract extension like Derek Dorsett’s rather than being dealt at the trade deadline for draft picks.

Despite the ill-advised roster moves that have characterized the post-trade deadline Canucks, a plan may be appearing to take shape. Whether it’s being executed properly or is even the right plan is a debate for another day.



  • ikillchicken

    Classic Benning. Make a few pretty solid, small moves that generally move the team in the right direction…then ruin it completely by making a truly awful big move that will probably haunt us for ages.

    • ikillchicken

      No matter what happens Trading Kassian won’t set the Canucks that far back.

      Benning dangled him for Lucic but Boston chose the 13 th pick over him. AV Torts Willie Trevor all talked to him to no avail. He even admitted after the trade he didn’t do everything he could have.

      Is Benning supposed to take a spot away from a Sven Or Jake or Shinkaruk and hope he “gets it” this time? Guys like Kassian won’t change with threats or benchings. Maybe getting shipped again will wake him up…. Or he will be a guy that bounces around on 1 yr contracts for teams hoping he finally gets it.

      Either way it wasn’t going to happen in Vancouver. We need a left winger, he is a good locker room guy and can be traded at deadline for a pick from a team that needs toughness. Guys like Prust get inflated value at deadline.

      • ikillchicken

        I think it’s weird that you reject the prospect of giving Kassian another shot because, of all things, it might take away a roster spot for another reclamation project like Sven Baertschi.
        Not that I mean to run down Sven. That’s one of Benning’s better moves. Makes sense to gamble on a young player with high upside. But the same goes for Kassian. And yeah, Kassian is a couple years older, but then he’s also produced much more in the way of tangible results. I mean, you realize Kassian scored 10 goals in 40 games last season right? I know his defensive play still is a weakness but honestly, even as he is now he already has a positive net impact on play. Even if he never rounds into the kind of complete player we hope, he could still turn into an extremely valuable asset. It just makes no sense to throw him away for nothing. Give him another year at least. See how his back holds up and/or if he repeats his offensive success from this year. If not, very little is lost. And in the mean time, if you’re so desperate to clear a roster spot for the guys you mentioned (only one of which is a RW by the way) look at moving out a veteran middle six forward or two. Higgins or Hansen should both be movable despite their partial NTCs and would surely bring in a better return than this. Moving Vrbata would also make all kinds of sense if we’re really serious about retooling with young talent.

        • bigdaddykane

          Bartsch was badly misused by Calgary and I think will benefit from actual decent deployment. Kassian one could argue didn’t get enough of a shot at being a top six player but there has to be a reason that 3 Canucks coaches and at least 1 or 2 Buffalo ones had such a problem with him. He really does seem to be a head case — great soft hands, interesting personality but some serious problems putting it all together. At what point does potential just become problem? The return is another issue — what the hell do we need Prust for? Unless the thinking is that Prust + Dorsett offset what we lose in Richardson on the PK but that’s just dumb — we have multiple players who can man the PK (Burrows, Dorsett, Horvat, Hansen, Higgins) though the face-offs remain a problem.

          I really would like to see Benning drop this old school mentality. That said the doom and gloom on this site is a bit much — come on, this is Kassian we are talking about, a project. This is nowhere near the scale of the disasters we’ve seen unfold in Toronto and Boston so far. THAT was the return for Kessel? And Hamilton? Good lord.

          • argoleas

            In the cap era, especially with the Canadian dollar making it stagnant, everyone will do reclamation projects. So what if Kassian pulls it together? What if Baertschi is a 30 goal scorer in 2 years, and Vey improves too? What if all these three work out, what will Benning be called then? What if all 3 fail?

            Prust replaces Bieksa’s truculence (such an awesome word) and Richardson PK. Let’s see how that works out. Lets see how the PK holds up before we remove more important pieces from it.

          • That’s exactly why he is gone. It’s also why the Canucks gave Bergevin a 5th round pick on top of Zack to bring Prust here. If you look at Prust he is a great guy in the dressing room. There are video clips of him iand Gallagher and afew others I don’t know who they are on Canucks.com. But the guy is hilarious. Great guy for all the young kids coming up, just like Dorsy. And he is an extremely hard worker, he’s consistant every night. He won’t score alot, but WD will be able to trust him. That says alot

            As for Zack. The talent is there. There’s so much potential. But he parties way too much. I certainly am glad he won’t be here anymore trying to get young guys like Bo, Jake V, McCann, Cassels etc to “come party with me.” LOL the more I think about it, that’s exactly what management did. Get that poison out of the dressing room now. Zack actually admitted in his exit interview that he could have tried harder. Enough said right there. And if he continues to live like that and doesn’t change his “HABBITS”, he won’t amount to much in Montreal either. Quitting partying is not an easy thing to do. So I wouldn’t bet on it happening anytime soon. Very good point man. ???

  • pheenster

    The Kassian deal seems to be the dividing point for Canuck fans…

    Just like the Lack trade I believe fans in Vancouver over valued Kassian. He has been benched by 3 different coaches and has had everyone tell him to shape up with no results. Prust makes 700,000 more per year, but it’s better than having 1.5 mil sitting in the press box.

    The real change in this team will be the influx of young players. Jake V, Gaunce, Grenier, Shinkurak Sven, Corrado, Clendening. Prust will be part of a veteran leadership that will show these young guys how to be a pro. Also Prust will be a good trade asset at the deadline. Even if the Canucks are in the playoff race they will have flexibility in trading a vet like Prust and plugging in a younger forward.

    Kassian wore out his welcome, we needed a left winger that works hard. Maybe Nick Jensen , Gaunce and Grenier will learn something from watching Prust Kenins and Dorsett??.

  • ikillchicken

    The Lindenning romance and honeyman is so dead rigor mortis has set in.
    Canucks will be chasing Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg next year, and even Buffalo will be better.
    When ex-Canucks visit Vancouver it will take maintenance hours to scrape the little orcas off the boards.
    The Canucks were bad in their first two decades, but colourful, and never godawful, and tickets could be had for five bucks.

  • ikillchicken

    Surely, it doesn’t take a 5th rounder to get that done. If Montreal insisted, then hold on to Zach for another year. It doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to the team any way. Is there really such an urgency to get rid of him?It will be a long season for the fans!

  • ikillchicken

    Surely, it doesn’t take a 5th rounder to get that done. If Montreal insisted, then hold on to Zach for another year. It doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to the team any way. Is there really such an urgency to get rid of him?It will be a long season for the fans!

  • ikillchicken

    Surely, it doesn’t take a 5th rounder to get that done. If Montreal insisted, then hold on to Zach for another year. It doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to the team any way. Is there really such an urgency to get rid of him?It will be a long season for the fans!

  • ikillchicken

    Surely, it doesn’t take a 5th rounder to get that done. If Montreal insisted, then hold on to Zach for another year. It doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to the team any way. Is there really such an urgency to get rid of him?It will be a long season for the fans!

  • ikillchicken

    Surely, it doesn’t take a 5th rounder to get that done. If Montreal insisted, then hold on to Zach for another year. It doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to the team any way. Is there really such an urgency to get rid of him?It will be a long season for the fans!

    • ikillchicken

      I am praying we don’t go after Lucic. Benning seems to be overpaying players and seems to have a man-crush on that idiot Lucic. No thanks.

      We have lots of big contracts expiring (Vrb, Hamhuis etc) and I am hoping all of these guys get moved at the deadline for blue chip prospects and/or picks.

      • argoleas

        We would have to be extremely lucky to get blue-chip prospects or high-draft picks for players like Hamhuis, Vrbata, Burrows, or Higgins at the trading dealine. Maybe Vrbata if he has another very good year and there is a bidding war.

        • I think Vrbata and Hamhuis can get us 1st round picks, or 2nds and a prospect if they have good years, and Higgins a 3rd, Prust a 3rd. But with JB’s trade returns of Lack & Zack I’m not so confident he can get that done anymore. I know I could make that happen, because that’s what they’re all worth at the trade deadline, though it may have to be something like Prust & Hamhuis for a 1st and prospect like the Santorelli/Franson deal to Nashville last year. As far as Burrows, i don’t want to trade him so hopefully JB doesn’t lol. Or Hansen, or Sedins, Tanev or the kids. everyone else is tradebait in my books.

        • bigdaddykane

          Yeah, I really don’t think you, and most of the humanoids that post here, know what you’re talking about. There have been many writers noing Vrbata and Hamhuis could have fetched 1st round picks at this draft if they were traded at this past trade deadline. I’ll take their word over yours.

          Higgins probably would get you a 3rd round pick. I don’t think Burr has a ton of value. A desperate team may gamble on him at deadline.

          • argoleas

            Nice to think someone still considers me a humanoid.

            If there are writers that said such things, I would like to see those links. But sure, do that their word over mine. They spend their time on this, I just post opinions based on what I see as a fan, and nothing more.

            I think we somewhat disagree on the value of Hamhuis on the market. Based on his age, injury history, and expiring contract, I see issues. That’s why I think that if all goes well for him, he gets traded at the deadline when he will be intentionally at his most valuable. Then I see at most 2nd round pick (maybe a very low 1st round pick) and a good asset. For now, there is no one on this team ready to assume his spot on the D.

            As Vrbata, I think that Vancouver would be very hard pressed to replace this 30 goals. If there was someone ready to step into that spot, sure. Vrbata does not want to leave, or he would already be gone, and he fits a huge need on this team that no one can yet replace. So I will stick to what I said about him come trading deadline.

            I think that we agree on Higgins and Borrows trade values, except I may be a bit more optimistic that on you Burrows’ trade value. But my take is that Higgins is moved by trading deadline, unless a prospects just knocks it out of the part in training camp. Burrows may turn out to be a lifer.

          • bigdaddykane

            -There have been many writers noing Vrbata and Hamhuis could have fetched 1st round picks at this draft if they were traded at this past trade deadline. –

            LOL. Oh Ted, you really do believe what the media tells you too?

            Those players couldn’t fetch a stick if they were a popsicle.

    • argoleas

      Lots of cap room coming up next year. If Lucic becomes that player he needs to be, and wants to return home, then I would go for that. And if Lucic wants to come home, knowing that this would still be a rebuild in process, then he may go for a home discount.

      Sedins with him would be fascinating to watch. Then we may get the “Kassian” we deserve.

  • bigdaddykane

    I think what’s p!ssing off the weary faithful are the weird, random signals this regime is sending. Linden walks on water as far as I’m concerned, and we did hire Benning to fix the holes in our drafting more than anything, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t rebuild and also complete for a playoff spot because all that gets you is the 23rd overall pick again.
    Tearing it down needs to happen. But…….Da [email protected] you mean you signed Miller, Dorsett and Spizza to money and term? Why trade for a 31 year old plugger and deal a 24 year old who’s cheaper with more upside? And toss in a scratch and win 5th rounder too? This is what got Gillis fired, Jim: p!ssing away draft picks on crappy trades. Its not that they traded Kassian: its that they traded him for a bag of pucks and some blade guards…..again like Lack. If the return on asset is no good…..don’t make the bloody trade. Im sure Boston is happy with Sir Bennington for pushing to run Tyler Seguin out of town a little too early. Not saying Kass was anywhere near Seguin, but caman jimbo. You’re killing us here with these weird trades and mixed messages.

  • bigdaddykane

    I think what’s p!ssing off the weary faithful are the weird, random signals this regime is sending. Linden walks on water as far as I’m concerned, and we did hire Benning to fix the holes in our drafting more than anything, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t rebuild and also complete for a playoff spot because all that gets you is the 23rd overall pick again.
    Tearing it down needs to happen. But…….Da [email protected] you mean you signed Miller, Dorsett and Spizza to money and term? Why trade for a 31 year old plugger and deal a 24 year old who’s cheaper with more upside? And toss in a scratch and win 5th rounder too? This is what got Gillis fired, Jim: p!ssing away draft picks on crappy trades. Its not that they traded Kassian: its that they traded him for a bag of pucks and some blade guards…..again like Lack. If the return on asset is no good…..don’t make the bloody trade. Im sure Boston is happy with Sir Bennington for pushing to run Tyler Seguin out of town a little too early. Not saying Kass was anywhere near Seguin, but caman jimbo. You’re killing us here with these weird trades and mixed messages.

  • Dirty30

    Last year there was talk of trading Kassian for Bartowski straight up and there seemed to be support for that deal — some weren’t convinced that it was the answer to the Canucks woes.

    So we got Bartowski as a free agent and traded Kassian for Prust … But since Bartowski really didn’t cost anything but could have cost Kassian, then isn’t it the same as trading a fifth rounder for Prust?

    In other words, if you were willing to trade Kassian for Bartowski then didn’t that just kind of happen?

    And no, I’m not happy to see Kassian gone but do wish him well … I really hope this isn’t some Cam Neeley-lite replay here.

  • bigdaddykane

    I think most fans are way over valuing Kassian. Like another poster said above he’s gone through 4-5 coaches. All who couldn’t make him work.

    Kassian half the time is doing something horribly undisciplined, floating around not doing much, and than occasionally showing how he _could_ be a good player if he got rid of all his weaknesses.

    Benning has repeatedly stated he wants players with good character. Kassian, despite all the talks with coaches/management/teammates (Brad richardson was quoted a while back about trying to help him improve his habits) wasn’t willing to make the effort to change himself.

    It dosen’t matter how good a player _could_ be if they don’t have the mental strength to reach that potential.

  • bigdaddykane

    Good asset management also requires that you develop assets. If Kass creates a logjam at RW that prevents a younger player that you like better from getting ice time, you trade him rather than sitting one or the other in the press box. Not trading Kass is bad asset management, in my view.

  • Not Dressed For Tonight's Game

    Thomas Drance has a great article today on Sportsnet on this slow messy rebuild that the Canucks are doing. It has to be this way because of the fans.

    It was so embarrassing yesterday during free agent frenzy and TSN cuts over to TSN 1040 radio to hear our fans in absolute hysterics. We basically traded a person who was either healthy scratch or injured most of last year for a fourth liner and the vitriol and whining about this trade and Benning was downright embarrassing.

    I remember going to a pre-season game last year and had to endure two straight hours of trash talking of Edler from two guys behind me during the game by so-called fans. Of course, he had a bounce back season. This year everyone has made an agreement that we are all going to hate Sbisa and Miller.

    Sometimes, it is really hard being a Canucks fan. Forget Benning, it’s these kind of fans who make us look like a joke to everyone else.

    • Not Dressed For Tonight's Game

      “I remember going to a pre-season game last year and had to endure two straight hours of trash talking of Edler from two guys behind me during the game by so-called fans ”

      You do know that Edler was -39 at one point right?
      When you’re -39 there’s no where to go but up. That tells you how bad he was. What, did you expect fans to tell you how great Edler was for 2 hours? Are you sure YOU’RE a fan?

      • Not Dressed For Tonight's Game

        You are totally missing the point, it is all the whining and complaining. Listening to two people whine for two hours – “oh Edler sucks, wah wah wah” for the entire game, was really annoying.

        Watching the footage of the hysteria of some our fans on TSN 1040 on Free Agent Frenzy, was embarrassing.

        Real fans debate, they don’t cry and have temper tantrums. That is why I like this site for the most part.

        I don’t hear any other market panic as much as we do.

        • bigdaddykane

          So is that the reason why a -39 player never gets traded? Because fans such as yourself feel sorry for him?

          Your compassion is touching if not for the fact that this is supposed to be a competitive sport, not the Red Cross.

  • Not Dressed For Tonight's Game

    Not a fan of the return for Kassian but who knows, there might be stuff we don’t know about…

    It’s clear you need some high-end talent to succeed at the highest level. In the cap world, the only affordable way to get talent is through the draft and the days of rich teams building cup contenders out of UFAs are long gone. Stats show that high-end skilled players are mostly high 1st round picks which are extremely expensive to obtaining by trade. Although Canucks’ management has been claiming they want to build a winning culture ‘the right way’, I suspect Benning will sacrifice next year in order to finish top 3 in the draft. Benning has been very vocal about how deep next year’s draft is and his is whole GM mantra is to improve a team via the draft.

    I think the plan is to tank for 1 year and 1 year only. A top 3 pick could legitimately make our 2017 team, and by then Horvat, Virtanen, Shinkaruk, Cassels & Gaunce could all be affordable NHLers… with money for a few UFAs (Lucic) could give the Sedins’ their final run.

    Also by tanking, we also improve on every single pick in every single round next year.

    Moving Bieksa, Kassian, Lack & letting Matthias & Richardson walk are all moves that make room for younger players but the current less skilled/experienced replacements won’t get us the same results.

    At least Benning is being a bit more discrete than Buffalo was last year and I’m sure this is a pill the Aquilinis are willing to swallow.

    • argoleas

      I would not mind seeing Matthias return, if his FA fishing does not go that well, for the right price.

      I don’t believe that Lindenning are planning for a tank. A tank would cost a whole year of development for the players here. Sure, we may look at last playoff as a waste, but Bo Horvat didn’t. Give me a competitive team, and that’s one year of good development for Horvat, Clendening, Corrado, Vey, and maybe even Gaunce and Virtanen, but above all Markstrom. And if the miss the playoffs, then we have a lottery. If at the trading deadline we can put another 1st rounder, then another two in the top 75, awesome.

      I just think that the cost of tanking so we can get 25% try at the lottery when one could still end up 4th, but waste a whole year of development is not worth it. I think everyone here really appreciates what the deep Utica run did for the development for the prospects there. I think that it not only opened Virtanen’s eyes, but may have saved Jensen’s career, amongst other great things. Playing here and suffering lots of 7-1 defeats will just ensure an Edmonton scenario.

  • bigdaddykane

    I really hate it when anyone talks about ‘next year’s free agent crop’.

    It’s the old school leafs mentality: “Getzlaf next year!” and on and on through every high profile FA who might be there a year or two from now. 90% of these guys re-sign. The other 10% inveriably sign somewhere with a ‘home’ connection (Hamhuis, Garrison, Parise, Suter, etc etc) or a team trending upwards or having a period of success (Richards, Sekera, Green, etc etc).

    I look forward to the 2016 FA class having maybe one player of note who goes to Edmonton after an 80 point McDavid season or Detroit or some such.