Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports
You have to say this for the Jim Benning, Trevor Linden iteration of the Vancouver Canucks: they have the courage of their convictions and act boldly.
On Monday the Canucks placed defensemen Alex Biega, 27, and Frank Corrado, 22, as well as forward Linden Vey, 24, on waivers, the team announced. Corrado and Vey are extraordinarily young for players on the waiver wire, and likely have more upside than anyone else placed on waivers on Monday.
These decisions are notable for a variety of reasons. First of all, the club’s willingness to cut bait and run from Vey, a player whom they dealt a second-round draft pick for just 16 months ago, tells you that Benning and company have zero fear when it comes to admitting their mistakes and correcting course. That’s a very good and very rare trait for a modern NHL management team.
Secondly, the organization doesn’t have time for cutesy asset management maneuvers.
We saw that a few summers ago when the club opted not to qualify Jordan Schroeder and Zac Dalpe, and we’re seeing it again today. The club had the option of reassigning Ben Hutton, who doesn’t require waivers, to the Utica Comets temporarily, and then recalling him after Chris Higgins was placed on LTIR. That would’ve permitted the club to avoid exposing Frank Corrado to the waiver wire (where I’d wager he will be claimed).
Why the club decided to go in another direction is a bit of a mystery, but we’ll presumably find out more once Benning and company begin to address the media. One benefit though is that they can say to fans and to Ben Hutton directly: here you go kid, you made the team, without having to explain the CBA mechanics.
From my perspective this is all a bit reckless frankly. Even if you prefer Adam Cracknell to Vey, why expose assets – particularly young, affordable assets – needlessly to the waiver wire when you could’ve just cut Cracknell and Biega, both of whom would’ve made it through waivers for sure, and saved these tough decisions for another day? Depending on what you think of Corrado and Vey, placing them on waivers may strike you as only marginal decisions, but in a salary cap league that is essentially an efficiency competition, even marginal errors add up. To death by a million cuts.
While I think this is all a bit odd, I do have some admiration for the bold and decisive way the club operates. Cracknell won a spot and more properly fits in with their ideal of a fourth-line centreman than Vey does. So he’s made the team and they’ll live with the risk of Vey on waivers, never mind what they paid to acquire Vey at the 2014 NHL Draft. Hutton has showed enough to make the team, so they’re not going to temporarily reassign him so they can protect a guy like Corrado, whom Hutton beat out for a spot at camp.
There’s something simple and noble about that logic, even if it’s not the way I think a prudent NHL team should operate.