Open Letter: The Little Things

Dear Francesco,

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Congratulations on an outstanding start to the year! Our $6M goalie is playing like a $6M goalie, the Sedins continue to drink from the fountain of youth, and the young guys are playing better than any of us ever could have hoped for. Make no mistake about it, the first four games of the year have been a lot of fun. Hopefully, the good times keep rolling; even us critical fans still want the Canucks to be successful by just about any means necessary. 

However, as a co-owner of the team, I’m not without concern, and I’d like to have a chat. 

Of course, I suppose myself and the millions of other Canucks fans aren’t legal co-owners of the team, but it’s a mutually dependent relationship. You may call me a fan, a shortened form of fanatic (definitely an apt term for many of us in this market, am I right?), but the team only has value because us fans choose to fork over some of the highest ticket prices in the league for the privilege of watching our team play. In fact most of us can’t afford to get in the doors of Rogers Arena anymore, so we support the team by watching on Sportsnet, buying our Bo Horvat shirshey’s and whatever other collateral we can get our hands on. At the end of the day, a team’s value without its fans is sort of like a balloon without air. Maybe co-owners isn’t the right term for our relationship. Let’s go with business partner.

It’s not like I’ve hated every move this management group has made. They were right to get what they could for a rapidly deteriorating Kevin Bieksa. The Tanev, Weber, Baertschi, and Bartkowski signings all look pretty good, and they’ve picked up some nice players in the past couple drafts. Speaking of the draft, as a draft nerd I understand how rare it is for second round picks turn into NHLers, so I appreciate the process behind the Vey, Baertschi and Clendening trades, even though the end results are a bit of a mixed bag.

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However, as your business partner, I feel obligated to share some concerns with the way our team is being run. It seems to me that the new guys are playing a bit fast and loose with the company’s assets.

The first real eye opener for me was when they signed Derek Dorsett and Luca Sbisa to rich extensions last spring. It wasn’t so much that I dislike those players. The fact is that every team has a few guys that the analytics types aren’t fond of. The issue is that the team seemed to completely misread their market value in the backdrop of a dropping Canadian dollar, which was destined to lead to a flat salary cap. I mean, if a basement-dwelling blogger can see the writing on the wall as far back as last November, why can’t this highly paid executive team? I know what you’re going to say, an extra couple years and couple million dollars spent above the curve on our hard earned dollars isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things. It’s a little thing.

I could spend far too long discussing the Eddie Lack situation. Here is a guy who was so desperate for a chance at a starting spot he signed a 2 year, $2.75M AAV deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. In no world should Robin Lehner, Martin Jones, and Cam Talbot all command higher returns that what the Canucks received for Lack. Let’s not exaggerate, though. It is just the difference between draft a pick in the 20s and one in the 60s. It’s a little thing.

Then we had the Brandon Sutter trade and extension. I’m not going to argue the details of the trade itself. Obviously the Penguins thought the package they received was better than the package they gave up, and the Canucks believe the reverse to be true. What irks me is that management chose to sign him to a long-term deal, without playing a single game, on the basis that he would be a “foundational” center. I thought Henrik was our foundational center, for now anyway, and isn’t Horvat our foundation center of the future? With the stunning development of Jared McCann, Sutter is now playing out of position on the wing with the twins.  Maybe Sutter as a converted winger is exactly what the team needs, or maybe he’ll return to center after McCann plays his 9 games. However, from where we sit today it looks like he’s been outplayed by a couple of kids, and his long-term role with the Canucks may be in the bottom six. There’s nothing wrong with being a strong third line center, but if so we’re overpaying him for his services in both years and salary. Is it a huge deal? No. It’s just another little thing.

Then the Frank Corrado thing happened. Hey, I get it. Corrado got outplayed by Ben Hutton, and Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann earned roster spots too. When your team has three rookies play their way onto the roster, forcing management to make tough decisions, that’s a champagne problem, right Francesco? Plus, it’s not like Corrado is going to win the Norris anytime soon. But the thing is, we know what happens to the Canucks blue line over the course of a season. They get decimated. Over the past few season, the Canucks top 6 defensemen have averaged close to 80 missed games between them. Last year the team iced 10 different defensemen. The year before that? 11. With that fact pattern, it is critical you not only have defensive depth, but preferably cheap depth. Especially if you’ve made a few salary cap mistake.

So if you have the opportunity to protect an affordable player like Corrado, who Utica coach Travis Green chose to lead his team to the Calder Cup finals only a few months ago, while Hutton barely made the pre-game skate, you protect him. Even if he doesn’t turn out to reach his second pair ceiling that many, including myself, think he will, he’s cheap depth you’ll need sooner rather than later (side note: Welcome back Edler). Even the basement bloggers knew there was a way to keep Frank:

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Either they didn’t understand the intricacies of the waiver wire as well as a blogger, or they didn’t think anyone would claim him, or they didn’t care. Honestly, I’m not sure which scenario is more concerning. But hey, it’s just Frank Corrado, who has not won a Norris trophy. It’s just another little thing.

As a successful business leader, you’d know better than most, so maybe I should ask you. Do the people who help you run one of the most successful real estate development companies in North America make little mistake after little mistake?

I don’t know much about business, what with still living in my mom’s basement and all, but I would think that the most successful companies focus on getting it right every time, even if it is just the little things. Their likely position would be that if you can’t do the little things right, how can you be expected to do the big things right?

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An excellent executive team would have prided themselves on accurately predicting the consequences of a sliding Canadian dollar on the free agent market. They would have ensured the value they received for assets like Eddie Lack was market value, not below. They’d at least watch Brandon Sutter practice with his new teammates before backing up the money truck. And they damn well wouldn’t watch a 22-year-old defensemen with second pairing upside walk out the door for nothing when it could have been easily avoided.

Some may think what I’m asking for is unreasonable, but is it really unreasonable to expect excellence from the people who manage our team, Francesco? I would expect a successful guy like you would expect nothing less.

Your Friend,

Money Puck



  • Larionov18

    Corrado had to go. Why carry 8 dmen when they had the 8th guy rated 10th in depth. They tried to trade him and got no offers. Lack they wanted more but more was not offered. Canuck fans just simply over value their assets.

  • Graphic Comments

    I understand people’s propensity to micro-analyze every move management makes. It’s part of being a fan. But really, guys, this has been done to death.

    Let’s give it a rest for now, and pick up the conversation in mid-season when the brilliance / stupidity of these moves is a little clearer.

    • elvis15

      It’s certainly been talked about a lot, but then we keep seeing moves where we seem to lose just a little bit more than we should.

      -Garrison as a cap dump for a pick which we flipped for Vey
      -Kesler’s ‘forced hand’ return
      -Adding in a pick with Kassian
      -Lack being moved for minimal return
      -Clendening being thrown in along with Bonino
      -Corrado lost to waivers, the pricier Dorsett, Sbisa and Sutter extensions, etc., etc., etc.

      They all seem like little things individually – with reasonably good explanations even – but when they consistently keep happening and we also see some of those deals not quite turning out as planned, it’s easy to be critical.

      I like the direction and the honesty of Benning and Linden, I just don’t like losing a little each time in trades. Sometimes that’ll happen to get deals done; sometimes you can afford to wait and get a little more value back instead. It should be more of a balance of value versus outcome. Those extra assets might not do anything on your NHL roster, but they might also be the necessary pieces in another deal later one that adds to the puzzle.

      • birdie boy

        “They all seem like little things individually – with reasonably good explanations even”

        Well that’s just it. It’s hard to tell whether some of these deals make sense or not, particularly given that management has access to information that we don’t. This is why I suggested waiting till mid-season.

  • Larionov18

    Horse meets club, beating ensues. Horse dies. Club continues to hit horse. Club has higher corsi-for percentage than horse because it took more shots at horse than against (horse did not kick back at all). Canucks Army writes article that stands as love story for club beating dead horse.

    • I thought that finally you would have something positive to say…..

      BUT NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Still nothing but negativity.

      Do you really think that Canucks fan want to read you again and again thrashing the team??????

      Especially when they are on a roll. Maybe…… you can happily store your anger and wait for us to slump and then you can tell us all ” I told you so”….

      Are you sure you are a Canucks fan?????

  • RIP

    A bit overblown I think. Some moves work out some don’t (Prust, McCann, Tanev…). And remember hindsight is 20/20.

    I personally don’t mind paying Dorsett what we are, sure it is rich, but finding guys who will put their all on the line EVERY night is rare, not only that he has good hockey sense. I really think the stat heavy fans don’t get how important those energy, fore checking, work horses are.

    I don’t think Corrado had a second pairing upside, and remember you keep him he sits on the bench until those injuries catch up, frustrated watching Hutton play in his place. Sitting a guy at 22 who needs to be developing in his prime learning stage is very detrimental, we have seen it before. So sure maybe we could have a 6 or 7 D man sitting their collecting dust and frustration, but is that the best move? THey shopped him around 15 teams and no one would give a cent for him, so they took a risk, good on them (and better for Corrado as a player).

    If every knowledgeable fan gave Francesco “advice” the team would be moving in 100,000 different directions.

    Enjoy the good hockey we are getting once again!

  • Larionov18

    This article adds nothing new to the ongoing conversation between CanucksArmy writers and their audience. Everything in this article has been said and the timing makes it irrelevant. I hope it was gratifying to write, because it was a waste of time to read.

  • birdie boy

    Meanwhile overheard in a round table discussion at Canuck Army Headquarters:

    Hey guys I haven’t had an article get big comments or page views in a while, what should I do?

    Did you write about the Sbisa contract lately? Nope
    The Dorsett contract? No. The Miller contract, Lack Kassian or bad drafts? Ummm not for at least a week.

    Well we have a check list posted over there on the wall. Hit 3 of these topics we call Benning Blunders and you’re guaranteed high page hits and at least 30 comments.

    Sbisa contract
    Dorsett contract
    Miller contract (on hold until a bad game)
    Lack trade
    Kassian trade (on hold until he returns from rehab)
    Virtanen over Nyalander/Ehlers
    McCann over Ho Sang (on hold)
    MacKenzie Stewart
    Prust & Dorsett 4th line
    Choosing Miller over Lack
    Corrado on waivers

    But haven’t we beat these topics to death. I mean to death, I mean haven’t we covered these ad nauseum.

    Ya but if you don’t have an original thought in your head these are guaranteed to rile the masses and start a discussion getting page hits, thats all that matters.

    But aren’t most of the comments negative begging us to stop?

    Ya but who cares about quality or originality, comment counts and page hits are all that matter.

  • TrueBlue

    Meanwhile overheard in a round table discussion at Canuck Army Headquarters:

    Hey guys I haven’t had an article get big comments or page views in a while, what should I do?

    Did you write about the Sbisa contract lately? Nope
    The Dorsett contract? No. The Miller contract, Lack Kassian or bad drafts? Ummm not for at least a week.

    Well we have a check list posted over there on the wall. Hit 3 of these topics we call Benning Blunders and you’re guaranteed high page hits and at least 30 comments.

    Sbisa contract
    Dorsett contract
    Miller contract (on hold until a bad game)
    Lack trade
    Kassian trade (on hold until he returns from rehab)
    Virtanen over Nyalander/Ehlers
    McCann over Ho Sang (on hold)
    MacKenzie Stewart
    Prust & Dorsett 4th line
    Choosing Miller over Lack
    Corrado on waivers

    But haven’t we beat these topics to death. I mean to death, I mean haven’t we covered these ad nauseum.

    Ya but if you don’t have an original thought in your head these are guaranteed to rile the masses and start a discussion getting page hits, thats all that matters.

    But aren’t most of the comments negative begging us to stop?

    Ya but who cares about quality or originality, comment counts and page hits are all that matter.

    • For the record, we don’t disagree with the assertion that this piece doesn’t fit the present storylines. This is something Money Puck and I discussed before publishing.

      With that said, I felt that despite the timing being a little bit off on it, it was still something good to run. The idea isn’t to rip on each decision individually, one by one. While the items that we criticized throughout the offseason are points that are brought up, the piece is more about how consistent “bumps in the road” put you in a disadvantageous position.

      Even if the Canucks continue to have the success that they’ve had to start the year, a scenario which the fan sides of us all have our fingers crossed for, there still needs to be an expectation of attention to detail in every decision that is made. A move like the Corrado one, for example, could be one that the team begins to regret the second a defenceman makes a hard shot block and goes down with a mid-to-long term injury. The fact that this “little thing” happened just a few days ago implies that there’s still potential for these trickle-down errors to continue throughout the year.

      Something I’ve instilled in the staff is that we shouldn’t beat the same points down again and again. We’ve already scrapped a couple of pieces because we felt that they were scenarios that we’ve already visited, meaning that they’d serve no purpose other than to annoy readers. This post uses those scenarios as citations, rather than as topics, which is fairly different, and the reason we’ve run it.

      Ultimately, I appreciate the criticism. We’re always trying to make Canucks Army a blog that people of any perspective can enjoy. With that said, I just don’t think we’re on the same page in regards to this piece.

      • birdie boy

        Dude, I appreciate your feedback.

        That said if I wasn’t a lazy sob I bet I could find at least 5 articles this guy has written that mention Lack, Sbisa & Dorsett. Cumulatively I bet this site has well over a dozen. Likely closer to 2 dozen.

        I wrote my first complaint about this redundancy in early July. It’s September, the season has started and here we go again.

        I’m begging you please stop. I love the content here but the repeated mentioning of certain moves is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo done it hurts my brain.

        There is nothing you can say to convince me that money puck and pet bugs don’t need to move on.

        Just look how many other regulars are saying the same thing (a little more politely). Look how many up votes the negative comments are getting every time you guys do this.

        I’ve noticed you personally don’t go there as much and I like that but it’s time for the others to try a new tack.
        .

        • Waffles

          “I wrote my first complaint about this redundancy in early July. It’s September, the season has started and here we go again.”

          I have to admit that I noticed a change in this site around July as well. Then, this September, the narrative moved primarily from stats based articles to opinion pieces. I like PCS and I enjoyed the pivot to GAR when PCS was starting to get a little overused. This is why I come to this site.

          This site has primarily been a stats-based site and back in July I thought it was refreshing to see money puck write an article, “LAURENCE GILMAN, HOCKEY INNOVATION, AND THE FUTURE OF THE CANUCKS FRONT OFFICE”. This post received over 100 comments and was quite interesting/controversial. But then the opinion articles just kept coming with the negative tones and the stats-based articles began to dwindle. Was this a CA’s response to the mega hits to money puck’s article and CA decided to pivot? Maybe, but slowly the readers of CA began to sour as the narrative of the site shifted. This was compounded by leaving the comment section in tatters while trolls ruined any potential at a constructive discussion.

          A shift back to stats and a little more positivity could go a long way to regaining the readership. I like this site and I like the writers. I’m looking forward to see how CA addresses the concerns of its readers… or maybe we’re just the 1% ;).

          Occasional commenter, daily reader.

          Waffles

        • Vintage

          You guys have to be joking! Moneypuck is arguably the best blogger on this site and you guys just freak out over any negativity. Yes, he has consistently criticized the Sbisa and Dorsett deals. You know why? Because they are AWFUL. So bad, that if you are a passionate fan of your team, how can you not repeatedly beat that drum? With all of this youth panning out the way we all hoped, these awful deals are going to seriously hurt our chances moving forward. Having 10 million locked up with Dorsett, Sbisa and Sutter is utter garbage. Sutter is not a 2C. He is a 3C at best and I’m not yet convinced that he can even be a good 3C. WHY does JB need to lock him up long-term before seeing him play a single game in a Canucks uniform? On what basis is Sutter ‘foundational?’ He can’t pass, he can’t drive possession, he’s not skilled and he’s not physical. Maybe his character is worth 5 shmil?? Ask any Penguins fan, and they’ll tell you what Benning said about Sutter being a super physical guy is complete nonsense.

          I thought the readers of this site appreciated numbers. If you did, you would realize how bad all of these signings are. I, for one, hope these pieces continue and CA stays true to itself rather than appease the masses. Cheers to moneypuck!

          • Waffles

            It seems the point is going right by you and money puck and the editors.

            We know what CA thinks of the Sbisa contract, the Dorsett contract, the Miller contract, Benning’s draft picks, Benning’s trades. It ha been repeated so many times I lost count back in July.

            Whining, complaining, framing new ways to express it doesn’t change the facts nor does it add anything new to the discussion or make them it more interesting.

            Seriously, the Sbisa contract has been discussed and dissed so often on this site that not a single nuance of it’s awfulness could escape us.

            Those of us that have been regular readers for years GET IT!!! Is there no other topic that can be analyzed?

            The fact this writer and a couple others stretch facts to fit their negative diatribes is irritating enough. But searching for a dozen different ways to express it is infuriating. It actually boggles my mind Jeffler says he had to reject more. Good god!!!!

            If they really feel the need to question and criticize every move Benning makes thats fine. I haven’t loved every move he’s made either but there’s only so many times I need to hear about the same ones.

            Most of the readers here seem fairly intelligent, we don’t need to be told the same thing a dozen time to understand how they feel. That insults our intelligence.

          • Waffles

            Hear you but the point of the piece wasn’t to criticize the Sbisa deal, it was warranted because or the Sutter extension and the corrado waiving. We have all heard how bad the Sbisa and dorsett deals are, sure, but after the latest debacle that JB has pulled, as fans, we can reasonably start calling for Benning to be canned. And to do that, you have to include all of his missteps.

          • Waffles

            You are seriously suggesting that Benning should be fired in the second year of his job, after the team makes a significant improvement from the previous year in his first and there is the first sign in a long time of the rebuilding of a prospect and development pipeline while a reasonably competitive product is put on the ice? This is laughable. You can question lots of Benning and Linden’s moves but it’s too early to write them all off and idiotic to call for their heads at this point in time.

            Being optimistic about the state of the Canucks is not to be blindly loyal to their every more, any more than being pessimistic means you hate them. But I think being realistic and fair is the only way to really evaluate what’s going on and I just don’t get the unwillingness to look beyond results here. We are playing young players — there are 8 players under the age of 25 on the roster (Tanev, Sbisa, Markstrom, Horvat, Hutton, Virtanen, Baertschi and McCann). When was the last time we had such a proportion of youth? We have actually good players on the farm team, some who are near being ready. We have still solid top line players but they are aging. We have lost over the past summer the following — 2 x 7/8 defensemen (Corrado and Clendenning who I think are interchangeable with Hutton, Bartkowski and Weber), 1 x a backup goalie (Lack, who is still that in Carolina behind the corpse of Cam Ward no less), 1 x a 3rd line center (Bonino, who remains the same in Pittsburgh) and a number of unknown possibilities in draft picks we didn’t make. And for this people are losing their s***? Really?

            What is it that people want? The full tank? I still have no faith that it works. Look at tonight’s game between Buffalo and Florida. People are all ecstatic about the deplorable ways of Arizona and the Sabres to openly lose but I have yet to see them become dominant powerhouses. I look at that Sabres team and yeah they have Eichel and Kane and Reinhart and all those other prospects but they still look terrible. Florida on the other hand, despite the criticism Tallon’s taken for some of the signings (Thornton, Bolland) looks really good — it’s true they sucked enough to get Huberdeau and Barkov and especially Ekblad but they’ve surrounded them with guys like Mitchell and Campbell and Luongo and even Bolland and Thornton and look much more coherent. You can’t just expect to stockpile high draft picks and have it magically translate into a winning team. The new way of evaluating hockey is supposed to be about process, right? Well all I can say now is the PROCESS of the Benning-led Canucks looks a whole lot better than that which preceded it. Why don’t we give it more than a freaking year and a half to see if it pays off?

          • Waffles

            No, I’m losing my sh*t about 1) the Sbisa resigning, 2) the Dorsett resigning, 3) the Sutter resigning, 4) packaging Clendening (who I think can be a serviceable 5 or a 6 d-man) + a 2nd rounder w/ Sutter for a trade that I wouldn’t have done straight up, 5) getting awful value for Lack, and they refuse to trade him in-conference for better return even though they’ve deemed that he’s not the goalie of the future for us (clearly they have no confidence in their decision), 6) not understanding that we were not a good enough team to make a run at the Cup last year and thus not capitalizing off of our pending UFA’s by trading them at the deadline in a hot market, 7) waiving Corrado when a simple maneuver (Higgins IR) could’ve kept him in the pipeline. Benning has no perception of value. He sees what he likes and he goes and gets it. He must be a terrible negotiator.

            Out of the eight players ‘under 25’ that you listed, well, three of them are 25 (Markstrom, Sbisa, Tanev), but we will call it 25 and under. Out of those eight, Benning acquired Sbisa (yay), Virtanen, Baertschi and McCann. Excellent pick on McCann. I like the Baertschi trade (and for the record I don’t think he deserves to be treated as harshly as he is). Hate the Virtanen pick even though I like him as a player. It’s about relative value and I think he has glaring weaknesses in his game, unlike the other two you may have heard of on this site: Nylander and Ehlers. Both have star potential. Nylander is my guy, personally. Think he’s gonna be a star. And then he got Sbisa. And resigned him.

            Horvat – great pick by GMMG.
            Hutton – amazing pick by GMMG.
            Tanev – diamond in the rough found by GMMG.
            Markstrom – still some nice potential, acquired via GMMG himself.

            You’re raving about all these young guys like it’s Benning who has showed up and pulled them all out of his ass. Well, it’s really not. Let’s not forget we have Subban, Cassels and Shinkaruk coming up from GMMG era too. Gillis was brutal for drafting at the start of his tenure but perhaps he improved a lot by the end. Or just lucky. Who knows. But either way, GMMG is responsible for a lot of the talented youth that’s knocking on the door in VAN right now.

          • Waffles

            Again, I’m not disagreeing that there aren’t decisions I wouldn’t have made from my perch as an armchair GM. I didn’t like any of the Dorsett, Sutter or Sbisa signings, though I think we are seriously overvaluing what any of Lack, Corrado, Clendenning, and Bonino are worth either on this team or on another. And you’re right that Gillis drafted some of those youngsters, much like Nonis got us Luongo and Burke the twins and passed them along to the next management team. But I have serious doubts as to whether Gillis would have actually developed them well given his track record for tossing picks and prospects at plenty of complementary or terrible pieces himself (Ballard, Booth, Roy, Pahlsson, etc). We’ve been complaining forever that we need to start preparing not just in theory but in practice for the days that the Sedins retire. Playing them 30 minutes a game or relying on middle-of-the-road transitional players too much is never going to prepare those we think are actual prospects to see if they can make the jump. There’s a reason that Detroit is lauded for its developmental program — it’s because they keep the Nyquists and Tatars in the minors or low in the lineup for a long time while surrounding the Datsyuk’s and Zetterbergs with a mix of prospects and complementary parts. Blowing it up makes no sense, nor does hitting the panic button because you don’t like a bunch of the GM’s moves. I cannot remember a single GM whose moves I liked in total. And in the case of Benning there are a lot that I don’t understand — some of which might become clearer much down the road (we all read the treatment of Kassian as all about the reluctance to unleash him followed by a bizarre overpay in trade to get rid of him for a plug and even throwing in a pick; now that all becomes clearer so we shouldn’t act at as though we always know more than the actual professionals who manage these teams).

            You might be right about Nylander and Ehlers. And Nichushkin might end up better than Horvat, Pasternak better than McCann and so on. But there’s too much acting as though we KNOW that is the case — it isn’t. It’s way too early to tell. Just like it’s way too early to say that Benning and co are steering the ship on the wrong track. You’re repeating things as if they were certainties — we COULD have gotten better value for player x, y and z, we SHOULD have picked player a, b, and c at the draft, and basing your critique on an assumed potential outcome (rather than the fact that the Canucks markedly improved on the ice and in their prospect pipeline over the past two years).

      • I appreciate you taking the time to respond here. And I think if you might instill some of your writers with the same directness and honesty and a little less of the smugness and self-righteousness it might go a long way. I don’t disagree with questioning Benning — at all. I have thought about the deaths by a thousand cuts scenario myself; I’ve really wondered about the impact that the signing of mediocre players like Sbisa and Dorsett, the overpays for Sutter, Prust and the potentially underwhelming returns for Kesler and Lack might be in the long run. But taking even the intermediate view of a couple of years, the trends are not towards further diminishing our capacity (which was clearly the case under Gillis — I’d rather take a chance on a Vey or a Baertschi than on a Pahlsson) but rather on rebuilding slowly but steadily. By the time the Sedins come off the books or take more team friendly deals into retirement we should be in a situation where Horvat, Virtanen, McCann, Hutton, etc should have proven themselves enough that we can pay for their raises because Sbisa, Sutter, Dorsett, etc will also be done).

        I think you have to apply the same holistic logic to the environment and situation that Benning and Linden have created as the moves that we question — better prospect development, a competitive environment to learn and grow in, and some decent gambles along the way. And while many of us (myself included) have decried the waste of an asset in losing Corrado (who also has yet to play) I think at a human level I’m happier for him to have an opportunity in TO if he wasn’t going to have one here. At this point Corrado might have been surpassed by Pedan on the depth chart even for first call-up so I am not sure how much of a loss he’ll be.

        I really enjoy the CA site when you do some of the more analytics-based reviews of games or players or perhaps even strategies. The more personality driven pieces and the ones that seem repeat the same point again and again are much less effective. Perhaps if someone like money puck really wants to make this point they could do so by not simply recounting the moves and why they disagree with them but by looking at the outcomes a year or half a year or a month later. Hate the Kesler move? How do we compare what he has done to Sbisa, McCann and Bonino? Hate the Lack move? What has he produced for Carolina or Clendenning for Pittsburgh or Corrado for Toronto?

        I keep hearing the writers here warning how much we’ll regret a move (not drafting a particular player, signing another, trading for another) but at this point what specific move are we really losing sleep over? Third pairing defensemen? Backup goalies?

      • Not Dressed For Tonight's Game

        We are not on the same page. I am done with this site, I will read Thomas Drance on Sportsnet and Carol Shram on Hockeybuzz. Goodbye!

  • Larionov18

    Why the f**k I keep giving you page hits for regurgitating the same crap I don’t know but just know, you suck.

    Alas I really only have myself to blame…oh and the editors for allowing this crap to continue.

  • Dirty30

    If I’m FA, I’m probably wondering, since the management team I hired has:

    a) the prospect pool improved?
    b) has the on-ice product improved in terms of entertainment?
    c) is fan interest on the rise?
    d) is the team competitive on the ice?

    You’d also probably want to take the long view rather than the short on any of those. All four of those were clearly on the decline 2012-2014 (especially a and b) and the trend line in all of them is upwards (with the possible exception of d). I’m also not crazy about some of these moves but given that these are professionals with a lot more data at their fingertips to draw from than me. You can whine about bloggers-in-the-basement all you want but at the end of the day not a single one of the Benning moves strike me as disastrous in the way that Boston getting rid of two truly foundational players (in Seguin and Hamilton) has been or Toronto signing Clarkson or many others.

    When you keep repeating these same messages over and over and over again it’s not only boring, it makes me think that you actually want the Canucks prospects not to pan out, their signings to be crap, and their trades to wash out as well just to prove your sanctimonious points. You’re not a lonely oracle preaching wisdom to the blind. Get over yourself.

    Or maybe some of the other commentators were right all along and NM00 was just CA writers trolling us all along. Because the tone and tone-deafness of some of these posts recall that dearly departed avatar’s manner.

  • birdie boy

    Well written. You raised some valid points which I for one agree with. The Sutter extension could have been done mid year. Even if Corrado was tenth in depth, he still had value. Lack was good value for the Canes. Benning said the east doesn’t know our players, which is probably true. AS a Canucks fan I probably overvalue our assets, but still. The return for Lack was underwhelming. Mathias and Corrado brought no return. Forsling for Clandening. Vey. Sbisa. Some of these have not worked out as well as hoped. Benning I think is excellent at drafting . Not so good at scouting players already playing the game, unless he relies on others, like Willie wanting certain guys on the team.

    The Canucks are off to great start. If our record was reversed, all these things would blow up Lindens Twitter account. Overall I give Benning a B+. He makes a decision and stands by it. I like that. Francesco gets an A. A good owner spends to the Cap and lets his staff do their job. Getting rid of Torts and Gillis cost him a bundle. He puts his money where his mouth is. I like that. Willie gets a B+. Linden is just ok. Not sure what he does all day. Maybe more of a public relations guy. As said, a great start to the season. All is well. Me happy.

  • Other than the amount of the Sbisa contract (although he seems have made a step forward this year), I don’t have a problem with Benning’s moves or his explanations.

    Corrado had hit a flat spot in is development. He needed to play more to develop more. He wasn’t going to play in Vancouver; he wasn’t even going to be the first (or even second) option in the case of blueline injuries. When Higgins comes back he would have had to go on waivers anyway. He hasn’t been able to crack the leafs lineup yet. The LEAFS! (sorry for the emphasis Jeffler)

    I think its pretty clear that Benning puts a lot more stock in character or intangibles than the analytics-based blogger group on this site. And to be honest, so do I.

    I don’t think that analytics are useless, but I think there are serious covariance issues when you try to apply analytics to individual players in hockey (and WOWY doesn’t resolve this).

  • Larionov18

    All of your arguments hinge on one crucial factor: player evaluation.

    You think Sbisa and Dorsett are bad players without a role on this team. You think Eddie Lack is better than Lehner, Jones and Talbot. You think Sutter is a mediocre bottom six player. You think Corrado has second pairing upside.

    But all that matters in this debate is 1) Benning’s evaluation of those same players, and 2) other GM’s evaluation of those same players.

    If other GM’s don’t think Lack is the best of those four goalies, your argument about the return in the trade is moot – he isn’t worth more than a third rounder if no one will give you more than a third rounder. The Canucks goalie situation in the past few years has actually been a great boon to the organization – they have gotten Markstrom, Matthias, Horvat, and third and seventh round draft picks out of our ‘goalie factory’ (thanks Melanson!)

    The Dorsett, Sbisa and Sutter contracts remain to be assessed; so far, though, all three players are fitting in well on a team that is 3-0-1 to start the year. In Sbisa, Benning clearly sees something worthwhile, so don’t pass judgement just yet – he happens to be young and our most (only?) physical defenseman, which is not without value.

    As for Corrado, maybe you think he has second pairing upside, but if Benning is confident that his upside is third pairing, he essentially goes from being a valuable asset to replacement-level. Who knows – maybe there is more to player evaluation than corsi?

  • Dirty30

    Just like an NHL team, the most successful businesses develop their own leaders. Going out and grabbing expensive free agents with established track records is not scalable, and will usually result in shrinking margins and a potentially unstable company. Look at the 90s New York Rangers or Toronto Maple Leafs for evidence of this in hockey.

    In my own business experience, I’ve learned that it’s almost always better to find someone with potential and nurture them into a leader than it is to try and poach an experienced person who will try to dictate their own terms. If you take this approach though, you have to be willing to tolerate the odd mistake made by someone who is doing the job for the first time.

    When the Canucks put this group in place, they hired a first-time executive in Trevor Linden, a first-time GM in Jim Benning and a first-time head coach in Willie Desjardins. Their bet was that this group would do great work for them once they had some time to learn the ropes – they were making an investment in them for the long-term. If they wanted a mistake-free environment they would have hired a safe-bet GM like a Doug Armstrong or a David Poile.

    Here’s the other thing: besides the fact that these guys are all still learning on the job, making small mistakes in the NHL is actually a calling card for potential success as a GM. That mighte sound crazy, but In order to achieve the ultimate goal (i.e. winning the Stanley Cup), risks must be taken. If you make the safe move every time (like St Louis and Nashville traditionally have, hence the reference to their GMs), you’ll probably be decent but fruitless for many years. If you take risks, and win more of your bets than you lose, you have a much better shot at winning it all.

  • …and the wheels keeping going round and round and round again. Nothing new here, nothing new to see or read… We all get it! You hate this management team b/c they can’t see how brilliant all your stats are. They just keep trying to improve the team the old fashioned way – on the ice… and it seems to be working which must drive you crazy. Keep badgering and belabouring the point though, I’m sure the CA wonks will continue to cheer you on using the same old cheers.

  • Not Dressed For Tonight's Game

    Another derivative, management bashing article. If you have nothing new to say, shut up, instead of restating your opinion again and again. As to the specifics of your concers about money. No economist or analyst at the time the deals for Dorsett and Sbisa were done knew what would happen to the economy and the salary cap. In fact the government budget, late spring projected a dollar in the 90 tp 95 cent range, so stop pretending you knew it was a bad deal undrr the cap. Now the trades. Sutter is and always has been statistically superior to Bonino. Clendenning was not going to make the club and took up a contract spot (remember the fear articles that CA did about not having a contract for Subban. Corrado also had one series and that is it. He will not make even the Toronto team. He looks to play out as a six or seven dman and he will only get to play if he plays a lot in the minors.

  • SuddenlySedinery

    My issue with this post isn’t, as others have stated, the mind-numbing beat-the-dead-horse (which is super apparent) rant, the complete and seething hatred clearly displayed for Benning, nor the absolutely head-scratching timing — save this for a 3 game losing streak, next time, c’mon… Editorial 101.

    No; it’s the total, utter and juvenille whiff of a “we’re co-owners” and “business partners” subtext. This is the kind of crap a bad business owner tries to sell to their customer base when they’ve screwed up, and you’re actually buying into it!

    For the record… No, you’re not, we’re not, anything like that. We’re the loud, whiny, MINORITY CUSTOMER. Frankly, the Canucks would probably rather us, and folks like us, go whine, moan and follow another team. We’re not their primary demographic or biggest spenders (unless one of the writers is a CMO of a sponsor and I’m not aware of it), and we help create an echo chamber in the press, and amongst other nerdfans, who overvalue us and our real contribution to the whole of the fan/customer base. We’re the 1%, here, folks, not the 99%, so let’s back off our high horses when writing Open Letters to the owner of a hockey team, mmkay?

  • TrueBlue

    Wow… I know we’re all a bit high-strung from an intense off-season and now ramped up by a wildly successful start, but geez… this is a lot of negativity for a fairly benign article. For the most part, I thought it was well-worded and well-written. A more level-headed take on ‘how we got to now’. That it’s great we’re doing well, but let’s make sure we’re being smart going forward.

    Personally, I like a little diversity & perspective in the articles. I would hope for the same thing in reverse if the team hits a bit of a slump as the season progresses. It doesn’t all have to be sunshine & lollipops any more than it has to be dark clouds &… uhhh… other… bad things…

  • birdie boy

    They would have ensured the value they received for assets like Eddie Lack was market value, not below.

    The price for which a commodity is exchanged is market value, by definition. Market value is definitely not some hypothetical value based on one person’s opinion. So you’re wrong there. And you’re also wrong vis-a-vis your take on Frankie Corrado and asset management.

    First, when it comes to the organization’s evaluation of Corrado, “they just weren’t that into him” (to quote a phrase). As we’ve learned, they had him spotted as the 10th D on the depth chart. That meant that even if he was in Vancouver (via waiver wire machinations), he still would not have been first (or even 2nd) choice as an injury replacement. If the kid isn’t playing, his abilities are declining and his chance of ever getting good enough to play in the NHL is steadily decreasing. And you would call doing something that decreases the value of your assets “good asset management?”

    I’m not saying the Benning and Linden are perfect but they actually do have the advantage of knowing everything that’s going on behind the scenes. We simply do not.