Why I Can’t Embrace the Tank

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

To paraphrase the 2006 pop hit by the Scissor Sisters, “I don’t feel like tankin’, no sir, no tankin’ today.”

There’s a popular train of thought among Canucks fans these days that the team’s best course of action this season is to aim for a last-place finish in the standings and a chance to draft the NHL’s next potential superstar, Auston Matthews.

This is not an idea I can support. I believe the logic behind tanking is flawed and that the price tag attached to finishing 30th overall is far too high to justify the potential benefits.

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Emotionally, the idea of rooting for my home team to lose game after game is too demoralizing for me to accept. The Canucks franchise didn’t have to try to be terrible for most of the first two decades of its existence. In the second year of operation, 1971-72, Vancouver led the NHL with 50 losses in 78 games—nearly two losses for every three games played.

The organization lurched along until Pat Quinn joined the team as president and general manager for the 1987-88 season. The former Canucks defenseman had proven himself as a coach, winning the Jack Adams award and guiding the Philadelphia Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final in 1980. He decided to try his hand at the management side of the game in Vancouver.

Quinn guided the Canucks to the franchise’s first-ever period of sustained success. He brought in iconic stars like Trevor Linden, Pavel Bure and Kirk McLean and, after stepping behind the bench as head coach with 26 games remaining in the 1990-91 season, got the Canucks within one game of winning the 1994 Stanley Cup against the New York Rangers.

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The excitement over the team’s upward trajectory in the early 90s convinced my father that the time was right to spring for season tickets. My family jumped on board in October of 1992, just in time to watch Pavel Bure’s back-to-back 60-goal years and enjoy a front-row view, literally, of the 1994 Stanley Cup run.

The top two moments of our season-ticket time are part of the Canucks’ enduring iconography.

That’s me just behind Trevor Linden’s left shoulder in the fourth picture of this collection from 604 Now, where Linden skates the Clarence Campbell Bowl around the Pacific Coliseum after the Canucks knocked off the Toronto Maple Leafs in triple overtime. My mom’s a bit of a blur just above the blade of Trev’s stick in the fifth photo, where a bloody Linden embraces Kirk McLean after their Game 6 win over the Rangers in the final.

When I look at those pictures, the memories flood back—of the out-of-the-blue first-round comeback against the Calgary Flames, of the battles against the Dallas Stars and the Maple Leafs and of Kirk McLean’s 52-save performance that allowed the Canucks to steal Game 1 of the final in overtime at Madison Square Garden.

It was heartbreaking to come so close, but fail to win it all. Nevertheless, optimism ruled for the next couple of seasons. The Canucks’ core was intact and the team was moving into its new downtown arena—onward and upward!

The momentum stalled, first, because of the lockout that limited the 1994-95 season to just 48 games, then due to Bure’s serious knee injury early in the 1995-96 season. By November of 1997, Quinn had been fired and the team was collapsing in a hurry.

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By that point, the front-row view wasn’t nearly as appealing. We gave up the tickets after the 23-47-12 season in 1998-89, when Bure sat out until he was traded to the Florida Panthers in January and the team finished 26th out of 27 teams with just 58 points.

According to the Canucks’ website, attendance at Rogers Arena bottomed out that season on November 9, 1998, when just 13,906 fans showed up to watch the Canucks lose 4-3 to the Los Angeles Kings. The atmosphere at the arena had become so lifeless and depressing by that point that even my favourite game of “get excited about watching the other team’s star players” was starting to lose its lustre.

By the time we signed off as season-ticket holders, the Canucks had already accumulated some important puzzle-pieces for their West Coast Express-era resurgence—Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, Ed Jovanovski, general manager Brian Burke, coach Marc Crawford, and the draft picks that would eventually be bundled up by Burke, along with defenseman Bryan McCabe, to draft Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Even with those positives, it would take 12 years after the twins were drafted for the Canucks to return to the Stanley Cup Final—and Burke couldn’t make history repeat itself when he tried to undertake a similar bold rebuild in Toronto with the Maple Leafs…

Though there’s compelling evidence to the contrary, I remain convinced that tanking is a dodgy exercise at best. 

The most successful modern example is the Chicago Blackhawks, who were able to build a winner on the backs of first-overall pick Patrick Kane, third-overall Jonathan Toews and 14th-overall Brent Seabrook while those stars were still young. The Blackhawks’ championship core also includes a number of players who didn’t come to the team through high draft choices—gems like Duncan Keith (drafted 54th in 2002), Niklas Hjalmarsson (drafted 108th in 2005), Patrick Sharp (a third-round pick who was acquired by trade in 2005) and Marian Hossa (signed to a 12-year contract as an unrestricted free agent in 2009).

At the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got the Edmonton Oilers—maybe close to their first playoff appearance in a decade even though they’ve had four first-overall picks in the last six years, as well as a heap of other high draft choices.

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The Oilers remain the cautionary tale—that it takes more for a team to succeed than simply collecting the most talented players available at the top of the draft year after year.

While the Oilers scrape and claw their way to the playoff fringes in an awful division after years of heartache, the Dallas Stars have developed into the NHL’s top team this season without leaning heavily on their own high draft picks. Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza were both chosen second overall, but they were acquired through savvy trading and have stepped up their games since joining the Dallas organization. Just as importantly, Jamie Benn has turned into the latest poster child for how elite players can be found anywhere in the draft—a fifth-round pick out of the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies who is showing this season that he might be the NHL’s best power forward.

The Stars have turned around quickly since new owner Tom Gaglardi took over in November of 2011. He has hired good people, empowered them to make bold decisions and proved been willing to spend the necessary money to create a winner and rebuild the Stars brand. That’s the business model I would like to see the Canucks emulate.

Vancouver has a chance to be successful with its on-the-fly rebuild. The team already has a number of promising young forwards in its system, and a terrific-looking goaltending prospect in Thatcher Demko. The biggest need is for a stud defenseman—and since blueliners typically take longer to develop than forwards, that player should be older than the Horvat/McCann/Virtanen/Boeser group, not younger. With any luck, Jim Benning can be the man who solves another team’s salary-cap woes this summer by taking a blueliner off their hands. Daring to dream, Jacob Trouba of Winnipeg would be just the right age and might be too expensive for the Jets to re-sign as a restricted free agent this summer…

Here’s my least-emotional, most-rational reason why tanking is a bad idea for the Canucks. Even if you believe that the talent of an Auston Matthews is on par with someone like Connor McDavid and that the Canucks need an elite No. 1 center to replace Henrik Sedin when he retires, the new draft lottery rules for 2016 dictate that the team finishing 30th overall will only have a 20 percent chance of receiving the first pick. 

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Any non-playoff team can win any of the first three spots, so a 30th-place finish could mean a pick as low as fourth overall for a tanking team that gets unlucky this year. If I’m betting on the Canucks my wager is that if they do ever do finish 30th, the ping-pong balls will not be falling their way.

In the short term, it’s less painful for fans to watch a team that has a chance to win every night. I don’t mind the idea—especially in this year’s bottom-feeding Pacific Division—that the Canucks should still shoot for the postseason and try to catch lightning in a bottle. I want to see what lessons were learned after last year’s postseason debacle against Calgary, I think it would be a good experience for the team’s current group of youngsters and, done properly, I think a team in the salary-cap era can successfully build out its roster without necessarily relying solely high draft picks.

I’m impatient. I want the Canucks to be really good again in two years, not 10 years.

  • TrueBlue

    Happy holidays Carol. I agree 100%.

    A rebuild on the fly can work with the right mix of players. 30% veterans, 40% players in their prime, and 30% youth. With smart drafting and player development, adding the right free agents and utilizing assets, a winner can be built.

    Leave the tanking to the Oilers.

  • The_Blueline

    If we need to do the seemingly never-ending Oilers tank, just to get where they are now, which is, while still improved, near the basement yet again, count me out! Good God! After the four 1st overall picks in the last 6 years, plus the plethora of other high picks over the last dozen years or so (I lost count), as you point out, and STILL having to dream of next year? How depressing! Would we also have to listen to some McTavish clone telling us “this season will be different” for the umpteenth time? I think I’d have to hope for a Seattle franchise to happen so I could cheer for SOMEONE! As a long time Canuck fan I used to be able to accept the usually sub mediocre teams Vancouver iced. Since Bure and co., then the West Coast express and now the Sedins, I have come to expect much more than mediocre, let alone bottom five, especially if that was intentional.

  • Canuck4Life20

    Good article Carol. Do not necessarily agree with you though. My idea of tanking is to not have a push for playoffs by adding players via trade, in last part of season. Would love to see us get a Top5 pick in draft. The players we have on roster & in system need opportunity to gel together as a team. This may take a season or 2, but stop gap measures need not to be taken.

    Certain current players who are not going to contribute/help out in this retooling process need to be moved along(ie:Higgins). The signing of FA’s in off-season will help out if Bennington can get players in the 24-28 year range. A player such as Trouba, as you mentioned May be available through trade at TDL. But we can not mortgage the future & eat up all available cap space for one player.

    I have faith in this Management team to make the right decisions to retool this team via draft key trades for a defenseman and appropriate Free Agent signings.

  • TrueBlue

    People who embrace the tank have no imagination and can’t even bother to do any homework. Look at one of the hot commodities: Travis Hamonic. Second round pick, already logging 20+ minutes in 60+ games at the age of 20. Going back further: Shea Weber. Second round pick, playing by age of 20, taking a regular roster spot by 21. Both players were available without needing to tank. Good scouting will land you good players and you’ll get even better players with good development (e.g. Detroit, LA).

    • Canuck4Life20

      Boston. You don’t have to look back too far at all. And yes they had Seguin, but he didn’t even play in the finals.

      Detroit in 2008, Anaheim in 2007, I’m sure there’s more.

        • Canuck4Life20

          The fact that Seguin was on the roster had no impact on Boston winning the Cup and the 2nd pick that landed him was acquired via a trade. Pronger was drafted 2nd overall by the Hartford Whalers and was on his 4th team in Anaheim after being traded from the Oilers. Both players are perfect examples of how you can obtain top tier talent without tanking.

  • Carol Schram

    Let’s stop calling it tanking and call it what it really is, quitting.

    To purposefully quit or support quitters says a lot about your character.

    A lot of this falls on the league, they need to make even more changes to the draft system to reward teams that have people’s respect…..

  • Canuck4Life20

    I couldn’t agree more and it’s really cool that you got to see some of the great Canucks moments in the 90’s first hand. I could only dream of getting to see a game in person up in Northern BC. Knowing your roots makes your opinion a lot stronger to me than most of the writers on this site.

    • Carol Schram

      Thanks, much appreciated!

      I like the whole vibe around Vancouver so much better when the team is winning—when more people care and I can have casual conversations about the Canucks with everyone from the barista at Starbucks to the check-out clerk at the grocery store.

      The ’94 and 2011 cup runs were both incredible. I hope the team can spark the emotion that generates that type of enthusiasm before too much more time has passed.

  • Canuck4Life20

    Also keep in mind that the futile multi-year tanking, of the sort practiced by the clubs that foolishly bought into the “Summer of Analytics”, risks something much more than a mere five or ten year absence from the playoffs. With a weakened Canadian dollar, average attendance in the 13,000s over several would probably lead to the franchise being moved.

    Do the tankers really want to cost Vancouver it’s NHL franchise?

    I suspect they do. (As they are mainly pathetic Leaf and Oiler fans.)

    That’s why I advocate offering a friendly session or two at a good old-fashioned hands-on hockey fighting clinic to anyone you hear discussing tanking.

    Facepunching is always the solution.

  • TrueBlue

    You make some good points — especially a first-hand example of how ticket holders can only tolerate so much before having to throw in the towel after watching a poor product on the ice for too long. Losing revenue and having your customer base shrink are serious business concerns. I was a kid by the radio during the time you were in the stands, and I’ve never really been in that echelon of revenue-generating fan. So I guess that’s my disclaimer before continuing, because technically I’m probably not a fan they care about as much.

    But what Pat Quinn pulled off back then was not only amazingly good management, but also kinda resembled the returns from a tank. He systematically started cleaning out the old guard, trading Patrik Sundstrom and Richard Brodeur and finishing 2nd last in the league, one position worse than the year before. This ended up being of paramount importance since it was the difference between drafting Linden or Curtis Leschyshyn (sadly we didn’t get to draft the 3rd overall pick in 1987 as it was part of the previous regime’s Barry Pederson trade, a move that was supposed to accelerate the Canucks’ ascent from the basement).

    Over the next 2 years, Quinn kept on moving out popular “premium value” vets, shipping out Tony Tanti, Petri Skriko, Harold Snepts, Rich Sutter, and Garth Butcher for picks and prospects. We finished 8th last in his second year (unfortunately picking Jason Herter) and 2nd last again in his third year (taking Nedved). In 1990-1991 we finished 7th last and once again didn’t get much immediate help from Alex Stojanov, but at least that would pay off later.

    It wasn’t until 91-92 that we finally had a team that could start to compete, which kinda coincides with your season ticket timeline.

    Now I agree that acquiring a large stable of picks and prospects isn’t a guaranteed recipe for success because you have to draft, scout, and develop players effectively to turn those seeds into a field of crops, but that era of the Canucks would not have existed without Quinn’s proper deployment of the tank. And had we drafted better in the first rounds of the non-Trevor Linden years, maybe the straw would have broken Mark Messier’s back instead.

    • Carol Schram

      Thanks. You’re right about the bold moves that Quinn made to build that ’94 team—and about his horrible choices with first-round draft picks.

      I would argue, though, that the tank had basically already occurred by the time Quinn arrived. Quinn wasn’t only acquiring raw young talent, and the team started to turn around pretty quickly after his arrival.

      For example, Quinn traded for veteran defenseman Paul Reinhart in September of 1988, the first true power-play quarterback in team history and a player that was instrumental in getting the Canucks to Game 7 of the first round in 1989 against Calgary, who went on to win the Cup. That was already a huge step forward from what the team had accomplished in the years before Quinn arrived.

      Reinhart’s contribution tends to get overlooked because he was in Vancouver for such a short time and retired young due to back problems, but he was an immediate difference-maker. The team could use a guy like him right now!

      • TrueBlue

        Yes, very true. I had checked the Canucks’ trade history before originally commenting to make sure I wasn’t distorting the facts, and I noticed quite a few moves that appear pretty similar to Linden/Benning’s “rebuild on the fly”: trading a 2nd round pick for Lumme (24), acquiring Dana Murzyn (24) along with bringing in younger vets like Reinhart (28)/Diduck (25) to round out the roster and replace the ones he shipped out. I was going to add a side-note in the first comment, but thought it would be a bit “cool story bro”.

        So I’d agree the tank was already in-progress before Quinn signed on, but he didn’t inherit a lot of the returns you’d expect from a tank. It wasn’t like a Buffalo situation where Bylsma/Murray inherited a team with a lot of prospects and picks. Best comparison I can think of in today’s NHL is that the Canucks were in a similar situation to the Leafs: mired in what felt like a perpetual rebuild, no immediate fix on the horizon, and in need of a new direction to finally turn things around.

        I don’t think the 1994 team feels like it was built on tanking because most of our top draft picks didn’t make an impact outside of Linden and Nedved (and Bure feeling like found money) by the time we hit the finals. Not even a knock against Quinn because he was able to make huge, franchise-altering acquisitions with the assets he did have. It’s sort of the opposite situation we have now in Benning, with popular opinion and early results pointing to a solid draft record and less strength in trading (depending on who you ask).

        Part of my thought process on tanking for picks & prospects — which in my mind isn’t purposely losing so much as it is keeping a shell of vets while acquiring as many prospect/picks assets as possible using marketable older assets — is that it would maximize Benning’s strengths. I don’t see him robbing Columbus in a trade for Johansen, and I don’t want to overpay for him. If it was Quinn.. sure, go for it. With Benning, let’s load up on picks while his regime is making them. Whether he’s here for the long term or not, picks made in the Benning era look to have a good shot at helping the franchise.

        Anyways, we don’t have to stink up the joint like Buffalo did to finish in the bottom 5. We can build a team capable of competing every night. They just have to consistently drop a bunch points due to the learning curve associated with fielding a younger, less-experienced team.

  • TrueBlue

    I agree 10000%…

    Fact is that the young guys, Horvat/McCann/Hutton/Sven will all benefit from struggling for a playoff spot. They have been playing above their slots because of injuries and will be better come playoff time.

    I just don’t see how trading guys, sending others to Junior or AHL in order to lose helps anyone’s development.kings limped into the playoffs a few years back and won the whole thing. Markstrom could end up taking reigns in this time and we get Sutter/Sbisa back and things begin to look positive. Until then, the young guys need to bring it every night and learn how to win in the NHL.

    Winning is a learned behavior, talent alone doesn’t win.

  • Canuck4Life20

    “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley

    Losing sucks. Unfortunately the 2015-2016 Canucks team are a sub par team by any metric (other than Pacific Division standings and losing on overtime.)

    Even if they make the playoffs, they don’t stack up well against the Kings, so a deep run is unlikely.

    IMO, if you’re not legitimately one of the ten best teams in the league by game 41 it’s time to start selling your UFAs.

    For five or six years there, we were blessed with one of the best teams in the NHL and one of the best Canucks squads in team history. But one of the main reasons they got there was because they were an incredibly bad team in the late nineties.

    Tank or no tank, I think it’s important to enjoy the games, cheer for the wins, the bone crushing hits, big goals, amazing saves, watching the young guys develop and when they lose, at least recognize that it’s not the end of the world, that it could bear the silver lining of drafting a potential superstar.

    “Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” – Robert T. Kiyosaki

  • andyg

    You don’t have to cheer the Canucks on to lose. We all want the kids to be pushed to win each night and as fans we will be excited about a win. What we do not want is for the team to be trading away draft picks or prospects for a quick fix.(short term deals)

    I will not even be upset if they do not move out the UFA.s for picks. If we are in a playoff hunt then they stay and we will gain their cap space in the summer. As fans all we need to do is role with the punches. Support the team win or lose as long as they are doing the rebuild the right way.

    If they make the playoffs then we support the team and if we miss then we get excited about the draft.

    I will bet you that there is not one fan who is pushing the tank idea that will boycott the team if they make the playoffs.

  • TrueBlue

    As the team is right now, the Canucks may finish last or close to last just because of the numerous injuries to veterans that keep piling up. We just called up ASHTON SAUTNER.

    Tanker may get their wish, but it won’t be intentional. Just a by-product of really bad luck. However, if Henrik, Sutter, Sbisa, Hamhuis, and Miller come back healthy and ready to perform, who’s to say that the young players won’t be more ready come playoff time. Bo and Sven have looked like a second line. McCann has shown he can produce with skilled players. This unfortunate string of injuries may just turn out to make this team better equipped for the playoffs.

  • Reid755

    Carol your the best!

    It’s so refreshing to hear somebody come out in support of the franchise trying to win games. (That ironic)

    I’m of the opinion that because Toronto is rebuilding and Edmonton lucked out on McDavid, that now “tanking” has become the trendy thing to do. Once those teams get back to repectable levels, you can guarantee none of their fanbase or media will ever want to finish last again, and “sustainability” will become the new trend.

    • Reid755

      yep, another good write up by CS.

      There is something messed up with a team trying to tank or lose with an eye on picking one or two specific players. If it doesn’t work out, the disappointment just drags on.

      There are some veterans I’d like to see moved and have some guys from Utica get a shot. While I can see an overhaul, I don’t want young players put into roles they aren’t ready for or players stuck in a losing environment.

      Hoping JB can pull off the rebuild on the fly.

  • andyg

    Totally agree with you. The reality is, if the team drafts well, they can turn things around regardless of their draft position. High end players are continually drafted between 14 and 27 in the draft. I would rather see them go for it and draft well rather then see them put all their hopes in a #1 draft pick.

    If the draft poorly, they’ll be in bad shape but if Benning continues make quality picks, things look good.

  • Reid755

    A few of thoughts from a first time commenter …

    I must be an atypical Canuck follower. I’ll confess to not watching them much the last few years. However, the influx of kids has piqued my interest in seeing how they do. I’ve probably watched more Canuck hockey so far this season than the past 2-3 years combined.

    Personally and selfishly, I’m okay with the declining interest as that means demand for tickets has been reduced to the point where it is actually affordable to attend a game or two in person. (I said personally and selfishly because I acknowledge the negative effects the dip in interest has on the team’s revenues and the like.)

    I’ve accepted the current iteration of the Canucks for what they are and my expectations reflect this. I want to see the kids develop and the team continue to acquire and develop more prospects. If that means shipping out some vets on expiring contracts or contracts with not much term left at the deadline, I’m okay with that. I’m sure their on ice contributions can be replaced through moderately priced FAs on short term contracts in the off season. (What I am suggesting in this regard is something similar to what TO did this past off season.)

    Benning’s spending on contracts makes me a little nervous. I’m fearful that he’s going to sign some FA like Lucic for stupid money in the off season. I am very much hoping that LA resigns him to remove that possibility.

    Lastly, I do not think that tanking is a guaranteed strategy. I think the team should try to do as well as they can and realistically and critically assess their chances as the deadline approaches. If they determine that chances are they will not make the playoffs then they should be sellers.

  • The_Blueline

    I think a lot of people like to assume things and then go on write about them. The Canucks will not tank and that has been repeated over and over. Most athletes will not tank because that hurts their value – I can’t imagine any player not doing what he can to improve personal stats when possible. The #1 focus for most players is the money and their next contract.

    The Canucks management can cause a tank by dealing all vets but that won’t be possible because the guys making the engine go have no movement clauses. The Sedins aren’t going to move anytime soon. They have shown the ability to put a team on their back and do OK.

    What I’d like to see is some effort made by the Canucks but also deal vets on expiring contracts at the deadline. So, Prust, Vrbata, Hamhuis, Weber, Bartkowski etc can all be dealt. I’d like to see Higgins go too. That leaves the Sedins, Burrows, Sutter, Edler, Tanev, Dorsett and so on. Lots of vets still around and they can teach the kids.

    You don’t have to deal for picks. Prospects are also fine or very young NHLers.

    I can see the team deal most of the vets on expiring contracts but who knows. The current team would probably be similar to the team without those vets on expiring contracts. There’d be a drop but I am willing to live with that because the Canucks are not contending for the Cup…or even getting to round 2 of the playoffs anytime soon.

  • The_Blueline

    Great article. Tanking goes against everything I want to see in my team. I have no problem seeing the Canucks struggling for a few years during the rebuild. But I want to see them trying to win every game, with whatever team they have.

    Also, I do not think not trading pending UFAs would be bad as long as they are in the Playoff run. Fighting for a playoff spot is good for the development of the young guys. What should be avoided by any means is acquiring players in a desperate attempt to make the playoffs (and then lose in first round).

  • Fortitude00

    Great article, especially since you’ve done such a nice job of reaffirming why for a fan it might seem kind of pointless to cheer for futility in hopes of a long-term turnaround.

    I also would love to see more of a solid definition of what people mean by ‘tank.’ Edmonton, the Leafs or Florida are not examples of a tank — they were just terribly mismanaged, with awful signings of free agents or resigning of their own players for way too much or horrible draft choices. And this incompetence continues for year after year — it seems apparent that the Leafs are on the right track now, with a good development plan (keeping Nylander and Marner down this year for example) and some far better choices in terms of both on and off-ice personnel. The Oilers too look like they have somewhat of a better plan (though the Kassian trade is interesting), as with Florida. I actually think the Panthers are a good parallel to the Canucks — some really good prospects buttressed by the signings of vets like Mitchell, Thornton, Luongo, even Bolland. In and of themselves they might seem like questionable signings but in a transition to a core of Barkov, Huberdeau, Ekblad, Crouse, etc, they are really significant.

    But none of these are intentionally losing — they’re not trading away their starting goaltenders or star players and not signing any decent FAs in order to compete now. I’ve only seen a couple of teams really try to do that — Buffalo last year and Pittsburgh when Lemieux was coming up. In such situations — when you actually have a generational player available in the draft, someone who potentially could single-handedly turn around your franchise — maybe it makes sense. But in the regular universe of prospects that’s just not the case. Successful teams are as a result of drafting, player development, good coaching and management, FA signings, etc. Drafting is only one part of the equation so I really don’t see how ‘tanking’ is any kind of strategy at all. I do think that if it’s clear you are out of the playoffs that you should not make a vain push and trade picks away and you can try and talk some of your vets into joining a contender if they’re willing. But that is not the same as adopting a ‘tank’ strategy.

  • Fortitude00

    This topic has been beat to death and people are too caught up in “tanking”. The Canucks success and playoff runs were built on the backs of former top 5 picks.
    The Sedins were drafted 2/3 while Linden was drafted 2nd. When Bure was drafted it was an error in the Russian hockey league that had counted his Pro games played. This was pointed out by Mr. Larionov and the Canucks were fortunate it held up.
    I have gone over every single team to win the cup in the last 30 years and only once has a team won the cup without a top 5 pick in their lineup.
    Mentioned above:
    Detroit’s 2008 team had Brad Stuart
    Boston’s team had Seguin(scored 4 points to help Boston beat TB in conference final) and Nathan Horton
    Anaheim 2007 team had Pronger who not only propelled the Ducks but Edmonton to the final in 2006.

  • Fortitude00

    Your logic simply does not hold up.
    Your argument rests on an emotional reactions.
    mainly -impatience.It is seriously flawed.
    And, using the Oilers as an example to ‘not tank’ is also just lazy.
    The central question is this:
    What path gives the Canucks the best chance/probability of winning a cup?!

    {This is assuming that what most long-suffering fans want most is a CUP capable team)

    If this IS the question we are debating, there simply is no debate- Tanking clearly gives the best probability of building a cup capable team.

    Because Bad to average teams simply do not win the cup.
    Hockey success is driven by TOP 4 -6 elite players. The Hawks are a prime example: they have changed over half there roster including goalies and still won 3.

    The best way by far to get these CORE players is in the top 10 of draft.

    Also, never mentioned is the terrific asset value you can get by selling off players such as Vrbata, Hamhuis when healthy Higgins etc etc.
    This extra benefit of tanking is ALMOST always overlooked.
    Bad to average teams with zero chance of the cup who ignorantly try to make playoffs lose out on this additional way to improve the long-term chances of their team.

    Just because it ‘doesn’t’ feel good or one is too impatient or because that it didn’t work for the Oilers is just silly.

    If you want to build a cup capable team for a number of years stretch IT starts with tanking.
    Sure there is more much more (like a quality intelligent GM like Mike Gillis) not Jimbo..and his terrible cap management & suspect evaluations.
    but an objective evaluation of history shows- tanking is the the first step!.