Graphic Comments: Wait and seethe

Wait and see.

I’ve heard this a lot in the last couple of days.

And honestly, this cult-like “wait and see” mantra actually blows my mind even more than this trade.

You see, I understand the reasoning behind the trade. I don’t agree with it, clearly. But I understand it.

But I’m supposed to just ignore Benning’s track record of poor decision-making and asset management and instead trust that this time his platitudes about Gudbranson, who I have nothing against, are correct?

Come. On.

Haven’t we seen enough, folks?

Weren’t we supposed to wait and see last year? And didn’t we see this team finish third worst in the league and with the worst goal differential? Only New Jersey scored fewer goals than the Canucks.

But yes, let’s wait and see. Let’s wait and see how well that scoring improves over the coming years when Benning continues to trade away skill and potential for physicality, size, grit, hard to play againstness or whatever other useless term he’s using these days.

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I say useless because if you can’t actually measure or otherwise repeatably and consistently ascribe some value to it, it’s useless as a decision-making criteria:



But nevertheless, here’s how Benning describes what he has pegged as at top four defenseman for the Canucks:

Because like in this division we play in, playing against LA, San Jose and Anaheim are big heavy teams and he plays his best games in those heavy games. He’s a guy that can separate forwards from the puck. He has the strength and he’s young.

Ooops. My bad.

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That was actually Benning talking about Luca Sbisa on the day he signed him to the contract extension.

Now here he is talking about Gudbranson:

So with Erik in our lineup, against the big, heavy teams he’ll be able to compete down low to stop the cycle. With these teams that have these fast players that skate through the neutral zone at 100 miles per hour, they’re going to have to keep their heads up now going through the neutral zone with him out on the ice.

So why should I have any more faith in Benning’s abilities to assess NHL talent now?

I was already alarmed at the decisions and direction this team was heading in, but took some solace in the organization’s apparent realization after the trade deadline that it was time to truly rebuild through the draft and actually develop prospects. That is exactly what both Trevor Linden and Jim Benning said.

They both also said that this requires patience. They meant from the fan base, but clearly what they should have been thinking about was that it also requires patience from management and ownership.

The fans, it appears, are patient to a fault.

But instead of patience, and development through the draft, we have yet another trade that sees the team not only deal away a promising young player but also another half decent draft pick in order to take shortcuts to mediocrity.

And make no mistake. That is exactly where this team is headed. Another out of the playoffs season, with a good but not great draft pick.

When Brandon Sutter was signed to that hilarious contract extension I joked that it was even money the Canucks wouldn’t see the playoffs during the term of that deal. I was just trying to be funny, but now I’m not so sure it was a joke.

It is apparent that Linden and Benning either had no intention or no commitment to actually follow through on what they told season ticket holders in those hastily arranged town hall meetings after the deadline fiasco. Clearly it was just another excercise in PR to try and stop the bleeding of season ticket holders right as they sent out their renewal notices.

So why should I have to wait and see?

Sure, the trade might work out in the Canucks favour. I highly doubt it, but sure. Does that mean I can’t have and express an opinion about it now based solely on the information we have at our disposal at this point in time?

I mean, I’m also apparently not allowed to criticize that Sbisa contract extension for the ludicrous assessment of the market that it was. Or for the horrible assessment of Sbisa’s potential to be an NHL defenseman, let alone a top four guy. That’s old news. In the past. We should just let it go.

So in the absence of a crystal ball, I’m perfectly ready and willing to assess this trade on its merits as we know today.

Once again, Jim Benning opted for short-term, guaranteed mediocrity at the expense of longer-term, upside potential. Yes, he got back a proven NHL defenseman who is “hard to play against” and “good in the room”, whatever those things mean in a real, tangible way.

Seriously, I have no idea how you can honestly base any kind of decision on those things, but I do know that if they persist for too long you should see your doctor:


But while Gudbranson may indeed be of more help to the Canucks in the immediate future than McCann would have been, that doesn’t mean it was a reasonable price to pay.

Gudbranson just signed a one year contract extension and will apparently be looking for a multi-year deal north of $5 million a year heading into next summer in his final year as a Restricted Free Agent. And given Benning’s track record on these matters, I would not be surprised to see him get it soon after the January 1 window for contract extensions opens, despite the fact that I’m not sure any of his play to date should even be considered to be of top four calibre:


That’s not exactly a stellar defensive corps in Florida, and he was underwater for most of the year.

McCann, meanwhile, will still be on an Entry Level Contract for another year after that and will be expansion draft exempt.

So on top of McCann and the 33rd pick, Benning also just gave away an expansion draft protected slot for a guy that might help them finish in the bottom 10 instead of the bottom 5 next year.


Don’t get me wrong. McCann was by no means going to save the Canucks’ offense any time soon, but he showed flashes of what he could grown into and probably had the best shot on the team despite being only 19 years old. The fact that we’ll never know how he would have fit into the Canucks’ roster as he continued to develop can be traced back to Bennings’ previous decisions.

First, I believe it’s highly unlikely this trade would have happened if McCann had been spared the grind of this pointless Canucks’ season and instead had been given another year to develop in the OHL. Instead of honing his game and getting plenty of ice time in all situations, he was thrown into the fire against full grown, seasoned NHL players, with linemates of varying skill and ability. This was not an ideal development environment and, I believe, certainly not one on which you should make a rash decision on future potential.

Second, another of Benning’s certain mediocrity over risky potential roster decisions, really sealed McCann’s fate in Vancouver. McCann’s fate was sealed the moment Shinkaruk was traded for Markus Granlund. It was clear then that Benning had a vision for this team that did not include Jared McCann up the middle.

And so one poor decision, leads to another in a growing snowball of ineptitude rolling down the hill of the NHL standings table.

I’m not sure when it will finally hit bottom, but probably not any time soon.

I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.

Me, I’m going to wait and seethe.




  • apouse

    Did Benning mention Gudbranson might be a ‘guy who can play the wing’,
    you know, like MacKenzie Stewart or Andrey Pedan? Benning is ruining – not running- this team through senseless trades, throwing away draft picks, but mostly by his inability to assess talent ( ie: Vey, Dorsett, Sbisa,
    Granlund, Gudbranson ) or manage assets ( Corrado, Mathias, Richardson,
    Fox, Shinkaruk, McCann ). ‘Rebuilding on the fly’ = failing to properly draft & develop from within – something good clubs do.

    • sh1t4brains

      I agree with your point about asset management.

      But I think you totally miss the mark on talent evaluation. Think about the 2014 draft. They draft Virtanen, McCann, Demko, Tryamkin, Forsling. That draft may have 5 legit NHL players. That would be one of the best drafts in the sorry Canucks drafting history. Drafting Boesser late in the first round was another good pick.

      Interestingly enough, the feedback from the McCann pick by CA was negative. As I recall, he was seen as a pick with limited offensive upside until Kyle Dubas weighed in. Hmmmm.

      So I don’t think it’s the inability to assess talent. I think it’s the rush to be competitive. Giving away Forsling for nothing, gambling with 2 round picks for older prospects (Baerstchi, Vey), and paying very steep prices for Sutter & Gudbranson.

      Since he has his right shot center (Sutter) and shut down D man (Gudbranson), he won’t piss away the good prospects he adds through the draft.

  • pheenster

    I never really posted much here, but I do lurk on the reg. As of this post you’ve lost a reader. It’s not so much that this is approximately the 45th negative post about the McCann trade – I’m not a fan either. It’s the tone. The reactionary, “wait and seethe,” tone. It’s unpleasant to read and lends little to the discourse.

    Also, make your website scalable FFS.

    • RIP

      Don’t be a Vancouver Wamker. It called an opinion. I thought it was excellent and I do not usually like ‘graphic comments’….your threats to “leave the site” as if that matters is very……..how can I say….feminine.

  • Cageyvet

    “So why should I have any more faith in Benning’s abilities to assess NHL talent now?”
    Because he actually watches hockey players play hockey instead of staring at computer screens and graphs.

    Because you couldn”t find a real hockey player if you were body checked into a players bench.

    “I’m not sure when it will finally hit bottom, but probably not any time soon.” You’re already there…. You hit bottom when you wrote this garbage.

  • wojohowitz

    Interesting POV. Benning is compounding the Sbisa mistake by doubling down on Gudbranson. Two D-men who are young, big, physical and handle the puck like it is a hand grenade.

  • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

    Nick Kypreos says Benning “hosed” Florida. Pierre McGuire says Benning hit a “home run.” But the analytics crowd hate the deal. Hmmm. Maybe the analytics crowd just hate Benning.

  • apouse

    Wow, I’m from Flames Nation side of things and I love reading Canucks Nation, it’s a whole different world over hear, you guys eat your own!

    Face it, it looks like Linden and Benning are taking the Nucks down to the ground like Kevin Lowe and his crew of former NHL’ers that think since they played the game they know everything in the hockey universe. I’m sorry, when you trade two first round young talented guys with protected contract terms like Mcann and Shinkarik for guys that have basically hit their talent ceiling, it’s kind hard not to question management when it’s obvious the team needs to be in rebuild mode. Plus management doesn’t trade UFA’s at the deadline for a draft pick (not one draft pick!) and also gives away second round picks in trades, it just doesn’t make sense. So I can understand the negativity, it’s kind of earned in my eyes.

    Just my 2 bits

    • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

      And in all seriousness, THIS is the post CA readers should be worried about.

      A great team is universally hated except by their own fans. A great team on a downward trajectory will have other teams fans point and laugh, and that’s fine. We all awkwardly stumble occasionally and a laugh or two is fine.

      When you need to wake up is when other teams fan bases stop talking to you like a threat, a competitor and start talking to you like a little kid in the hospital: Tones of pity from other basement dwellers mean you’ve basically arrived at the bottom.

      Petbugs’ messages of late aren’t pleasant, but neither is the direction of this team. And this Flames fan’s post – and other recent ones from Oilers fans – is the proof.

    • Cageyvet

      Props for putting out there that you’re a Flames fan, and I’m always happy to hear from someone who’s not as emotionally involved as those who post here.

      It would have been good, though, if you had acknowledged that our UFA’s had the ability to severely restrict our trade options, so it’s not the same as many of the other UFA deals that were made.

      Welcome to the land of the Canucks, if we had even one Cup like you guys, there’d be less bitterness and pessimism, I suspect, but that’s the way it is.

      For the record, you don’t have to be an ex-NHL’er to mess up your team (not that I think that it’s the case), there are plenty of teams out there that have tried many different approaches and flamed out, pardon the pun.

      Your team has some good young players, and I think you’re ahead of us in many ways, but that’s what happens when you suck for a long time, no offense intended.

      In the last 19 seasons (20 years since we lost a season along the way) you’re team missed the playoffs 13 times. Yes, defying the odds you made the finals one year, but returned immediately to early exits, that was catching lightning in a bottle and I don’t think anyone really thought your team was a true cup contender, any more than the Canucks of 81-82 were.

      During the same time frame, we missed the playoffs 8 times. Allow us our dignity while we try and put the pieces back together, lol.

      It was fun to see both teams battling again last year, and crappy to see them both miss this year. There’s no guarantees, more teams fail to find the winning formula than grab on to it, whomever they employ in their front office.

      • sh1t4brains

        I hear what you are saying, I am just placing my general thoughts on the Canucks situation, I fully understand the plan the Flames are applying but I don’t understand what formula Linden and Banning are pushing. Comparing the amount of times a team makes the playoffs is one measure of success but doesn’t tell the full story of a team. Success in the NHL is cyclical, and teams will have their runs, but you can no longer buy teams so drafting, cap management, and player management all come into play, so if you don’t have the write people in house cooking the right team recipe you may be eating sour Sibisa soup for a long time!

        I am a true Flames fan but I also enjoy watching all the Canadian teams do well as I am a season ticket holder for 18 years and I would prefer watching top players playing on Canadian teams when I see them live, as For years I watched the Sedins wreak havoc on Flames defence at will (past tense of course), which was pure entertainment, and even better if the Flames won!

        But I have to admit, I am curious who Benning or Linden will call at #5 on draft day, you would have to think Canucks fans are slightly nervous just based on the past few moves, just a tiny bit. But heck, having fans that care (good or bad) is the main thing.

        • Cageyvet

          For the record, kipper2004, I wasn’t trying to grind on you or your team, who I did acknowledge is ahead of us in many ways, just trying to bring some balance to the commentary.

          You are not alone, obviously, in being unsure of the direction being taken by JB and company. I just think it’s worth remembering that they haven’t been in the driver’s seat very long, and the course they are charting is still being developed before our eyes.

          I think Calgary started their rebuild a few years sooner, so it’s understandable that you and your fellow fans have a better grasp of your team’s direction.

          Ask me 2 or 3 years from now and I will be much more firmly able to support, or oppose, the intense criticism this site is constantly firing at the team.

          Finally, I love to hate your team, but I also love the Canadian teams to have success and enjoy the rivalries. I really missed the friendly pot shots taken between me and my friends in Calgary last year during the playoffs, let’s hope both franchises soar to the top again as soon as possible!