I see Jim Benning was on the radio this morning passive-aggressively asking for fans to be patient:
“I’m not going to make no apologies as to where we’re at. Our fans, I think, understand what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to be competitive and develop young players.”
But here’s the thing with the current team running the Vancouver Canucks: they don’t actually have a plan. Yes, they have an end goal in mind. Well, two, actually. But they don’t have a plan on how to get there. At least not in the sense of what a well-run business would call a plan.
There’s no strategy. There’s no logic. There’s no milestones. No metrics, checkpoints or structure.
In short, there is no process. And in the absence of process, there’s certainly no attention paid to measuring progress.
How do I know this? Well, let me tell you.
I’ve been around the business world long enough to have seen plenty of organizations and business units that don’t have a plan with all of those elements in place. And the telltale sign of any organization that doesn’t have a rational strategic plan, with metrics and a process for monitoring progress is that they react.
Instead of Plan-Do-Check-Act, they just do and (re)act.
They are like a pendulum swinging back and forth, overshooting their mark on each pass.
You can see it in how they’ve tried to address holes in the roster. By the end of last season, they had (finally) realized that there was no depth on the blueline. They needed to fill that gap.
So what did they do? They filled it. And boy did they ever.
They traded for Larsen. They dragged Tryamkin over. They traded for Gudbranson. They signed Stecher. They drafted Juolevi. That’s on top of Biega (who is apparently too valuable to risk losing on waivers), Pedan, and Subban. All that, while basically telling Dan Hamhuis, who probably has the best combination of skill, character and experience out of the bunch, to take a hike after jerking him around at the deadline.
So while it’s good on them to realize they needed to address the blueline, they overshot. And now, they find themselves in the position of having a logjam on defense. Even with Tanev out, Biega and Larsen are sitting around taking up roster spots because they don’t want risk putting them on waivers.
When Tanev comes back, they’ll probably send Stecher back down because they can. But he’s probably been their second best defenseman in Tanev’s absence, so they are now in a situation where they can’t deploy an optimal lineup because they saw a need and (over)reacted.
Why am I going on about this?
Well, because the new shiny object now is the elusive 20-goal scorer. And the price will probably be one of those defensive assets. So the pendulum will now swing in the other direction, and you can be assured that Sbisa isn’t going to get you a 20-goal scorer. It’s not like those guys grow on trees.
No, the names being tossed out are Tanev and Hutton, and while I think even these guys aren’t dumb enough to trade Tanev, I could definitely see them shipping off Hutton.
And the problem is that every time they overshoot, they are eroding their asset base and creating a problem somewhere else.
I mean, why do they have such an urgent problem that they to find a 20-goal scorer?
Well, for one thing, Loui Eriksson has struggled to find his scoring touch and his place in this lineup. But since they don’t seem to know anything about process and just tend to react, it’s like he doesn’t exist. You want to add a 20-goal scorer to your lineup? GET LOUI ERIKSSON GOING. Do everything to give him a chance to succeed. Put him on the first powerplay unit. That’s the cheapest way to add a 20-goal scorer to this lineup.
Because the alternative won’t be good. Just look at the last time they (over)reacted and made a trade to fill the big hole on defense.
What does this team need more of right now, Erik Gudbranson or Jared McCann?
And before you point out his poor start in Florida this year, keep in mind two things:
- He’s been buried at the bottom of lineup with fourth line plugs.
- Despite that, he’s still fifth on the Panthers with 1.2 primary points per 60 minutes.
Coincidentally enough, that’s good enough to also be fifth on the Canucks.