With the Canucks off on their bye week, it’s time to finally face the inevitable. I have always hated the Wave at sporting events, but in this case I’ll make an exception. It’s time to wave good-bye to the playoffs for this edition of the Canucks.
They simply aren’t good enough.
I know. I know. They’re only six points out. There’s lots of hockey left to be played. But the fact is they are not any better than they were last year at this point in the season. For all the vaunted changes and being harder to play against, they are barely treading water.
As fans we want to hold out hope. They just need to string a few wins together. Squeak into a wild card spot. Gel as a team of plucky underdogs and go on a run.
Sure, do that. Hope for the best. But prepare for the worst.
Yes, they are six points out but would have to leapfrog four teams to squeeze in. Four teams that are going to be playing each other a number of times to close out the season, and splitting two (and often three) points between them each and every time. This does not bode well for the Canucks’ chances.
And while they are six points out of a wild car, they only two up on 27th overall. The exact same spot where they finished last year. This, in a season where the Western Conference has been dismal overall. They still haven’t made up any ground. They currently sit at 25th overall, and 26th in points percentage, which takes games played into account.
All that to say that as the NHL trade deadline approaches, it’s time to try and salvage something out of this season.
Unfortunately, that process should have started already. However, it appears that Jim Benning doesn’t understand how markets work.
As Daniel Wagner over at Pass It to Bulis astutely noticed, Benning appears to think that because there are very few teams actively trying to trade away assets, that it must not be a seller’s market. As anyone that has successfully completed and ECON101 course will tell you, that’s not how supply and demand works:
But much like last year, the expectation is that Benning will realize that moving some assets for picks at the deadline is the right move. But unlike last year, hopefully he hasn’t left it too late and has the necessary conversations with the veteran players that might be moved, whether to get a list of teams as allowed under their modified no trace clauses, such as Hansen and Miller, or just as a courtesy for someone like Burrows.
One player we know won’t be moving is Loui Eriksson. Even if he didn’t have a no movement clause, that contract itself is not only buy-out proof but untradeable given the season he’s had. Now there is a Swedish tragedy that isn’t fake:
But Benning isn’t the only one channeling the Trump administration these days. Just as the White House Press Secretary Melissa McCarthy Sean Spicer likes to come out and tell the press that they should be reporting on all the good news stories about what Trump is doing, there was Willie Desjardins after the loss to the Flyers on Sunday, telling the assembled media what story they should be telling:
“It’s a tough league…instead of the story about how tough, it’s how hard these guys have battled. I think that’s what they’ve done. I think they’ve played hard as a group. I think every guy’s committed. I think most nights they’re in it.”
At least to Willie’s credit those things are actually true, unlike the alternative facts coming out of Spicer’s mouth every day.
And speaking of giving credit where it’s due, if there’s one thing that we discovered with Willie’s failed attempts to make a Sutter-Sedins line work, it’s that Benning may actually have been right way back when he compared Sutter to Patrice Bergeron:
But in all seriousness, if Benning blows this deadline again and isn’t able to deal Hansen to avoid losing him or Granlund in the expansion draft, the one thing I’ll say about Brandon Sutter is that he would make a great pawn to leave exposed instead. There’s very little chance that Las Vegas would pick up that contract with four years left to run over Sbisa with one year left.
It might turn out that Sutter is useful after all.