More Questions Than Answers In the Wake of Jim Benning’s Contract Extension

Just yesterday, the Vancouver Canucks announced that they’d come to terms on a multi-year contract extension for general manager Jim Benning. The team has yet to confirm the length, but Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman is reporting a rumour that it’s a three-year deal that will take Benning through the 2020-21 season.

Benning, who was in the final year of the four-year pact he agreed to ahead of the 2014-15 season, now gets the time to see his nominal rebuild through to its completion.

Speaking to reporters yesterday at Rogers Arena, Benning said “I’m excited about the direction of our team. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m confident we are on the right path. We’re going to build this team into a contender again.”

“Allowing this management group, who I think I have continued to do things better and [are] continuing on this path is important.” team president Trevor Linden said.

Certainly, there’s reason for excitement. As Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat have emerged as core players in these last two seasons, they’ve given fans reasons to line the seats of Rogers Arena and jump out of them with glee on a semi-regular basis; it’s just the kind of reprieve from the constant losing that this city needs.

The Canucks’ prospect pool is as rich as it’s ever been. When TSN’s Craig Button unveiled his Top 50 Affiliated Prospects list a month ago, Vancouver’s prospects accounted for five of them, with most coming in the first 30 names on his list.

It’s an impressive bounty, and Benning deserves his fair share of credit for accumulating as many high-quality prospects as he has in these last four seasons.

When one considers the ways in which this franchise has handcuffed itself at the draft, it’s all the more impressive. This team has drafted just 28 players in Benning’s time as the Canucks’ general manager, which is the exact number of allotted picks that (seven each year times four years) the Canucks would have if they’d done nothing with their original stock.

Of course, that begs the question: why so few draft picks? Teams that find themselves in the position that the Canucks have languished in these last three years are usually insatiable in their appetite for picks. For the Canucks, who have a master scout by trade at the helm, wouldn’t that be even more important for this franchise?

“After the year we made the playoffs we traded two players, Kevin [Bieksa] and Eddie [Lack] for a second and third-round pick,” Linden told reporters in response to a question about the lack of picks. “Two deadlines ago, we tried to move [Dan Hamhuis and Radim Vrbata], and that story’s well documented. Last year we were able to add to our ammunition at the draft.”

“At the same time, you walk a fine line. We have added players with picks to stabilize things a little bit, whether that be a Sven Baertschi or Derrick Pouliot. So there’s been walking the fine line, and we’ll continue to see what’s available to us at the deadline.”

At best, those comments are misinformed. For starters, the second-round pick the Canucks acquired as part of the Bieksa deal was used the same summer they acquired it to bring Brandon Sutter into the fold. As The Province’s Jason Botchford points out in last night’s The Provies, this same front office also rejected an offer for a third-round pick for Hamhuis in that infamous deadline.

Minutes before answering a question about the team’s lack of picks, Linden goes on to refute the notion that there are any quick fixes in free agency or through trades — it has to be done through the draft. Which, again, begs the question: to what exact end did the Canucks invest the picks and prospects they have in trades as often as they have these last four seasons?

According to Linden, it was done to create a sense of stability, but the Canucks record with those additions doesn’t speak to them offering any improvement upon standard veteran free agents — the type that doesn’t cost draft picks to acquire and routinely bring them back at the trade deadline. The Canucks have the 26th best record in the league in Benning’s tenure; if you go solely by the last three years, they have the second-worst.

Then again, it’s hard to serve so many masters as the Canucks have in that span. The plan never involved a tear-it-down rebuild. It was always about retooling this team on the fly and using Benning’s advanced scouting acumen to find young talent in spite of that goal.

It would be easy enough to forgive the Canucks for the folly of that mission had they acknowledged as much at yesterday’s press conference. Instead, they doubled down on the notion of “remaining” competitive and fighting for the playoffs on an annual basis.

It’s easy enough to say, but as the Canucks’ ineptitude these last three seasons has shown us, it’s another thing entirely to pull it off. They haven’t played a competitive hockey game on the other side of Christmas in three consecutive seasons.

And if there’s no magic bullet in free agency or through trades, by Linden’s admission, that puts a lot of pressure on a prospect pool that, while encouraging, isn’t enough for this group to hang their hats on.

People can take small comfort in Benning’s enthusiasm about Vancouver’s current crop of prospects. Responding to a question from TSN’s Jeff Paterson about whether that group was exceptional or not, Benning emphatically answered “I do. I feel with Thatcher [Demko] that he can develop into a number one — It takes time with goalies, so it’s going to be a process. With [Olli] Juolevi, I know he’s had ups and downs, but we feel he’s going to be a top-four puck-moving defenceman.”

“With our forward group, we might have three guys that are top-six forwards when our teams is good that we’re going to sign this summer. That part of it is very exciting for me.”

There are elements of truth therein. In Demko, it does appear as though the Canucks have a number one goalie in the wings; In Juolevi, a top-four defenceman. Their depth up front is truly something to behold.

Is that enough, though? They don’t have a lot of young talent currently in the lineup. And where they do, on the blue line, they all look the part of complimentary pieces more than impact players.

It’s that last point that sticks because, by Benning’s admission, the Canucks have one top-four defensive prospect in Juolevi. There’s not much behind him either, though the organization seems inordinantly high on Guillaume Brisebois and Jalen Chatfield.

“Brisebois is having an excellent year in Utica for us as a first-year pro,” Benning said. “[Brisebois is] playing around 20 minutes a night. We talked to RJ, and he says he’s playing in all situations now. He’s an excellent skater. He’s mobile. He can jump up in the play. The thing RJ is most happy about is his conviction to defend and be in the battles.”

“[Jalen] Chatfield’s another guy that we feel strong about,” Benning continued. “He’s a mobile defenceman that’s had a good year for us in Utica. We have some good young prospects coming, but I understand what you’re saying — to get those elite, number one defencemen, those are the guys you have to draft.”

As one scout pointed out to me, this is the year for the Canucks to find that type of defenceman in the draft. They’ll likely have a good opportunity with their first-round pick, too.

Has Benning’s approach changed, though? Because to date, in his time with the Canucks, almost all of Benning’s additions on the back-end have fallen far short of the mark. Here’s the list of defencemen Benning has added to the Canucks: Luca Sbisa, Andrey Pedan, Adam Clendening, Matt Bartkowski, Troy Stecher, Philip Larsen, Erik Gudbranson, Michael Del Zotto, Derrick Pouliot and Patrick Wiercioch.

Is Benning the person to repair a blue line whose failings are covered in his fingerprints? I’m not sure anyone has any reason for confidence in this regard.

If there’s one thing Benning has, it’s the time to address these many questions that still hang like dark clouds over the future of the franchise. The Canucks made sure of that with their multi-year offer to extend his time as their general manager.

  • Dirty30

    The reality is that Torts uttered a truth no one wanted to hear and got shown the door.

    Firstbyear of a new management group and a 101 point season.

    Easy to see what happened: Tortscwas wrong and this team was going to be easy to turn around.


    Can’t blame them for injuries or having players suddenly become Zombies … can’t even blame them for their loyalty to the Sedins and trying to restock the team one more time.

    But you can blame them for not seeing the Sedins’ decline, that ‘foundational’ players and plodders were not going to make up for losing key players while the Sedins simply couldn’t carry this team anywhere anymore.

    Three seasons now and management can only blame themselves and take a new direction.

    If they stay the course with fillers they will likely lose fans and posers alike for a long time.

    If Guddy and Vanek remain in two weeks its going to be ugly.

  • Fortitude00

    JD those D men Benning added were suppose to be band aids just like the early 20’s forwards he added. Any time you trade for other teams under performers you aren’t going to hit very often. I think all he was hoping he would hit on one or two guys while building through the draft. The unclear message came from the top and its on the owners not on Linden and Benning. Benning was handcuffed for pretty much the first three years with the NTC’s and last year was the first year he could really trade and bring in decent talent. Now the extension is out of the way we should actually see the real direction this team is going to take. I hope its without the Sedins and I hope they market Boeser and start the new core.

    • Ginner Classic

      Rebuilding teams (or retooling cellar dwellers) should not be trading away draft picks for band aid players that are no better than they can pick up on waivers or sign as free agents in late August every year. Linden and Benning remain as incoherent as ever.

  • DogBreath

    Everyone knows that part of the GM/President’s role is to sell hope. We kind of have to expect that. Could you imagine if he said, ‘we project OJ as a top-four and all the other D prospects are bottom two’s at best”. I don’t know a NHL GM/President that speaks like that. He says it because he has to.

    They’ve built some impressive forward prospects. I’m hoping the 2018 draft fills the D pipeline gap. If they don’t draft D, expect them to move a forward prospect or two to another organization for D.

    Finally, this might be implausible, but if they do sign EG, then my hope is they package Hutton/Vanek for a younger unproven D. The market for wingers like Vanek is looking saturated and likely yields a mid-late round draft pick.

    • Benning clearly thought Sbisa and Gudbranson were top-4 players when he brought them in. If he thought they were band-aids, there’s no way he should have given up the players and assets he did to acquire them.

      • Missing Lou

        Don’t forget the team direction was retool not rebuild so they were trying to get players to make the playoffs etc. Now JB is free to move vets and add talent. Let hope the team turns the corner in the next couple of years.

      • DogBreath

        Sbisa was part of the Kessler deal – a situation that was forced on him. Interesting that Vegas is using him as part of their top 4.

        For what it’s worth, I think we continue to overvalue McCann (though he didn’t make EG look very good the other night).

  • tru north

    Counting on JD to trash Benning is always a safe bet … actually a bit surprised at how reasonable and gentle he is about it. Trending upwards!

    Please! … get over the fact that Benning doesn’t do what you want him to.

    • Kneedroptalbot

      Jim Benning has done a very good job in re-stocking the prospect pool as JD noted. Not all of his moves have turned out well, they rarely do for any GM. It hurt the franchise when Nikita Tryamkin decided to leave for the KHL. I am looking forward to see Olli Juolevi and Elias Pettersson join the Canucks if they are ready next year. Signing the Sedins to a reasonable contract for 1 year would be a wise move to aid in his development. Having a physical 26 yr old veteran D man wouldn’t be a bad idea either for Juolevi, providing the contract is reasonable. Looking at the roster almost all of the veterans have been turned over since the Gillis era. The twins, Edler and Tanev are the only ones left.

  • DogBreath

    We’ve seen the results of those rebuilding franchises turn over their administration a lot because the results aren’t there (Edm, Florida etc). Changing now risks going down that path. I don’t think its the right one.

    We’ll see where progress is at in 2 years. I suspect they will want someone with a GM who isn’t carrying his baggage as it relates to trades and free agent signings.

  • Jim Benning also drafted Nikita Tryamkin.

    I do agree our D is an area in need of improvement. Two of our top three picks this draft, should be used on selecting defensemen. Our depth on D somehow fell apart and this draft should make up for that.

  • Cageyvet

    JD you tweeted “I literally cannot, for the life of me, understand any argument in favour of a Benning contract extension. Yet here we are.”

    I literally can’t defend the level of negative bias that displays. You give him credit for some draft success. It has been detailed many times how the team wanted to fill an age gap that drafting couldn’t do and free agents wouldn’t address, not when they felt they could find a gem or two. I’m not saying they spent all that currency particularly well, but there was a plan and they haven’t all been busts.

    I disagree that the comment about the picks for Bieksa and Lack are misinformed. Just because they then trade the pick doesn’t mean they didn’t acquire it, times change and they made another deal, good or bad.

    Should they have more picks? Yes. Should they have given up less on several trades, including bonus picks that could have been another Gaudette? Yes. That doesn’t preclude finding a reason or two that might explain sticking with Benning. Draft success alone made me cringe and the the thought of re-entering the dark ages of bare cupboards.

    Benning, to my mind, has improved, to varying degrees, in the facets of his role. Drafting seems strong, his trades are vastly improved, and his pro signings are hit and miss but only Eriksson is a disaster. I see a lot of past references, and while it’s fair to judge the body of work, it’s unfair to ignore they chose a rookie GM and President. If you can’t live with their growing pains and focus more on where they are now (and where they are trending) than how they got their, forget asking them to do the same with young players. Now we have another rookie coach, as well. I like them all, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to understand why they decided to stay the course. We all know how fast the whole crew can get fired if they start to see it slipping away. The next 18 months will tell us all we need to know.

    • I am Ted

      Yes, good old Butthole Burke still spews his rubbish. How does this guy still have a job here? I haven’t been here for ages and when I decide to log in, I have to see his stupidity…again. Sad.

      Benning is by no means a great GM. Not by a long shot. He had very little in the system when he got the job and I really didn’t see how this could be a quick turnaround. I think most saw that but oh well.

      Sure, Benning has added a lot of good prospects but they’re still prospects. Not NHLers. So, we will have to wait and see. This is why I don’t mind the extension because he is taking the team in the right direction even if it is in a rather slow and methodical manner.

      I also appreciate how he understands having mentors around for the kids. Most think this is a small point and something that isn’t important. I feel it’s critical otherwise we turn into the Coilers. Canucks have sucked for the last few years – Coilers have pretty much stunk for most of the last 25 years. Benning is making sure we don’t walk that path!

      Anyway, I think I’ll have to avoid these B. Burke articles. Didn’t he also recently feel the Canucks should buy out Edler?! WTF?! A person this stupid should not be writing about hockey.

  • Jimjamg

    I agree that the biggest indictment of Bennings tenure is on the defence side, which is surprising considering he was a Dman himself and his much touted scouting acumen. Of that list of additions I would only give a plug nickel for Stecher and maybe Pouliot. Losing Tyramkin was a disaster too but we aren’t the first team to have a Russian leave for home. Missing on Sergachev and McAvoy hurts too. Hopefully this draft will produce a top D but we still need to go with BPA even if it’s a Tkachuk. Reaching for need has already cost us Ehlers or Nylander, let’s not repeat that.

    • truthseeker

      It wasn’t a miss. Oli was ranked higher than Sergachev by 9 out of 14 sources and ranked higher than McAvoy in 14 out of 14 sources. So you’re just using hindsight. Which is illogical.

      • That it was an understandable and defensible miss doesn’t mean it wasn’t still a miss. Drafts should be judged both by the logic that went into the pick and the result that comes out.

        • LTFan

          Drafting, except for the first couple of picks, is, for the most part, a gamble. There are a number of high first round picks every year who do not play 100 games in the NHL in their hockey careers. Then there is Luc Robitaille.

        • truthseeker

          The statement was that we “missed” on them at the draft. So did a bunch of other teams. It’s stupid logic. Nothing more than hindsight. If we had taken McAvoy and he failed people would have been whining that we blew it by not taking Oli the obvious choice.

          If he’s a bust he’s a bust. That’s fine. But implying it wasn’t the right pick is a f…king stupid statement.

      • Dirk22

        You give Benning all this credit for being a skilled drafter yet constantly try cite consensus draft rankings that can be accessed by anyone as justification for missed picks. I’ll let you figure that out.

    • In the past that Benning has drafted 11 defenceman in the past 4 years, that’s nearly 3 D-men per draft: Rathbone, Gunnarsson, Brassard, Juolevi, Candella, Brisebois, Neill, Olson, Tramkin, Forsling, Stewart. It’s just unfortunate that outside of the top rounds, the players have lower ceilings or chances of making the NHL. But I find it hard to accept an argument that Benning has neglected the defensive prospect pool.

      If you’re referring to just 1st rounders alone, Benning’s choices can be defended. In 2014, the top players in that spot were Virtanen, Ehlers and Nylander – no defencemen were ranked near the #6 spot. In 2016, Benning drafted Juolevi, which ironically, some people would not have done (disclosure: I would have drafted Tkachuk). For 2015 and 2017, I don’t think anyone can argue that Boeser and Pettersson were bad picks.

    • bobdaley44

      Sergachev’s struggling and gets healthy scratched and Mcavoy gets the luxury of jumping into a top end veteran roster that bury’s deficiency’s not to mention playing with Chara. Put him on the lower handful of teams and see what he does.

      • Freud

        Weak, lazy, self serving narrative. Sergachev is on pace for 45 pts as a 19 year old rookie and has 53% possession. He would be the number one on this team today. He was recently sat for disciplinary reasons not for performance. But you state he’s struggling. McAvoy’s possession numbers are better without Chara and Chara’s are worse when he’s away from McAvoy.

        • Bud Poile

          Sergachev has near 70% o-zone starts and plays with a future HHOF’er D partner.
          TB is the highest scoring team in the league with the best PP.
          Olli is a defensive d-man with second unit PP potential at 19 years of age.
          Yeah,weak,lazy and self-serving narratives infest the board.
          Holm,Chatfield,Brassard,Brisebois,Candella,Rathbone,Olli and a few others are in the pipeline.
          However,patience is not every fan’s strongest attribute.

    • Nuck16

      In the 2015 draft Boston had 2 back to back picks, I think 14th and 15th, and they passed on both Boeser and Barzal, and they’re a pretty good team built mostly through the draft.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Rebuild, retool, whatever. A team still needs to compete and play games. A roster of rookies — even high end ones — without the insulation of veterans results in an Oiler situation. A generation of very good players who just can’t win. It’s now a roster full of top 5 picks (including the best player in the NHL) — and yet is going to miss the playoffs again. Benning has not been perfect, but he has also been pretty good and getting better. The Virtanen pick was a reach, but not impossibly so. It was also his first draft. Since then, his draft record is good leaning to excellent. The trades have also been getting better. He has leveraged reasonable value for some veterans, and has taken reasonable gambles on others. Trying to fill out the middle of the roster has cost some draft picks, but it has resulted in a team that competes (even if they generally lose). Edmonton has a team that has skill but has not competed for over a decade. And we need to get over Gudbranson. It may not have worked out, but given the cost of defensemen on the trade market, was it really that much of a reach? I guess is depends on whether you think McCann will be a middle 6 or bottom 6 centre. But even then, those players can be found more easily than a good 2nd pair Dman. Maybe Guddy didn’t turn out to be that, but it was a reasonable gamble.

    • Dirk22

      What’s an Oilers situation? Finishing at the bottom for many consecutive years? Acquiring slow players not fit for today’s NHL? Losing value on trades? Feels familiar.

      • crofton

        You don’t know what an Oilers’ situation is? Maybe it’s that despite countless top 10 draft picks including what was the number of first overall picks? And still tied in points with Vancouver, albeit with a game or two in hand? I’d say we’re doing ok comparatively.

        • Dirk22

          So ask yourself crofton why do you think they’re in the state they’re in now and compare it to the Canucks situation? No defense? Bad trades? Lack of recognition of the game changing? Losing environment?

          Wonder if hiring former players to steer the ship isn’t always the smartest thing to do. Hmmmmm

        • Fred-65

          Come on Crofton, tewo wrong have never made a right let’s not use Edmonton as a yard stick… they suck so we should to. I don’t believe a three year contract ( so it’s supposed to be ) is a wringing endorsement of JB but suggests they couldn’t find any one else. I doubt many wish to become a GM in Vcr. It might be interesting to see which other GM’s contracts expire in the next three years. I don’t believe his first contract was a overly expensive contract and I doubt if this is a lot better ie not difficult to pay out. Three years is not a great endorsement IMO

    • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

      “A roster of rookies — even high end ones — without the insulation of veterans results in an Oiler situation”

      EDM 2006-07 Smyth Age 30 Sykora 29 Horcoff 27 Pisani 29 Reasoner 29 Staios 33 Smith 32 Nedved 34 Roloson 36 Moreau 30 Markkanen 31
      EDM 2007-08 Horcoff 28 Reasoner 30 Pisani 30 Staios 34 Sanderson 35 Souray 31 Moreau 31 Roloson 37
      EDM 2008-09 Souray 32 Horcoff 29 Visnovsky 32 Cole 29 Moreau 32 Pisani 31 Staios 35 Kotalik 29 Strudwick 33 Roloson 38
      EDM 2009-10 Horcoff 30 Visnovsky 33 Comrie 28 Moreau 33 Souray 33 Pisani 32 Staios 36 Strudwick 34
      EDM 2010-11 Hemsky 27 Penner 27 Horcoff 31 Gilbert 27 Whitney 27 Foster 28 Vandermeer 30 Strudwick 35 Khabibulin 37
      EDM 2011-12 Smyth 35 Hemsky 28 Horcoff 32 Jones 27 Whitney 28 Potter 27 Gilbert 28 Belanger 33 Eager 27 Sutton 36 Hordichuk 31 Khabibulin 38
      EDM 2012-13 Hemsky 29 Smyth 36 Horcoff 33 Schultz 30
      EDM 2013-14 Hemsky 30 Smyth 37 Gordon 29 Ference 34 Schultz 31 Bryzgalov 33 Dubnyk 27
      EDM 2014-15 Pouliot 27 Purcell 28 Roy 31 Hendricks 33 Ference 35 Fayne 27 Scrivens 27 Fasth 32
      EDM 2015-16 Pouliot 28 Purcell 29 Sekera 29 Letestu 30 Korpikoski 29 Maroon 27 Hendricks 34 Talbot 28
      No veterans eh? Just cause some of them suck doesn’t negate the fact they’re all still seasoned veterans. I also only listed the ones that played most of the season. Lack of veterans IMO ‘could’ be applied to the 2012-13 season and perhaps 2013-14, but that’s a stretch.

      • truthseeker

        Some of them suck? How bout all of them! lol. This is EXACTLY the point. They had f..king sh…. veteran lazy garbage “leaders” and that’s exactly what the oilers young players became. Lazy entitled garbage.

        Hall might be an amazing talent but the little sh…. threw water at his coach and then argued with him during a game.

        You think any young player on the canucks would do that towards a coach with the Sedins sitting next to them on the bench? Not a f…king chance.

        Your post is making the exact opposite position you think it is.

          • truthseeker

            No dirk…you’re in your own head again. I’ve said it before but you still don’t seem to be able to comprehend what my point is. So one more time….having good vets is not about whether the team wins or loses. It’s about having guys who have a work ethic so younger players can see what putting in a proper day’s work in the NHL actually means. The Oilers did not have that. Is it the only reason they lose? Of course not. Nobody is saying that so don’t be stupid Dirk.

            But they had 10 years straight of missing the playoffs. And now one out of 11. We’ve had 3 Dirk. 3. Think whatever you want. But in Vancouver we’ve seen the results of quality vets like Naslund helping to create what the Sedins, Kes, Burrows…all became. They’d be the first to tell you.

          • Dirk22

            So because Smyth, Horcoff, Ference etc. weren’t good enough mentors for Hall, Eberle etc. they missed the playoffs for 10 straight years? Am I missing something here? When those guys got traded to other teams does the mentorship reset – just asking because they seem to be doing pretty well.

        • Fortitude00

          Sedins aren’t leaders they are point producers. Sure they are great athletes and teach dedication in the weight room. Aside from that they rarely speak up and rarely teach anything valuable to our young upcoming group. JV got caught taking his time back to the bench after a long shift. You know who taught him that Henrik. Horvat has struggled playing a 2 way game since he came to the NHL. You know who taught him to play it? Nobody. Why because Henrik has never back checked his entire career. When the Canucks were successful it was Luongo, Kesler and Bieksa that had the voice of the room. People pointing out that the Oilers leaders were terrible and thats why they are bad well look at the Canucks record with only the Sedins driving the ship. Abysmal. I get they are older but they havn’t taught positive two way hockey to the youngsters. Until they are gone the next core wont learn it either.

    • I think a point that critics of Benning’s “veterans to protect rookies” position is that the Canucks roster currently only has 4 legitimate Benning rookie/prospects in the line-up: Boeser, Virtanen, Stecher and Goldobin. All of the other younger players were reclamation projects (i.e. Baertschi, Granlund, Pouliot), capitalizing on roster crunches (i.e. Vey, Clendening, Boucher) or pre-Benning prospects (i.e. Horvat, Gaunce, Hutton). How about we start judging Benning on this when Pettersson, Gaudette, Lind, Dahlen, Gadjovich, Lockwood, MacEwen, Juolevi, Chatfield, Brisebois, Demko, and DiPietro get into the line-up?

  • myshkin

    the organization needs stability so i think extending benning was the right move. don’t forget that linden could have easily hired someone worse than benning.

    • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

      I agree with your comment about stability, but Linden also could have easily replaced Benning with someone BETTER (ie: more experienced at being a GM, not paying a guy with acumen for scouting and not much else to be a GM). Just saying.

        • Ser Jaime Lannister

          Wasnt any one available or i bet they wouldve. 2-3 year extension isnt going to be enough this team has soo many gaping holes still, i think after the third year well be trending upwards middle of the pack hopefully but who noes depends on how many prospects pan out, 5 year extension wouldve been ideal for him to see this through, specially when the next couple years will probably be bottom 5-7 finishes.

  • defenceman factory

    Here is a quote from a Graphic Comments article from CanucksArmy 3 months ago.

    “But somewhere along the way, whether they realized it themselves, or someone made the case, ownership realized they couldn’t pin it on Benning given how many decisions they had influenced over the last three years. Whether it was drafting Virtanen, or going all in on Lucic, which then led to Eriksson, or even the botched Hamhuis deal to Dallas at the 2016 trade deadline, Francesco had his fingerprints on a lot of key decisions. As a result, there was enough there to give Benning the benefit of the doubt and not hold him accountable for his disastrous tenure with the team.”

    I’m pretty sure Graphic Comments didn’t want to see Benning extended but at least he doesn’t let his dislike for Benning stop him from placing blame appropriately. If all the poor decisions during Benning’s tenure were squarely on Benning there is no way he gets extended. They aren’t and he was extended. Now let’s get on with this rebuild.

    • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

      by “rebuild”, you mean staying competitive/aiming for playoffs/rebuilding right? That would be a monumental task for any experienced mgmt team, let alone one that is chalk full of INexperience.

      • defenceman factory

        Are you a sucker for every stupid media line you hear? You must be really puzzled why you don’t have more dates given all the men’s hair products you have purchased.

  • DJ_44

    As The Province’s Jason Botchford points out in last night’s The Provies, this same front office also rejected an offer for a third-round pick for Hamhuis in that infamous deadline.

    Botchford himself does not consider the Provies journalism, but rather entertainment. Using an unfounded, unreferenced quote from the Provies as a basis for an argument is weak.

    If you say something enough in the echo chamber, eventually you cannot tell the echoes from the new thought.

    HELLO…..Hello……hello …….hello

  • Burnabybob

    As the author has pointed out, the Benning can address the team’s shortage of defensive prospects through this year’s draft. At least one of Boqvist, Bouchard or Dobson will be available, and they all look pretty promising. (That’s obviously assuming they don’t hit the jackpot and win the first overall pick, in which case they could help their defense in a BIG way.)

    During the 2018-19 season, hopefully Benning can get a better read on some of his second-tier forward prospects, like Dahlen, Lind, and Goldobin. Depending on how those players develop, I would probably target either a winger or defenseman in the first round of the 2019 draft. Bowen Byram (D) and Dylan Cozens (W) look like intriguing possibilities for the Canucks in the 2019 draft.

  • beers before

    The only other ‘profession’ that rewards this kind of failure and ineptitude year after year is politics and look at the mess the world is in there!

    Linden and Benning are like old west snakeoil salesmen selling false hope to mugs year after year while other teams such as Colorado, Calgary and New Jersey show just how bad this loser franchise really is.

    Oh, and see Las Vegas Golden Knights for how to win and make the playoffs with every other teams garbage right out of the gate… it’s a shame more actual Canuck ticket buyers aren’t on here to tell it like it really is.. this team is going nowhere under LinBenning, the standings simply do not lie. Do they?

    • jaybird43

      Yes beers, standings lie all the time. Inheriting a poor business with a weak future against an up and coming business is like that. Think buggy whip seller in 1905. That’s what Benning received. It takes awhile to turn the buggy whip maker into a car accessory manufacturer.

  • TheRealPB

    This is generally a pretty even-handed review; I think that while it’s pretty popular amongst (many) pundits to lambast Benning, this is a fairly accurate read. I still think it’s hard to evaluate a GM’s work without acknowledging the environment they stepped into. He inherited a team with aging veterans with no-move contracts, almost no prospects to speak of, and ownership that wanted to get playoff revenue back ASAP. It was also clear that there was never going to be a movement of their generational players back when they might have actually netted some kind of return. All the comparisons to Arizona (bailed out by the league and still terrible despite the analytics-oriented approach), Florida (lots of high picks and good young players but still terrible despite the analytics-oriented approach), or Vegas (set up by the league to succeed in a way that no other expansion team in just about any sport ever has) are ridiculous. So too Toronto, whose success is based on economic power to get out from under the bad contracts like Clarkson and deal Kessel and Phaneuf for some return all because they had a fan base that wouldn’t abandon them even after so many decades of futility. None of these are good comparisons.

    I also think the basic belief in stockpiling draft picks needs to be debunked once and for all. Yes, it’s nice to have them. But in a cap-constrained league they are one of the few pieces of currency that facilitate a trade; and at the end of the day, if a 2nd round pick has a 12% chance of netting you an NHLer, trading a few of them for a promising young player (or trading lower picks for them) is as much taking a chance (perhaps even less so) than just rolling the dice on your actual picks.

    I think Benning has done a decent if uneven job of drafting (Pettersson, Boeser, Gaudette, Demko, Lind, Gadjovich = good, Virtanen, Juolevi = not as good/jury’s out), a mixed job of FA signings (Miller, Vrbata Yr 1, Vanek, Stetcher = good, Sutter, Sbisa, Eriksson, MDZ = not so good), a generally poor job of trades (Lack, Baertschi, Granlund, Pouliot, Goldobin, Dahlen = good, Sutter, Gudbranson, Etem, Vey, Kassian = not good/godawful) and mixed on the TDL.

    I think I’m ok with another three years. One question I’d have for all those who are so critical is how long you would give to see a rebuild and where we should be at Year 3. If the goal is to compete and win we are obviously terrible. But if the goal is to build a prospect pipeline and strengthen the farm team (as clearly has been the case in Utica versus our previous AHL affiliates under Gillis) then it’s a different story.

    Three years into the Pat Quinn era we’d missed the playoffs 2 of those years. Three years into the Brian Burke era we were pretty epically bad. But in both of those cases the dominant teams that would emerge didn’t come just out of the draft and years of being terrible. Yes, you had the generational drafts of the Sedins and Bure, plus a few good other picks scattered here or there (but not really a whole lot). But you had a lot of attempts to “shortcut” the rebuilds by trading picks and prospects or veterans for youngish but proven players (Adams, McLean; Naslund, Bertuzzi, Morrison, McCabe). I think we really need to dispense with the fallacy that you rebuild through the draft. I don’t really see much evidence that this is the case. Holding out for lottery tickets is no way to build a franchise.

    • LTFan

      RealPB – great post and analysis of the Canucks situation. I can never understand the logic of trading an NHL player for a draft pick, especially when it is for a 3rd Round and later pick.

    • WiseCanuck

      Jeezusss H – another boring sanctimonious war and peace novel from Real pLEb – unbelievable… I couldn’t spare an hour trudge through it all but i did see that here is another blind ignorant muppet who cannot acknowledge what an incredible job McPhee and Gallant have done taking everyones cast offs with zero superstars or draft picks on their roster to oversee Vegas into becoming a legit SC contender in their FIRST season… in comparison, how is Benning doing in four years again guys…

    • mR_twiddleR

      “But you had a lot of attempts to “shortcut” the rebuilds by trading picks and prospects or veterans for youngish but proven players (Adams, McLean; Naslund, Bertuzzi, Morrison, McCabe). I think we really need to dispense with the fallacy that you rebuild through the draft. I don’t really see much evidence that this is the case. Holding out for lottery tickets is no way to build a franchise.”

      Well said. I could expand that list of ex-Canucks acquired via trade 10x. Great point.

    • TD

      I agree with a lot of what you have said, but all your examples of trading and not building through the draft (Naslund, Bertuzzi etc) came before the salary cap. I think you can still trade vets for good prospects, but the salary cap has changed the league. Teams need some players producing on entry level contracts to stay competitive.

      • liqueur des fenetres

        And that’s where cap space becomes even more important, as we’ve seen plenty of teams gain good prospects as a sweetener for taking on bad contracts. By being consistently up against the cap the Canucks have taken themselves out of that game.

        • Ser Jaime Lannister

          Agree with this approach, take on 1 or 2 bad contracts (1-3 year max) and sign a UFA or two on 1 year deals and gather as many picks as possible and lets play ball! Next few years will be rough but who cares keep drafting strong and well ice a winner!!!

    • Freud

      The most glaring hardcore fan error has to be believing that their prospects are special (I mean they might be, but they’re probably not), or completely forgetting that other teams have prospects too. – Justin Bourne

      • Pettersson is on pace to break the SHL’s U20 scoring record and Gaudette leads the NCAA in scoring and Hobey Baker award voting. Dahlen is Top 3 scoring in Allsvenskan while playing 20% fewer games than the Top 2. Half of those guys represented their country in the U20 WJC. Yup, nothing special there…

        • Freud

          Baertschi was the 9th rated NHL prospect in 2012 after he had scored 3 goals in 5 games for Calgary and had averaged over 2pts a game in the WHL.

          He was just scratched by a 29th place team that has won one of it’s last seven games.

          You keep being you, champ. Just trying to save you the eventual heartbreak.

          • Except that I don’t cherrypick or insist that every prospect will reach their ceiling. But what I did was point out a number of very good to excellent prospects that Benning has accumulated. If it appears that I’m selecting all of them it is because Benning has accumulated a large number of good prospects via draft, trade or FA signing.

            I think it’s hilarious that you believe that Pettersson is a flop. Even when a prospect dominates in development and gets named as the top prospect on a high profile list, you think that Benning is a failure. Just shows how much of a troll and likely an unhappy person you are.

            For a person who adopted the user name “Freud”, you fail to do much introspection.

        • There’s a very good chance Petterson will be a high-end player in the NHL, and that Gaudette and Dahlen will be solid complementary players. But none of these players have played a single minute in the NHL.

          Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched.

      • TheRealPB

        I’d say you compound that by thinking your prospects are so good that they cannot or should not be given up. While the Canucks certainly paid a price for that kind of logic in the past (Neely, Vaive) I don’t know how many of the prospects we’ve given up and bemoaned the loss of we have actually missed. How’s Shinkaruk doing these days?

        • People still harp about trading Grabner, who wasn’t going to get a spot on the stacked 2010/2011 Canucks. More recently, I’d really like to have Gustav Forsling back. But you’re right generally – the point at which an organization moves on from a prospect is *usually* the point at which they’ve figured out the prospect is unlikely to be an impact player.

          • TD

            I thought Grabner looked good when they called him up and I though they should have traded Mason Raymond and kept Grabner. Not because I necessarily saw how their careers would go, but because teams need to trade non core players to stay within the cap and keep cycling youth into the lineup. Raymond just scored 25 goals and would have been worth a fair amount.

            I also said to try a trade Kessler for a number one D man after his 40 goal Selke season as we had Hodgson waiting in the wings. Hodgson certainly didn’t work out. But I think the theory is solid. It’s how Chicago won three cups. Identify your core players and keep them. As you win, your other players have and inflated value which you can capitalize on to keep your salary within the cap. Unfortunately for Chicago, their core is getting a little long in the tooth (Seabrook and even Toews). But after three cups who can complain.

            Gillis attempted to keep everyone as they got older and got them to sign below value by offering long contract with no trade clauses. As Torts identified, they were old and stale with no youth and no prospects.

      • WiseCanuck

        Spot on as usual Freud. The laugher is these armchair fantasists crow about Canuck prospects doing well in INFERIOR leagues that are not even close to the AHL level let alone the bigs. Over 80 per cent of NHL players graduate from the AHL ffs!

        Guys, get back to me when these Canuck wannabe kids tear it up in the A like Matt Murray, Guentzel, Dumoulin and Sheary et al have for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and then get called up to the Pens and help deliver the Stanley Cup two years running… until that happens, stop living in lala land because it means NOTHING see!!

      • Silverback

        There are generally three types of fans. Those who are diehard optimists who always see sunny skies, those who who have a healthy discourse and can communicate objectively, and those cancerous, negative armchair GMs’ who make even those who are mentally fit want to slit their wrists. You fit into the third category. With a name like Freud, I find that ironic.

  • Vintage

    There are probably a lot of good points and well backed up arguments made in this blog, but you know, it’s been written a thousand times already just on this site. The drum is beat, the horse is dead, can we just move forward and talk about something new?

      • Vintage

        So does this mean bloggers and fans aren’t actually smarter than the management group? If we were, surely we could come up with some more interesting topics to discuss…

      • Freud

        Speaking of press conferences, check out this Edmonton Oilers press release gem from June 12, 2012..

        “President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe announced today the Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms on a new contract for General Manager Steve Tambellini.

        Kevin Lowe says, “Three years ago we asked Steve to begin a rebuild which we all know hasn’t been easy. However, Oilers fans can take some consolation in the fact that Steve and his staff have acquired some amazing talent which will most definitely be the cornerstone to future sustained success for the Edmonton Oilers.”

          • truthseeker

            How someone like you can’t see “stock sports phrase” is even more baffling.

            Like seriously….are you that thick? Has there ever been a bad professional sports team with young talent that has said anything else?

            I bet you just swoon when you hear players saying “I’m just going out there and trying to be a good teammate.”

          • Freud

            Oilersnation in 2012 was filled with the same numbers of apologists and excuse makers. They all regret their simple minded arguments in favour of Lowe and Tambellini now. Then Chiarelli came on board and the same dimwits were back on the justification bandwagon when he was trading for Rinehart, signing Lucic and trading Hall. Chiarelli may have left the Bruins in a giant mess but he won a cup! They loudly stated.
            If we don’t learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.

          • Dirk22

            A lot more than just “stock sport phrases” big guy. Ex-players running the show. Bottom of the standings every year. GM acquiring crappy veteran players. Setting back the team with trades. Fans thinking ‘they’re set’ with prospects in place. We know how this ends.


          • truthseeker

            Actually we don’t.

            You’re a self loather Dirk. And the comments you’ve made in this thread are the perfect example.

            We’ve missed the playoffs for 3 seasons now. Not 10. We aren’t the oilers yet. We might become that, or we might not. But you’ve already concluded we have. And that is exactly what makes you a self loather. You wallow in negativity. You disappear on the comments board when anything goes right for the team. Only show up to comment when you think things prove your bad points.

            You have no interest in an unbiased opinion. Like many canuck “fans” you enjoy living in a world of constant negativity because when it does go wrong (as it often does with the canucks) then you get to be “right”. It gives you that feeling that you’ve “won” something. It’s a hole many canuck fans have fallen into simply because the team has such a brutal history of losing there is this f…king weird cycle you people put yourselves into in which you get to be satisfied about being right about them being bad.

            Sad existence. Pathetic really.

            Unlike you, I’m not afraid to give credit when it’s due and I’m not afraid to criticize when it’s deserved. And frankly, while I love hockey, in the end I really just don’t give enough of a sh….about grown men playing a game to allow myself to get so emotionally invested one way or the other. It just really doesn’t matter. Which really makes watching the canucks much more fun. If they win…great…if they don’t…meh…whatever….I’ll turn it off and go do something more interesting and won’t let it ruin my day.

            You have a single minded negativity towards this management group that is only a cut more reasonable than that f..king idiot wisecanuck and the *rest of those guys who seem to post exactly like him. You’re almost the mirror image of that Bud guy who can never see anything negative about this management group, which is just as weird and just as f..king stupid.

            He’s an extremist and you’re an extremist too. You of the self loathing variety and him of the…I don’t know…blind variety. Either way you’re both illogical.

          • Dirk22

            Not true. I praised him for a good deadline last year. I praised him for the Pettersson pick. Go back and check if you’d like.

            For someone who doesn’t care about the Canucks that much you sure seem to get pretty emotional.

          • truthseeker

            Assume whatever emotion you’d like. If it makes you happy to think I’m all riled up a the keyboard good for you. Funny how it’s always people who’s arguments are getting their azzes kicked who claim the other person is “emotional” though…lol.

            Fine Dirk. You threw a little credit his way on a couple of things so you wouldn’t look like wisecanuck. Congratulations, you’re not a full on troll. Doesn’t change a thing about your attitude.

          • Bud Poile

            F U ,Truthseeker.
            I’ve watched this team since inception and enjoyed watching the Canucks because it’s the NHL-win or lose.
            There’s plenty of great players and teams that I have watched and enjoyed over the years.
            I guess you had to be alive before there was no NHL in B.C. to have some idea.
            Channels 2 and 6 were all there was. No net,no live streaming.No fcking cable is more like it.Read the paper.Subscribe to Hockey News.Listen to CKNW.
            If I was such a homer I would support Gillis’ destruction of the franchise.
            It’s all about the health of the franchise to me and the enjoyment of NHL calibre hockey every day.
            The future is being rebuilt consistently by Benning and that’s super positive for me and my love of NHL hockey in Vancouver for B.C. hockey fans.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    Stecher is 23. He’ll be a top 4 defensemen in the NHL for years to come. I still think better coaching could do the same for Pouliot and Hutton. Why not hire Ohlund? You can’t tell me he does not know more about playing defence in the NHL than Baumgartner. And while they are at it, get rid of Cloutier as well. He’s managed to destroy Markstromm.

    • jaybird43

      Not to rain on your parade Boyd, but a good/great player isn’t necessarily a good or great coach. Two very different skill sets … e.g. Gretzky the player, Gretzky the coach; Adam Oates the player, Oates the coach.

      • liqueur des fenetres

        Cloutier the player, Cloutier the coach.
        Whatever happened to Melanson? He seemed to be doing rather well working with goalies, until Miller ran him out of town.

        • defenceman factory

          Cloutier, Linden’s buddy, hasn’t really demonstrated he has any value and arguably has subtracted some.

          Melanson’s departure and the reasons for it were well reported on this site and elsewhere. Miller had nothing to do with it. So why don’t you look it up before you make stupid, ignorant remarks about Miller.

          • liqueur des fenetres

            The reasons for his departure were pure PR spin. It was said he was retiring from hockey and going to be closer to his family on the east coast. And then he turns up in New Jersey, coaching Schneider who he coached before in Vancouver. Ha ha you’re right, he probably left Vancouver because he saw that Miller had nothing left to learn.

          • defenceman factory

            Never heard anything about him retiring. He worked with the Canucks in Utica before he got the gig in Jersey. I know that doesn’t fit your window licker conspiracy theory but then you never seem too concerned with the truth.

        • Fortitude00

          “When I played my last year in Montreal, dad was sick,” Melanson said Saturday, referring to the fall of 1991. “He had cancer, lung cancer. And I knew when I shook his hand in September (to leave for training camp), the next time I saw him, he wouldn’t be alive. I would liked to have spent those last six months with dad. But I didn’t have that option. The game is cruel that way.

          “With my mom, there’s no way I’m going to let that happen. I want to spend time with her. She’s 84 years old, not getting any younger. Hockey has been my whole life. And it’s been an unbelievable ride. But I know in my heart, this is the best thing to do.”

    • It appears that Markstrom has regressed under Cloutier’s tutelage. He’s getting beat inside, an problem that Melanson really focused on while both were in Utica. There was an article, I believe it was on CA, that showed the change in technique. I’ve noticed a lot of goals slipping through gaps under Markstrom’s arms and other places, a product of his huge size. The Canucks really should review Cloutier’s work and see if they should consider bringing in additional goaltending coaches (not necessarily replacing Cloutier but getting additional teachers).

  • Silverback

    “Here’s the list of defencemen Benning has added to the Canucks: Luca Sbisa, Andrey Pedan, Adam Clendening, Matt Bartkowski, Troy Stecher, Philip Larsen, Erik Gudbranson, Michael Del Zotto, Derrick Pouliot and Patrick Wiercioch”

    I guess Juolevi, Chatfield, Holm and Tryamkin don’t count in your list? I may be nit picking, but if you want to make a point, provide all the names of all the defencemen , not just the ones to suite your narrative.

  • Fred-65

    With the arrival of Boston in town makes you think how well they’ve managed to retool on the fly. Most of the reset has been done since JB and PC left the organization. This lead one to ask was resigning JB the best move. Cam Neely once again is a thorn in VCR side as he reignites the Bruins. Cam did what TL couldn’t do and make a fresh start and the standing verifies who was right Neely or Linden

    • defenceman factory

      Boston retooled on the fly with a scouting department constructed by Benning. I hope he gets to finish building the scouting department here before he goes.

        • defenceman factory

          Benning had a lot to do with the Boston picks in 2014. Yes, in hindsight, Pastenak was a better pick than McCann. Pretty hard to take over an organization, trade Kesler, find a starting goalie and change the course of a scouting department in a month.

          So did Benning leave the Bruins with a good scouting department?

          • liqueur des fenetres

            But why didn’t he take Pastrnak, since if he had been involved with scouting in Boston he would have know that he was high on their list. He didn’t need any insights from Vancouver scouts to make that pick. Maybe Benning really didn’t have much to do with Boston’s scouting, or thought he was better than them?

        • Mathias

          Because McCann was seen as an absolute steal at the spot he was taken.
          You don’t remember “It is what it is?”
          McCann has publicly apologized for his attitude since joining Florida.
          Personally, I’m glad Benning cuts the weasels and princesses.
          Not enough cred is given to him for the culture change he has made to the dressing room & public.

    • DJ_44

      Boston was in a much different situation; to equate the two not a fair evaluation of either organization. If Vancouver would have draft like Benning has done from 2014-17 (don’t look at high first rounders if you want a fair comparison) back in 2007-2011; then it would be reasonable.

      Bergeron is a Hart Trophy (not just Selke) type of center. He is boarderline generational. They have Marchand, and Kregi; and they had a pipeline of prospects (not great) including Dougie Hamilton, that they could leaverage for picks. They also moved Kessel in the prior to their Cup run. Again, stocking the cupboard of picks and prospects while they still had a core.

      Vancouver had no prospects other than Horvat, they signed terrible contracts post cup run (an Luongo the year before), and basically had no option by to re-sign the Sedins and 4x7Mx2 because, well, what else could they do. They painted themselves into a corner.

      • Holly Wood

        The Bruins core is still Marchand and Bergeron, that are still able to perform at the same level as 2011. Sadly our core Daniel and Henrick are past their prime

        • DJ_44

          Exactly. That is why I framed the draft years as I did. They restocked while the core is in their prime, not after the fact. The challenged faced, and facing the Canucks had its basis in poor drafting in the Nonis years, and then continuing for six more under Gillis/Gilman.

          • Holly Wood

            At one point I actually felt Gillis was doing a pretty good job, with some trades and the sleep doctor thing that almost took them to the cup. But then when I looked at the prospect pool and seen nothing on the way I knew at that time the franchise was in for a rough spell and here it is. Canucks draft record during The Gillis years is absolutely abysmal. Not sure why half of this group still doesn’t understand it’s Gillis that dug the hole. Clearly it’s not easy to rebuild with next to nothing drafted from 08 to 13.

        • Lemmy Kilmister

          They may be a bit of a shell of thier former past however, they are still performing quite well, its just rather unfortunate besides horvat and boeser at this point they are still relied upon to produce.

          IMO, besides all the draft picks they gave up the forsling, sutter & gudbranson trades were totaly uneccesary and provided nothing but to add cap space.

          That gubranson trade just looks horrible when you think they could have Debrincat and Mcann… both on entry level contracts?

          • DJ_44

            Cap space, at this stage, is a strawman. The Caunucks will have cap-space when they need it. They are not near the cap, especially when you consider LTIR and other factors. They will have a glut of ELCs playing in on the team over the next couple years.

            $ 14M comes off the books from the Sedins alone; trade Hutton and you get another $2.8M. Even if Hank and Daniel come back, you are still over $11M up with only minor RFAs to resign. Gagner and MDZ will be off over the next couple, same with Edler.

            Benning has looked to the future and appears to know when the bills will be due.

  • Holly Wood

    This thread is getting a little old but just checked out the 2007 draft where players from that group are core players on many teams. Are you ready for this, Vancouver drafted 6 players from that group that have played zero, yes no games played in the nhl from that draft.

    • Fred-65

      If I recall rightly Gillis joined the Canucks in 23 April 2008. He was the most successful GM in the franchise history, winning 2 ( previously never achieved ) Preseident Trophies and getting to the 7th game of the SC despite Luongo’s ( & Mrs Luongo ) off ice escapades. There is some reason to think that the success on the ice was the reason for the bad drafting. VCR drafted 10th, 22nd, 25th, 29th, 26th and finally 9th after the Schneider trade ( when the rebuild started ) Horvat is still the back bone of this franchise. Check out who was taken after the Canucks pick


      Don’t just look at the possible better players but look at the players drafted that never made the NHL period, this is not confined to Gillis like errors, there’s a whole bunch of GM/scouts who drafted no hopers, ie GIllis is not alone. Neither is JB, with what is generally accepted wisdom that Virtanen is not a top 6 pick, probably OJ too. Here’s where because of on ice incompetence VCR has drafted in the JB era. 6th, 23rd, 5th and 5th. They will draft in the top 5 again this draft, because of their poor on ice record. Do you see any difference between where Gillis picked and where JB picked ….I thought so. I’m no more interested in promoting Gillis than JB but I can tell you this, as a Season Ticket holder I enjoyed going to Roger’s Arena a lot more during the Gillis era and I certainly got better value for my hard earned dollar. Could Gillis have done better…for sure He did bring in the current head of amateur scouting Judd Bracket and he tried valiantly to make VCR a destination of choice for players with off ice facility upgrades. The new Locker room, the purchase of their own AHL franchise so we didn’t have to suffer the likes of the Chicago Wolves again, he addressed the sleep problem and fought long and hard for better scheduling. Gillis problem was he was an academic first and fore most he ruffled peoples feathers and didn’t suffer fools easily. Was Gilman a better hire than Wiesbrod but he could have been IMO more aggressive in clearing out deadwood. He tried to promote from within the franchise as a means to bringing loyalty and pride in the organization. So all in all he did some good thing and he made some bad things, but I’d think no btter than any other GM and at the end of the day his impact on VCR was better than many of his predecessor and in some ways better than his successor IF If only Aquaman didn’t stymie Gillis when he wanted to start the rebuild in 2013 when he traded away Schneider and drafted Horvat this franchise would be in a better place and last night win against the Bruin would not considered a fluke

      • DJ_44

        I do not think people do not understand the situation Gillis inherited and what he did with it. He was apparently good at organizational management.

        His problem was terrible drafting and development. This is the life blood of the franchise, and he left nothing.

        Remove the Canucks high first round picks from both management team then you compare apples to apples.
        See? Not much. a 6/7 dman (generously) in Hutton, Gaunce, and Shinkaruk? He did draft Grabner, but traded him and a first for Keith Ballard.

        So yeah, your “hard earned dollar” received better value when the Burke/Nonis core were in their prime. But you are now paying for the major flaws of the previous regime by going the last three years of rebuilding.

        Thanks for your support.

      • Holly Wood

        Fred, you are correct that the 2007 draft is not on Gillis, it’s on Nonis. That’s why I entered it in a separate comment. I disagree with your point that Gillis’s drafting may have been affected by their lower draft position. Does that imply that all drafting after the first round doesn’t provide any prospects. I do agree that Gillis did a lot of good things while GM, but his scouting staff and their drafting is why the Nucks are where they are. Benning seems to have hit on most of his picks and the future looks pretty good to me.

  • bushdog

    saw a note recently where green seemed quite surprised at deployment of dmen. my recall is that he had no response other that something like ‘I don’t know about that, it’s up to bommer, he does the d-stuff’. how can the head coach not have any interest or understanding of what that assistant is doing with his players? sitting hutton and playing a couple of useless dmen seems inane, some would say stupid.
    I want to know WHO has control of the canuck d. does green not have Control of this team?
    some of the d deployment and matches are really brainless.
    Who runs this zoo?

  • jaybird43

    liqueur des fenetres, it’s pretty much a touchstone with the informed high-quality commentators here, that we don’t expect perfection, nor allow commentators to get death with 100% hindsight comments. Hopefully, this fact helps elevates the discussion to more realistic levels?