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Photo Credit: TSN.ca

Jim Benning: I’m not going to mortgage future just to make playoffs

Jim Benning isn’t going to sacrifice the future just so his team can make the playoffs this season.

The Canucks’ GM was on Sportsnet 650 prior to Wednesday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes to talk about the future of the club.

Benning went on The Program with Scott Rintoul and Andrew Walker with the Feb. 25th NHL Trade Deadline approaching. The Canucks sport a 23-22-6 record and are contending for playoff position as they head into the All-Star Break.

“I’m not going to mortgage the future just to try to make a run and make the playoffs”, Benning told the station.

Benning highlighted the significance of Vancouver contending for playoff position and the impact it will have on the young players.

“It important to be playing meaningful games in February for the development of our young players. I’m happy with the team and I’m happy with where we’re at and the players.”

Benning reiterated that the plan has always been to have the young players be the skilled players this season and help the Canucks compete. He gave praise to Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat and their ability to drive the team offensively.

“We set a plan in place at the start of the year. It’s about the long-term growth of our group. Our young players have developed over the course of the year. We traded Nilsson to make room for Thatcher Demko. We want to get a good look at him and get him experience in the second part of the year. We traded Michael Del Zotto. We got some young defensemen here.”

The Canucks boast several top prospects including blueliners Quinn Hughes and Olli Juolevi, forwards Tyler Madden and Jonathan Dahlen and goaltenders Thatcher Demko and Michael DiPietro.

20-year-old Pettersson leads the team in scoring, while 21-year-old Brock Boeser and 23-year-old Bo Horvat are the only other two players on the club with 30-plus points.

“We’re contending for a playoff spot right now because of our young players. These players are going to be our core players moving forward. I’m confident if we can continue to play like this, I think we can make the playoffs this year.”

Even if the Canucks fall short of getting into the postseason, the experience the players will gain from playing these meaningful and tight games should go a long way. It’s been four years since the Canucks last made the postseason.

“I think that would be good experience for our young players to play playoff games and it would be great for their development. Just to be in the race is valuable experience.”

Benning went on to say he’s impressed with the players available in the 2019 NHL Draft and believes the Canucks will land a key player even if they end up making the playoffs.

“We’re going to get a good player in the first round again. If we’re lucky enough to make the playoffs, we’re still going to get a good player at 16,17, 18…”

The Canucks are right in the thick of the postseason race, but don’t expect Benning to deal away the future just to ensure they lock down a playoff spot.



    • Ronning4ever

      Honestly, who do they have left to move? Can’t touch the right side D, rest of the D in Utica is decimated by injuries, goalie has been dealt.

      Motte? Granlund? Both cost-controlled RFAs with prob limited market. Gagner? Schaller? Likely no takers.

      I think you might see a one-for-one swap, but I don’t see where they’d get any more futures. In fact I’ve been impressed they got picks at all for Nillson and MDZ.

      • Goon

        Baertschi, if they want to make room for one or more of Goldobin, Lind, Dahlen, Gadjovich, MacEwan, etc. going into next season. Or Goldobin, if Green’s not going to play him. Sutter and Gudbranson should both be moved – Sutter because he has value and is keeping Gaudette out of the lineup, and Gudbranson because he inexplicably has value despite being terrible. Edler should be moved – Benning should be moving heaven and earth to convince Edler to waive his NTC, and should re-sign him in the summer if Edler wants to be in Vancouver so badly.

        Baertschi, Sutter, Edler, and Gudbranson are all players who should command a solid return and who either don’t fit in the long-term plans of the team due to redundancy or better, younger internal options (Baertschi, Sutter, Gudbranson), or can be re-signed in the offseason (Edler).

        • Ronning4ever

          Baertschi is their only LW currently scoring at a first line pace – no way they trade him until there are better options in the top 6 (which are currently him, Rousell, Goldobin or Leivo). Lind, Dahlen, Gadjovich, aren’t likely leaving the farm for another 2 – 3 years. MacEwan is more likely a bottom 6 replacement (Motte, Granlund, etc)

          Sutter – NTC. They also won’t trade him until they are sure about a replacement either through continued development of Gaudette or the FA/trade market. Edler – NTC and I think they’d prefer him in a top 8 role over Pouliot. Guddy isn’t getting moved until they have a replacement on the RHD and enough RHD depth in the org.

          Basically, if you’re arguing moving out Baertschi, Sutter, Edler, and Gudbranson for futures, I just can’t see it happening this year…though you could hypothetically see a 1 for 1 swap for Baertschi or Guddy.

    • DJ_44

      sounds like Benning is also saying he won’t be selling at the deadline

      He actually did not say that and left the door open, albeit he really only alluded to Edler. He stated he will sit down with Alex and his agent and “see where they are at”.

      • Ferland’s value is overhyped by media. He’s at best a middle-6 forward that was a good complimentary player with good first line players (e.g. Aho, Teravainen, Gaudreau, Monahan). Good Corsi/Fenwick given his TOI with a good physical game but mediocre point production. Not worth that going rate for UFA’s these days (which is too much already). I wouldn’t make any attempt to acquire Ferland.

        • petey 40

          More blind ignorance from the same joker who wanted Ville Pokka on the team to play alongside Pedan!

          Ferland is exactly what this team needs, especially to protect the wimp Elias – clearly you laughers have forgotten what a one man wrecking crew Ferland was when the Flames destroyed us in the playoffs…

          • Canuck4Life20

            That fact that you change account names more than your stained tighty whiteys doesn’t change that you were calling for Middlestadt over Pettersson as recently as 3 months ago. Who the fu*k are you to bring up past comments with cold takes like that hanging over your greasy head?

          • DeL

            I wouldn’t call Elias a wimp , he’s not afraid to go to the dirty areas and plays a 200 ft. game which is more than I can say for Goldobin. I for one do remember Ferland’s play during that first round series the Canucks were intimidated by him. Brock Petey and Ferland would not look bad together. If they played Jake with Sven and Bo voila two serviceable lines.

        • Goon

          Agree completely. The only way it’s worth trying to acquire Ferland is if you can get permission to negotiate with him *first*, and you know you’re going to get him to a reasonable contract – something between 3-4 million. Otherwise, no way.

  • wojohowitz

    No one is asking Benning to mortgage the future. If anything fans want to see the future in players like Brisebois and McEneny instead of deadweights like Pouliot and Gudbranson. Even Aquilini`s tweet is an expression of frustration at the roster right now. Maybe even a pylon like Schenn could be an improvement.

    • Chris the Curmudgeon

      If Brisebois and McEneny are the future then I am a little concerned for it. Though I would still prefer watching them to Pouliot and Gudbranson.

      • Guys like Hughes and Juolevi are a given, it’s just a matter of when they debut. The jury is out on guys like Brisebois and McEneny and we would like to see if they have any NHL potential by seeing them in an NHL situation.

        • petey 40

          Juolevi is anything BUT a ‘given’ considering he is an injury prone nightmare top five pick BUST yet to play an NHL game three seasons post draft… but what can we expect from the armchair genius who insisted…

          “This is a situation where Pedan’s brawn could be applied as an enforcer/PP specialist under Newell Brown’s expertise.” – Forever 1915

    • 51Geezer

      Benning sees what see in Guddy, but he can’t admit it, obviously. He will likely try to move him at the TDL and replace him with Schenn. Pylon though he may be, Schenn can fill in for the last few games.

  • Fred-65

    It’s reassuring to know JB is in eline with a build priority. The only thing he has to do now is get a couple of D up to have a serious look ie how do they compare with Pouliot, Biega and Gudbranson. I’d have thought prior to the TDL would be best but certainly before the end of the season. If there is any appealing player to move at the deadline it would be Gudbranson he’s more likely to a significant part for a play-off style hockey run than others. His style is made for play-off hockey .. or it should be

    • Beer Can Boyd

      Apparently his style is best suited to having the worst statistical metrics of any defensman in the NHL over the last 3 years. He’s big, he can skate, great teammate, he’s a handsome devil, he’s just not a good hockey player. He did have me fooled for a while this year.

      • kablebike

        Well, the refs put the whistles away in the playoffs because they do not want to be the deciding factor in a game or series. I suspect, but am not confident, that Guddy would do better in the playoffs than the regular season when some hooking, holding, slashing, and roughing (upper cutting) is let go.

        • Beer Can Boyd

          I want to TRADE Tanev for what some think could be a first round pick. I want to dump Guddy for whatever they can get for him. I want the Canucks to contend in 2 years. The team they have now will not do that.

  • petey 40

    Typical contradictory double talk from the flip flopping liar who told us…

    “This is a team we can turn around in a hurry.” Jim Benning May 23 2014

    “We’ve never once said this was going to be easy or fast.” Jim Benning April 08 2016

    and…

    “The bottom line is our goal is win games and to be competitive to make the playoffs. That’s what we’re here for.” Jim Benning Feb 14th 2018

    “I’m not going to mortgage the future just to try to make a run and make the playoffs” – Benning

    The opportunity to deal for game changers like Skinner, O’Reilly and Nino ‘Canuck Killer’ Niederreiter and actually make the playoffs with a WINNING RECORD and DEPTH for a decent RUN has been squandered time after time.

    This five year failure needs to be canned asap – just like the guy who mentored him in Bawstan has been. This is a results business… THINK about that.

    • #29JackMack

      Thinking about it Petey40…name me one full rebuild with very few assets to begin with that took only 5 years. More like 8-10 if a lot of decisions go right. All you Canuck Management haters have no clue of the difficulty, you like like point out the mistakes, and there always is. Must be nice to be perfect hiding behind your keyboard in your parents dank basement!

      • Bud Poile

        Three years of rebuild.
        They hit playoffs the first year with a 48-29-5 record, drafted Boeser @ #23 and the Hobey Baker winner @ #149.
        Petey40 is a multiple banned troll. His Benning hate is so old it has become a comedy act.

        • petey 40

          Speaking of contradictory double talk from a flip flopping liar…

          “Boeser,Pettersson and Hughes aren’t challenging for a Stanley Cup any time soon.” bi-polar Bud Poile
          *followed by*
          “The team is rebuilt and competitive within just two down years. From talent waster/franchise destroyer to rebuilt,exciting hockey squad in record time. Ungrateful morons” – bi=polar Bud Poile

          and…

          “There has to be implementation of a succession plan,not just draft party dreams.” – bi-polar Bud Poile
          *followed by*
          “Benning has rebuilt the Canucks in essentially four drafts” – bi-polar Bud Poile

          WTF!!!!!!!! As you can see, this proven pathological fantasist troll who was TOLD to leave the site over a year ago is truly out of his f-kin mind.

      • petey 40

        WTF newbie!!! This is NOT a full rebuild ffs. Benning’s FA signings, holding on to vets and giving away draft picks consistently prove this. Toronto and Buffalo are the best recent examples of full (gutting the team/tanking) rebuilds, and both are clearly benefitting from it.

        The Hurricanes won 52 games and hoisted the cup just two seasons after finishing 28-34-14.

        Vegas are the prime example of how a team can be an instant success with the right management in place. The standings show It’s not a one season wonder either. Outstanding management and coaching in LV.

        This season Calgary, the Islanders, Montreal and Dallas are ALL currently headed back to the playoffs by turning it around in just half a season.

        In comparison the Canucks are still hot garbage after FOUR straight basement finishes. Smell the coffee and stop living off Petey highlight reels armchair yappers.

        • Kootenaydude

          You’re an idiot. Buffalo has missed the playoffs for 8 consecutive years. They didn’t do a good rebuild. They sucked for so fu#*+ng long that eventually they had enough high first rounders to actually win a few games, but still couldn’t make the playoffs. It took a veteran in Skinner to put them in playoff contention and they are still a bubble team. Rebuild like Buffalo. Give it a break already.

  • McDale

    I seriously hope he keeps his word on this one. (Unless of course he is trading one-for-one for any of the lower end D) Pouliot, Guddy – wouldn’t cry over them being flipped for something.

  • MM

    Well he made room for a goalie, and for a dman. Hopefully for a forward too… to get Gaudette up? The logical person to trade to get gaudette up is Sutter, but he has a full NTC until the summer. So if that trade happens it’s probably not TDL.

    The only person Benning talked about in a possible trade is Edler. So i dont really see anyone being sold but possibly him depending on “their discussion” after he gets back from Red Deer.

    • Beefus

      If Benning let’s Sutter know that he is not in the team’s long range plans then he may agree to a trade at the deadline if it’s to a team that he’s comfortable with. There would be no point to forcing the team to keep him if he can be offloaded to any team in the summer when his NTC expires.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    So basically, we might make the playoffs and then we’ll lose in the first round to pick at those spots. Nice to know that it’ll be worth tuning in to that series.

  • El Kabong

    “We’re going to get a good player in the first round again. If we’re lucky enough to make the playoffs, we’re still going to get a good player at 16,17, 18…”

    Benning just admitted that if the Canucks do slip into the play-offs he’s conceded they will be out on the first round. I would rather haver the lottery pick for one more year.

    • Sman Styl

      I think the way it works is that your draft position changes if you make it past the second round. Meaning if you have the 17th worst record you pick 17th unless you make the final 4, then you would pick 28-31st. Unless it’s changed recently.

  • LACANUCK

    Maybe now the CA staff can stop ringing their hands about” adding players to make a run” and the bad trades that will ensue.

    Fact is any trades signing up to this year was to try and help the Sedins make it one more time to the playoffs. You can disagree with the decisions but I think the organization owed them that. Loui was the last BiG try, guys like Gagne were lower risk additions. The teams leaders are all younger and we have 1 new Dman and possibly a second, get well soon Olli, coming next year which will add a spark. With continued development and cap room the Canucks are in a good place. Watching games that count in the Spring will be a welcome sight.

  • Kanuckhotep

    If Benning needs to shore up anywhere it’s on the blue line. You might have to wait though til July 1st to perhaps see an FA D signing of some sort but it may be expensive. There have been ongoing narratives about the availabilities of Myers and Gardiner but the Canucks need solid D help going into next year. Hard to say if these guys are the right fit but the defence corps presently is far from set going forward.

    • Beer Can Boyd

      As someone said a while back, “Why would you want Myers when you could have Karlsson for 4 million more per year”, which is the price of a decent 3rd line winger. I know who I’d rather have

  • Hockey Bunker

    Also don’t want to mortgage the future by trading Edler and Tanev just to collect draft picks who will take 3 years or more to develop into dependable D men if you are lucky.
    Need to guard against the Oilers scenario where everytime they fill a hole they create another one and so don’t progress.
    Luckily JB is smarter than all of us!!!!

    • Kanucked

      Mortgage the future by trading a 32 year defenseman who is going to be a UFA?

      Btw, the Oilers traded away draft picks to acquire a Dman. Barzal was drafted using that pick.

      I agree that JB seems smarter than you.

      • Beer Can Boyd

        And a 29 year old D-man whos play has definitely shown signs of decline this year? Edler, Tanev, and Sutter are not the Canucks future, and they should maximize their return for them right now.

        • Hockey Bunker

          Beer Can if you move Tanev you get 20+ minutes of Guddy a night. And as for losing a step, in watching him closely I think Tanev’s defensive positioning of late has been superb.
          One final thing, judging a return on an asset is how it makes the team better . Canucks have picks every year anyway so creating two huge holes now won’t make the team better now and won’t necessarily make it better than it would be in 3 years anyway. Let it evolve, no need for a revolution comrade

      • Hockey Bunker

        Kanucked and Beer Can look at the D without Edler and Tanev. It will be horrible for a minimum 3 years with Hutton and Stecher as your number one pair, two or 3 rookies and 20 minutes a night of Guddy. So then you have to sign free agents who are no better, to big contracts.
        With perfect drafting and development, it’ll be three more years of bottom finishes at which time you’ll be saying time to trade that old guy Horvat.
        And yes JB is smarter than me.

        • Kanucked

          You’re making quite a few leaps in your conclusions. Your biggest assumption is that things remain static. First, it would be a mistake to assume the play of Edler and Tanev will remain the same. It is more likely to decline. The question is how quickly or can they remain healthy.

          Second you assume that none of the other players/prospects will improve.

          Third, the contracts for Edler and Tanev aren’t long term. So the Canucks need to resign them or lose them for nothing. You assume that neither player will want that free agent money or term to stay. If they’re playing well, they will likely be sought after. If they’re not, why would we want them.

          Sorry, Edler and Tanev aren’t the silver bullet to the defence. The Canucks are going to have to do the hard work of finding the defence of the future. The safest way is draft and develop.

          • Beer Can Boyd

            3 excellent points, I might add a 4th. The Canucks are not contenders at this point, with this personnel. 2 aging defensemen are not going to magically turn them into one in 2 years. And don’t buy into the “anything outside the top 5 picks is a crapshoot” bs. So many great players, including defensemen like Subban, Keith, Adam Foote, and Chris Chelios were 2nd round picks. They would get that and more for Edler, Tanev, or Sutter. Maybe even Gudbranson if they call Dale Tallon. Full rebuild means full rebuild , petey 40 is correct about that.

          • Hockey Bunker

            Yes we all make assumptions.
            You assume they will leave. Edler says he wants to stay and doesn’t strike me as a liar.
            You assume their play will deteriorate to a point where they are no longer effective in any role, I assume they will remain valuable.
            You assume the players we could draft will take their place. I say use the picks you have with others you get from dialing non essential players and see if the draftees are good enough.
            We agree the team needs to get better, I guess we disagree on whether we need to make the team God awful to accomplish it.

          • Kanucked

            “You assume they will leave. Edler says he wants to stay and doesn’t strike me as a liar”

            I’m not assuming he will leave. Yes Edler wants to stay, but at what price and what term? How much of a home town discount will he give?

            “You assume their play will deteriorate to a point where they are no longer effective in any role, I assume they will remain valuable.”

            Of course their play will deteriorate. It’s a question of when and will it slowly decline or quickly.

            “You assume the players we could draft will take their place. I say use the picks you have with others you get from dialing non essential players and see if the draftees are good enough.”

            Not sure I understand your point here, but if you’re saying that we continually evaluate players/prospects, I agree. The team has to do everything in its power to upgrade. Particularly the defence. I believe that trading for established defencemen is expensive, so you need a lot of assets (young players, picks and prospects). Drafting defencemen takes time and has some risk so you need to draft & develop well (so you need many chances at his i.e. a lot of picks). Free agents are expensive to the cap, so you need to have good contracts in place to take on premium contracts. So you need young players on entry level deals to help.

          • DeL

            If Edler’s minutes could be reduced to 20-21 I think he could easily play three more years at a high level. If someone comes calling see what is offered for Tanev and perhaps another piece

          • McDale

            Honestly, there is no point in debating this one without more information. The choice is not the Canuck’s to make… it’s Edler’s. If he doesn’t want to waive his NTC this year, there is no trade to be had, period. What you do with him in the off-season is your only choice then. Personally, both viewpoints are valid, but the Canucks can only speculate until the NTC decision is made.

  • Copperfinch

    Good to hear JB say that, but wouldve preferred to hear him say that mortgaging the future is never a good plan for any team. Just keep building on what you have.

      • Bud Poile

        Brackett’s promotion in August of 2015 and the scouting department purge/overhaul in 2017 are significant milestones.
        Johnson in Utica and the new goaltender development program should positively accelerate the Canucks franchise fortunes from the drafting and development black hole that has been the Canucks legacy.

        • petey 40

          Dumb dumb strikes again… ” significant milestones” he squeaks

          Brackett was a great hire… by MIKE GILLIS you utter fool.
          Ted Hampton was a great hire… by MIKE GILLIS you utter fool.
          Inge Hammarstrom was a great hire… by MIKE GILLIS you utter fool.
          Thomas Gradin was a great hire… by Pat Quinn you utter fool.

          Ron Delorme hired in 1986 by Jack Gordon and was DEMOTED by Gillis… and PROMOTED again by Benning in 2015 lol

          Run along delusional troll who was TOLD to leave over a year ago, tail between legs.

  • Freud

    On June 19, 2018, Weisbrod went on the same radio station and said

    “Being that we’re in a rebuild mode, signing middle aged players to long term deals doesn’t make a lot of sense for us”.

    Ten days later the team signed Beagle and Roussel to 4 year contracts as well as Schaller.

    We could go on about all the other statements that have been proven to be anywhere from dubious to outright lies.

    I’d pump the breaks on taking management’s word on anything they say.