Friday Rewind: The Best & Worst of the Canucks over the Last 7 Days

The Best

Edler Trade Rumours Resurface

“Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.”

That’s pretty much exactly what first came to mind when I got about halfway through Pierre LeBrun’s latest notebook on Thursday morning and read the following about Alexander Edler:

Calls on Alexander Edler have started to come in a little more frequently of late, which of course makes sense with Monday’s deadline just days away.

The most important thing to remember with the veteran, pending UFA blueliner is that he has a full no-trade clause so all trade avenues go through him. I do think at some point soon Canucks GM Jim Benning will go to him and present a trade scenario or two to gauge his interest.

But at the same time, I’m told the dialogue regarding an extension also continues.

If Edler does end up re-signing, I’m not sure it will necessarily be before the deadline. If he doesn’t waive for a trade, there’s no real time element to when he needs to re-sign.

I think what it all comes down to if the kind of trade offers Benning gets over the next five days and what Edler thinks of them.

After spending an inordinate amount of time talking about and debating the Edler contract situation earlier in the season, Canucks fans had by and large come to accept the fact that a trade was highly unlikely.

With a full no-trade clause, Edler has full control of this entire situation. And that’s a right that he’s earned. If he doesn’t want to go anywhere, there is nothing the Canucks can do about that.

It’s been very public knowledge for what feels like forever that Edler has never had any desire whatsoever to play anywhere else.

The Canucks also don’t have the depth to cope with the loss of someone like Edler, who at the age of 32 is still the team’s best defenceman. We’re seeing right now what a Canucks defence without Edler or Tanev looks like on the ice, and it isn’t pretty. That’s exactly why management has been so loath over the last few years to part ways with either of those players – they’re afraid of being unable to replace them.

That’s a totally valid concern, whether you agree with how they’ve chosen to address the problem or not. It’s why there’s been so much talk of extensions for both players in spite of their age, increasing injury proneness, and decreasing effectiveness on the ice.

On top of all of that, we just haven’t heard any rumblings on the topic for quite some time now, Edler is currently working his way back from a violent injury to the head, and the trade deadline is only a couple of days away. With all of that taken into consideration, it’s not hard to see why fans have long since accepted that an extension of some kind, and not a trade, was going to be the inevitable outcome here.

So why is this good news for Canucks fans?

Because in spite of everything I just said, the Canucks are in desperate need of assets to help close the talent gap between the club’s best three young players and their supporting cast. For whatever reason, and despite the draft clearly being a key strength of the organization, management has an almost nonexistent record of making moves to acquire draft picks and good young prospects in exchange for declining assets.

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Instead, their focus has been on making buy-low deals for project players with the potential to be more than they’ve been thus far in their NHL careers. Sven Baertschi is the best example Jim Benning has of this strategy working out, but mostly it’s been an awful lot of garbage in, garbage out. That’s not to say they haven’t made some good deals. The Granlund trade is obviously a win, despite it being criticized at the time. But to what end? My point is not that the Granlund deal wasn’t a win, it’s that all the Canucks have to show for it is Granlund. That’s not how you build a championship team.

With this year’s NHL entry draft taking place in Vancouver, that strategy may just change. Benning has suggested in interviews that the organization (or at least ownership) feels they have to make a show of it at the draft because of their role as host. Whether you agree with that logic or not, the Canucks have already proven their unwillingness to part with any draft picks they can make in their own building. Goaltender Marek Mazanec cost the team a 7th round pick, for example, but for the 2020 draft. It goes to show how seriously they’re taking this draft if they’re that unwilling to give up even a 7th round pick from it.

It’s possible that this same line of thinking is finally leading Canucks management to prioritize moving Edler, if he’ll let them, in exchange for some kind of asset. Adding another 1st round pick or bringing in another good young prospect will do an awful lot to make fans happy, especially if the Canucks manage to do so and still bring Edler back in free agency at a reasonable cap hit and term.

A trade is still unlikely for all of the same reasons it was last week, but if this doesn’t give fans back their hope a deal will happen, it will at least give them a reason to pay attention on deadline day.

Elias Pettersson vs the San Jose Sharks

The Canucks haven’t had the greatest time with teams from California this season, but that doesn’t mean those games haven’t provided a few highlight reel moments. This is what EP40 was doing at the Shark Tank on Saturday:

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The Canucks did not win this game. After getting embarrassed by the Sharks the week before at Rogers Arena, fans understandably didn’t have much hope that this meeting would go any better. There have been a lot of games this season you understandably wouldn’t have given the Canucks much of a chance in.

People are still tuning in to watch, though, and the reason they’re doing so is because Elias Pettersson is the sort of player who pretty much guarantees that you’re going to see something crazy happen any given night that he’s on the ice. The fans know they’re going to be entertained whether the team wins or not.

The team is so much more fun to watch this season than they’ve been the last few years, and this is a perfect example of why that is.

Dice & Ice

The Vancouver Canucks held their 19th annual Dice & Ice charity event on Tuesday night. The event was a great success, as usual, and raised $655,000 for the Canucks for Kids Fund.

Also, apparently this happened:

First of all, I highly doubt anyone needs to be concerned about Pettersson’s love life.

Second, given the context, I think this is a great example of Pettersson showing that he’s getting more and more comfortable with his role in the organization, and as a public person in general. The most common fear in the world is public speaking (it definitely feels like it should be spiders, though), and he’s still struggling to fully learn English. People forget too easily that 19 is still 19. Pettersson deserves some credit for the steps that he’s taken in this regard and the effort he’s clearly making to take those steps.

Guddy Makes Good

Erik Gudbranson receives a fair amount of criticism for his play on the ice, and I’m not the first guy up to defend him when that happens. That being said, I’m a firm believer in giving credit where credit is due. I believe strongly in donating blood as often as you can, and I’ve had more than one person close to me require a bone marrow transplant to save their life. Gudbranson deserves kudos for helping to bring some attention to a great cause.

Jason Momoa – Canucks Fan?!

I don’t think I really need to explain how awesome this is.

The Worst

Virtanen out for One Month

On Monday, Travis Green revealed that Jake Virtanen is expected to be out of the lineup for the next month with a fractured rib. He sustained the injury during a game on Feb. 13 against the Anaheim Ducks, when he collided with centre Ryan Getzlaf near the end of the 1st period. Getzlaf received a minor penalty for interference on the play. Despite the questionable hit being head-high on Virtanen, the Department of Player Safety has let the incident go without comment.

Virtanen’s absence from the lineup is significant for a few reasons. To start with, the first half of his season was a lot better than the second half. 18 of his 22 points were earned before Christmas, with only 1 goal and 3 assists to show for the 19 games he’s appeared in since then. It’s obviously not Jake’s fault that he got hurt, but missing an entire month of hockey as the schedule draws to a close is a serious obstacle to him finding a way to finish the season as strongly as he started it.

As the team’s best skater and fastest player, Virtanen’s absence also immediately makes the Canucks a slower team. In a league that gets faster and faster every year, anything that handicaps you in that regard is bad news.

The final and most important consequence of Virtanen being out of the line up for so long should be obvious to every Shotgun Jake enthusiast out there. Even if he manages to make it back with eight or nine games left to play, he would have to finish the season scoring a goal a game to hit the 20 goal mark. It’s just not gonna happen this year, folks. The movement had an incredible run, and hopefully we’ll get at least one or two more shotguns in before the curtain falls on 2018/19, but the dream has officially died.

Gudbranson Trade a Mistake?

An interesting tidbit of information regarding Erik Gudbranson dropped during the first segment of Tuesday’s Halford & Brough show on TSN 1040:

Mike Halford: And then it’s Horvat and… who? And this is why you keep bringing up the idea of entertaining a top-six winger in free agency. I’m more skeptical. I think they’re gonna get into a bad situation, especially if-
Jason Brough:  No, no, I’m not saying it’s definitely gonna be a great move, I think – but do you agree, do you think that they’re gonna do it?
MH: *cowardly sigh*
JB: I mean, Benning has, that’s what Benning always says: “we would love to have another scorer”. I think he’s actually said, “somebody to play with Bo”. I think it’s a 99% chance that the Canucks try and address a top-six winger this offseason. Or even at the trade deadline.
MH: Yeah. I’m leery about free agency.
JB: I know YOU’RE leery, but I’m talking about what do you think that Benning is going to do?
MH: Let me finish. Well, I’m leery about-
JB: EVERYONE’S leery about free agency and the Canucks.
MH: But I’m not just leery about free agency. I’m also leery if this management group – and here’s the thing – not learn from their mistakes, but would even acknowledge that they were mistakes. Like, how many guys right now that they signed in free agency do you think, if you got them in a locked room and no cameras and no recorders, would be like “that was a mistake”? I think they’d probably say that Eriksson was a mistake. Maybe a handful of guys-
JB: They’d say Gudbranson was a mistake.
MH: You think so?
JB: Yeah.
MH: I don’t know, man.
JB: Trevor Linden told me.
MH: Yeah, but he’s not there anymore, he’s not in the room anymore. Now it’s Jim and John.
JB: He was part of the management group-
MH: Yeah, but he’s not there anymore.

If Brough is to be taken at his word here, and I don’t think we have any reason to doubt the truth of his claim, then we have confirmation that Canucks management came to believe with hindsight that the Gudbranson trade was a mistake. That would also mean the team re-signed him understanding they had made a mistake by acquiring him in the first place.

I actually don’t think it matters very much that Linden is no longer with the team. Some could see that as proof that perhaps Linden believed the trade to be a mistake, but Benning disagreed. After all, it’s Benning who is still in charge of the Canucks. Considering the amount of time that passed between the team acquiring Gudbranson and Linden’s departure, I find it hard to believe that the President of Hockey Operations, the guy with the final say on all hockey-related decisions, could have disagreed with his general manager for that long about a pretty significant team acquisition.

More likely is that the disagreement had to do with how to address the situation once the player neared the end of his deal. Linden left the organization only a few months after Gudbranson was given a contract extension. It’s possible that one of the disagreements he had with Benning and the Aquilini’s was over doubling down on a perceived mistake by re-signing Gudbranson instead of trading him, which was the clear preference of most fans at the time.

It would also fit the narrative that Linden’s preference was to take a slower, more patient approach to rebuilding the Canucks with young players taken high in the draft as opposed to looking for deals that could speed the process up too early.

As I mentioned earlier, Canucks management is clearly afraid of losing Edler and Tanev without being able to replace them. This fear is the primary motivation behind talk of extensions for both players, even though good asset management would have seen both traded years ago for draft picks and prospects. Doubling down on Gudbranson despite understanding his limitations as a player is the same move – making the safe play rather than choosing the high risk, high reward option by betting on their own obvious ability to find good players in the draft.

Canucks fans don’t need me to reminded them yet again that Adam Gaudette was taken with a 5th round pick. If this same approach were taken back in 2014, they’d have Raphael Diaz right now instead. And he’s been playing in Switzerland’s National League since 2015.

The reason this is more significant than it appears is because it fortifies the idea that this current Canucks management group has made several major roster decisions using the sunk cost fallacy. They don’t want to be seen as “wasting” resources and thus feel obliged to follow through on their decisions despite new information that leads them to believe they’ve made a mistake.

To not have signed Gudbranson would have been an even worse loss in their eyes. Coupling this with their bad habit of addressing problems reactively instead of proactively, such as failing to be prepared for the Hamhuis/Vrbata trade deadline and the recent incident with Mikey DiPietro and the team not having another goalie option despite five weeks to prepare, it paints a poor picture of management’s competence.

Two Tough Losses

The Canucks lost both games they played this week, and under very different circumstances. The loss against San Jose was a heartbreaker because the players gave it everything they had and just couldn’t match the Sharks’ skill level. The effort was there, even if the result wasn’t. The Arizona Coyotes, on the other hand, played exactly as most predicted they would: they were grinding, opportunistic, and boring.

“We would have done a lot of different things through the entire game,” Stecher said afterwards. “That’s hockey and you’ve got to live with it. That game kind of sums up the conference; teams can beat anybody on any given night.

“I can only imagine how painful that was to watch as a fan. Not much flow, there wasn’t much creativity, and we knew it was going to be like that and it went right down to the wire.”

Stecher wasn’t the only Canuck frustrated by the fact that the team knew exactly what was coming and somehow still wasn’t prepared for it:

“It was exactly what we expected,” said Horvat. “We knew it wasn’t going to be 6-5 or you’re leading by three or four goals. You know it’s going to be a tight one. And it was. We have to find ways to win these games.”

The Coyotes aren’t exactly the class of the division, but this game does have something else in common with that 7-2 loss to the Sharks in that the Canucks will only have to wait one week for their chance at revenge.

Didn’t Get the Memo?

Hey, at least he has a sense of humour about it!

Schenn to Wear #2

It was revealed a few days ago that Luke Schenn will wear #2 for the Canucks. This is a minor detail to make note of, but it’s still something that made me a little sad. That number was worn for such a long time (going all the way back to 1998) by two of the best defencemen the team has ever had (Mattias Ohlund and Dan Hamhuis), that it feels a bit strange to see it worn so soon by someone who isn’t likely to play a significant role on the team going forward. As the last player inducted into the Ring of Honour, Ohlund also has several of his game-worn jerseys and various other pieces of equipment on display right now in Rogers Arena. It’s not a retired number, so it’s totally within Schenn’s right to wear it, but it still feels weird.

The Highlights

Rooster Takes Flight

Big Zack’s Big Attack

Boeser Hits 100

Hard Work from the Horvat Line

Gaudette’s Laser Beam

The Forecast

Saturday, February 23rd

The Canucks play host to the New York Islanders on Saturday night at 7:00 pm PST. The Islanders currently have the 5th best record in the NHL and are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. One of the biggest surprise teams of the year, Mathew Barzal leads the team with 50 points in 60 games and head coach Barry Trotz is undeniably the front runner so far this season for coach of the year. Vancouver will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to the Arizona Coyotes. This will also be the last game the Canucks play before the trade deadline.

Monday, February 25th

NHL Trade Deadline Day. As always, the deadline officially occurs at 12:00 pm PST. Last minute deals tend to break for roughly 30 minutes longer, but all trades must be fully submitted to the NHL by the deadline. The Vancouver Canucks only have two players who are facing unrestricted free agency and are as of yet unsigned for next year: Alexander Edler and Marek Mazanec.

Something tells me fans will only be following what happens to one of those two players.

Following the deadline, the Canucks will play the Anaheim Ducks at 7:00 pm PST. This will be their last game at home before taking a bit of a break from Rogers Arena. The Ducks are currently 3-7-0 in their last 10 games, but 3-1 in their last 4. That includes a 1-0 win against your Vancouver Canucks that I’m sure the players will want to exact a little revenge for.

Wednesday, February 27th

The Canucks will be in Denver to play the Avalanche at 6:30 pm PST. Colorado is sitting one point shy of the last wild-card spot in the west; a spot currently held by Minnesota. The Avalanche are 3-4-3 in their last 10 games but are slowly showing signs of making a season-ending push for the playoffs. They’re currently the only team of the bottom nine teams in the west with a positive goal differential (+3), and they have one game in hand on the Wild.

Thursday, February 28th

Finally, Vancouver will pay a visit to Coyotes in Arizona on Thursday at 6:00 pm PST to wrap up the week. After yesterday, I’m sure nothing will excite fans more than the idea of a rematch. The Coyotes currently sit at 5-5-0 in their last 10 games.

  • Freud

    A team that would change their process just because they are hosting a draft is owned, governed and managed by imbeciles.

    A team that publicly states that is so, so lost….

  • North Van Halen

    I will always wonder why people thinking being more proactive would have done anything to change the Hamhuis/Vrbata situations. It sucked, but it sucked because the 2 players didn’t want to be traded. Vrbata could list 6 teams and stated flat out he had a new born and wasn’t going to co-operate at all. He listed 6 teams out of the playoffs that he knew wouldn’t be interested. Hamhuis with a full NTC gave a list of 2 teams, both traded for different assets, then one, knowing the Canucks had no other options offered 50 cents on the dollar which Benning rightfully refused.
    I’m willing to listen to how being proactive might have changed that but me thinks it’s just more old man shaking fist at the sky stuff.

    • Thanks for the reply. I hear what you’re saying and I respect where you’re coming from.

      You know what? I would have happily accepted the same result if only they’d had some kind of plan. If only I felt comfortable that they actually DID do everything within their power to move those guys. The reason I consider that deadline a reactive move was that they didn’t even bother to look into trading either player until the last possible minute. Some trades take months to orchestrate. Even small deals that you keep on the side until the moment is right. Deadline deals are sometimes a little different, but my primary complaint is that they were so obviously caught off guard. It was embarrassing. They claimed they did everything possible, but that was most certainly not the case. 100% not. They did absolutely no work on that issue whatsoever until the last possible moment, when it became clear that the fans were going to roast them alive if they did nothing.

      I’d also say that it’s part of management’s job to SELL their asset to the other team. Hamhuis was clearly better than Kris Russell. It may have been the case that Dallas simply preferred the other player, but I don’t like pretending that is the only possible explanation. You have to at least allow for the possibility that we didn’t negotiate well in the hours leading up to the deadline. Good general managers find a way to make deals. As for taking 50 cents on the dollar, Hamhuis ended up in Dallas anyways. Not only does that show that the Stars clearly wanted him, it means that literally anything would have been better than nothing. For the millionth time, Adam Gaudette was selected with a 5th round draft pick. You never know what you’re going to get. All we do know is that we ended up with nothing, and I feel very strongly that it didn’t necessarily have to end that way.

      Thanks again for the reply!

      • North Van Halen

        yeah that in a nutshell is what drives me nuts with the blogosphere in general. Perfect world GMing with no basis in facts.
        First point, EVERYONE in this town knows Aquillini is a meddling owner. I’ve worked for a few companies, as a manager I may get to decide how a program is implemented but the owner always sets the direction. Why do we pre-suppose Benning had any authority to strip the parts when Aquillini has clearly set every direction since the day Torterella was hired. From the rumour Torts not being a Gillis hire to Gillis being fired shortly after suggesting the rebuild should start 5 years ago to Linden parting ways, it’s clear Aquillini sets the course, Benning tries to work within the parameters. Linden veered off, he’s gone. But I guess there are lots of companies where the manger can ignore owner directives.
        Your second point misses the point in all ways. Teams hire scouts and have GM’s, AGM’s, coaches analytic guys, etc. They view said player on several occasions sit in a room and discuss what value they have for the player and if he fits their team. I also realize you think Benning should take 50 cents on the dollar so he can placate the hard done by bloggers of the world but it also sends the message wait out Jim and you can get his assets for half price because he’s afraid bloggers might write mean things about him. Ottawa would have offered a 5th for Burrows and if it were you in charge, that’s what we would have got cuz you would have already established they could just wait a gm like that out and he’s gonna fold.

      • truthseeker

        Terrible argument. Not logical at all. Bud’s right on this one. Nothing but speculation.

        And the Gaudette “argument” is even worse. Judging a late round pick by cherry picking the ultra rare success stories and using that as the implied “value” of said picks is complete nonsense. A 5th round pick has around a 3% chance of ever being a top 6/top 4 player. Only a 13% chance they’ll even make 100 NHL games. So we basically do know what we’re going to get. A 5th round pick is virtually worthless. Because a fluke long shot works out occasionally doesn’t change those odds. And it doesn’t mean you should just throw your own somewhat valuable assets away for those long odds, even if they’ll leave later. The perception alone, of being an idiot who gave up a Dan Hamhuis for a 5th round pick because he was desperate for anything, isn’t worth the trouble. “Nothing” is better than a reputation for being a soft target who can be low balled.

        And in that case it wasn’t “nothing”. We had the value of Hamhuis for the remainder of that season. Not to mention the fact that he probably would have resigned with the canucks if they had wanted. If you’re going to criticize anything, it should be that Benning didn’t bring back Hamhuis, because of some stupid bending to fan pressure (like from places like CA) and an idea to “get younger”. Because of that we missed out on another very stable veteran D man who could be providing the canucks solid play even right now. Hamhuis’ play over the past 3 years has been WAY more valuable than the odds of success of even a late 1st round or 2nd round pick, let alone wasting him to get a 5th rounder.

      • canuckfan

        “Managements job to SELL their asset to the other team” the other team has scouts that may have different opinions for their own reasons. You fry Benning for not trading Hamhuis it didn’t happen what would you have accepted a 9th round draft pick just so you can say you got something.
        Give it up get onto a new story.

      • TheRealRusty

        Of the key rules to trading is to buy low and sell high. Vrbata was coming off a great season the year prior and should have been traded before the season started once the decision was made that he was not going to be re-sign…

    • TheRealRusty

      Funny thing… I would rather have the 50cents in my pocket than nothing at all. But if mgt was competent then they wouldnt have waited until the deadline to try and trade both assets. They should have explored in the off season prior so that said players have time to make family arrangements (schooling, maternity care etc).

      • truthseeker

        Really? You’d rather have 50 cents in your pocket now even if you knew that taking it would lower your income in the future because all everyone would ever give you was 50 cents because you took that 50 cents in the first place?

        Sometimes a firm conviction and keeping your reputation is more valuable than a short term return that really isn’t very helpful in the long run.

          • truthseeker

            And how’s that the same Dirk? Using hindsight again? Going to try to convince everyone that Guddy’s value at the time of the trade was the same as a single late round pick? Or that McCann was the future coming of Kesler. lol.

            So, you’re not good a logic. Not good at rational analysis. And now you’re proving you’re terrible at analogy. Not sure what’s left Dirk.

  • Bud Poile

    Re:”Coupling this with their bad habit of addressing problems reactively instead of proactively, such as failing to be prepared for the Hamhuis/Vrbata trade deadline….”Chatterly

    Poised to sell at the NHL Trade Deadline for the first time in more than a decade, the Canucks were unable to get anything they liked in return for defenseman Dan Hamhuis or right wing Radim Vrbata, who each can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
    “It wasn’t from a lack of trying,” general manager Jim Benning said. “We really didn’t get a lot of offers. If we got a concrete offer where we could recoup assets and draft picks, or young players, we would have done it.”

    Hamhuis refused to go to an Eastern team.
    “That was something we had talked about and it was going to be difficult to do geographically and for family reasons,” said Hamhuis.
    The only other offer on Hamhuis was from the Stars.
    “We were talking to them (Dallas) about a similar type deal,” Benning said, “But at the end of the day, they chose the Calgary player over our player. That’s the deal they chose.”
    Benning said the Stars “circled back” on Hamhuis again after they acquired Russell.
    “But it was a deal that really didn’t make sense to us,” he said.
    Benning said there was interest from a couple Eastern Conference teams, but Hamhuis wasn’t willing to go there.
    “The no-movement clause is something we earned and paid for and negotiated,” said Hamhuis. “I didn’t want to completely handcuff the Canucks and I was able to be open to a couple teams.”

    Chicago and Dallas were the bidders,Hamhuis refused to go to Chicago and Dallas went with Russell,instead.

    Regarding Vrbata:
    Vrbata, who has 258 goals and 293 assists in 928 NHL games, has a limited no-trade clause that required him to identify eight teams to which he would accept a trade.
    “He could have given us teams we had no chance to trade him to, but he gave us a fair list,” Benning said. “We talked to all the teams on the list. For whatever reason, a couple of teams went in a different direction; the other teams weren’t buying at the deadline.”

    • North Van Halen

      Choosing family first, Vrbata gave the Canucks a list with three playoff teams, understanding it meant finding a fit would be like finding someone to like on the New England Patriots.

      “I don’t think I handcuffed them, but I knew what I was doing,” Vrbata said this week. “I could have given a lot more (options) and I would have moved.

      “If I wanted to get traded, I would have been traded.”

    • TheRealRusty

      Poor Bud. Always the lap dog that cannot think for itself.

      Here is a thought… One would hope that mgt had enough of a plan in place to be aware that they had no intentions to re-sign either Hamhius or Vrbata to extensions even before the season began. If that were the case, then the proactive thing to do was to move them before the season started so that they could both have their family setup (schooling for the kids and maternity care for the mrs respectively). I am sure that both players would have been more receptive to a move then instead of having their lives turned upside down mid season…

      The alternative would be that they didnt really have a long term plan in place and were flying by the seat of their pants.

      • MattyT

        “Poor Bud. Always the lap dog that cannot think for itself. ”

        Hahaha quote of the week Rusty and spot on.

        This sad little laugher keeps chasing his own tail, cutting and pasting pressers and still ends up being the humiliated class clown… his act is as stale as his Premium Plus salted crackers.

  • KGR

    One note on the Gudbranson signing. He was playing injured before the deadline that year and then was shut down for the rest of the season soon after. The Canucks were not in a position to trade him at the deadline. The choice was whether to re-sign him or let him walk. IMO re-signing him was the only choice. Hope they trade him at this deadline.

    • Thanks for the reply.

      I have to respectfully disagree, they most certainly did have the opportunity to trade him at the time. Even if we agreed that there was absolutely zero deal to be made, I still would have chosen to let him walk rather than sign him to an extension and just hope for the best. Sunk cost fallacy. Now they’re paying a bottom pairing defenceman almost $4 million a year for this year and the next two. It might not seem like a big deal, but if that’s how you manage your cap with every player, you will eventually find yourself without the cash to pay the really good players when they come along. That was a situation where they should have just cut their losses and walked away.


      • Bud Poile

        No NHL caliber RHD’s in the pipeline,Kyle.
        Bit of a problem there.
        Guddy was coming off major injuries.
        Mgmt. must have been given offers that they felt they could deal him should it not work out.
        Now that Schenn has been acquired and called up they can trade Guddy and finish off the year with a replacement.
        We’ll see if there are any legit offers over the next few days.

      • KGR

        There is still the chance to trade him at this dead line Kyle 🙂 I have my opinions, often based on news media, watching games, etc; But, I know I am out to lunch on understanding the true inner workings of an NHL organization. I wish more people would understand this and not be so sure of what they write or say. The other aspect that is missing is that these players are human and deserve to be treated with respect. For what ever weaknesses Benning has, he sure seems to have the respect of the players that play for him. That may be part of the reason he makes fewer moves than many GMs. Good to see so many new bloggers coming onto this site. Enjoy the weekend Kyle 🙂

        • truthseeker

          Treated with respect yes, but given too much rope because you “like” a guy or because you think he’s a “great guy”….nope. “Nice” is over rated. Far far too much personal emotion in the NHL. I want a GM like Masai Ujiri. Do what you can to be respectful, but if a deal or decision comes along that’s going to help your team but ruffle a few feathers, then too bad. Make that deal happen.

          The thing that concerns me most about Benning’s ability to effectively manage the canucks is exactly this issue. Being to much of a “nice guy”. Putting player’s feelings and “family” first. Up until now it hasn’t been a huge issue because the canucks have had a lot of cap space and have been able to absorb some situations like Guddy without too much trouble. But the next “phase” is different. I don’t think Benning has the stones to force a guy like Boeser to take 6 million to keep a deep team.

          • DogBreath

            He might say these things publicly, but if this is actually what guides his decision-making, I’d be willing to bet that Aquillini would have replaced him long ago.

          • KGR

            Not disagreeing with you truthseeker. There should be a limit to loyalty in professional sports. Wally Buono comes to mind. Players played for him; but, he cut a lot of good players just before they “lost” it.

      • truthseeker

        I agree with you on this one. You’re absolutely right on the sunk fallacy cost and judging by the reaction this suggestion got around here at the time of the signing, there are a LOT of really really bad poker players who post on this site. They most certainly did not “have” to resign him.

        I think I was one of the only ones (or very few) who agreed that letting him just walk away was a perfectly fine solution to the situation, and preferable to resigning him. (Though the term and dollar amount did not bother me all that much given where the team was at the time).

        • DogBreath

          I’d agree with you if there was a solid RHD and/or physical player in their pipeline to replace Gudbranson. There wasn’t, so your options are to go to the market to pay for an unknown UFR RHD or plug your nose somewhat and sign him. They chose the latter because they had no better options (and yes, there was probably some face-saving involved). IMO, this is not ideal, but their actions are defendable.

  • Defenceman Factory

    It was reported, re-reported and has become common knowledge a 2nd and a 4th were offered for Guddy. Unfortunately no one has ever confirmed it is true. Everyone knew Guddy was hurt. It the 2 picks were actually ever offered that offer likely disappeared with Guddy being injured.

    Another bunch of nonsense from Linden apologists. If Linden was so sure major moves the management group made were mistakes why did he re-sign Benning. The only logical conclusion is that Linden at least agreed with the moves if he didn’t actually advocate or insist on them. He was certainly in a position to stop Benning from re-signing Guddy if he believed letting him walk for nothing was the better decision.

    When an organization makes mistakes and the most senior manager is canned you can almost always assume ownership has placed blame for the mistakes. It sure didn’t sound like Linden quit.

    Benning should be on a short leash and needs to demonstrate he can make some significant moves to improve this team in the long run before the start of next season. I fully expect it will require a GM with more finesse than Benning to push the Canucks over the top. Hopefully that individual doesn’t destroy the solid work Benning has done with his amateur scouting dept.

    In the mean time finding new and ever more creative spins and conspiracy theories to distance Linden from the poor decisions he oversaw and approved is not useful and they could be patently false. Benning gets some time to show what he can do while in charge and by July 2nd we should be able to truly gauge his management skill. Benning has borne the brunt of all the criticism for poor management decisions without complaint. We should all hope he proves he makes better decisions without Linden around.

    • TheRealRusty

      Amen to what you said about Linden. His most important decision was on whether the organization needed to do a full rebuild or could get by with a “retool”. With that one decision you set the course for the entire organization and allow you hire the GM for the job at hand. That he took 3 years before he went hat in hand back to ownership asking for another 5 years for a rebuild says it all for me. If it was ownership that was pushing hard for a retool and he believed otherwise then he should not have taken the job.

      • kermit

        What Gillis, Linden, Benning, Desjardin and Green all had in common is they’re all neophytes at their respective jobs. The only exception was Tortorella. This is likely an indication of an owner who intends to run the team. Why not hire people with experience? Like a Lou Lamoreillo or Mike Babcock? It’s probably because there would be more pushback on meddling.

        • Defenceman Factory

          I absolutely agree the inexperience of Canucks management has caused many problems. I’m less sure about your speculation about Aquilini’s motivation. There has been numerous reports of Aquilini involvement in team management but I wouldn’t conclude he wants to drive the bus. He may just like being involved and like most people likes being told what he wants to hear. He may have difficulty attracting the most knowledgeable/experienced people to the organization because of that reputation and inexperienced ones are more likely to tell you what you want to hear. Has Aquilini been burned often enough to change his approach? Has Benning learned enough to properly finish this rebuild? Does Weisbrod adequately fill in the gaps in Benning’s skillset? Can Green coach an elite team? I’m not confident enough to answer a definitive yes to any of those questions. I’m least concerned about Green and hope the answers to the management questions are clear by the start of next season.

          • kermit

            I agree that we are all outsiders and can only speculate. But I do believe that these days, people who buy major sport franchises do so because of their trophy value. It admits you to one of the world’s most exclusive clubs. Frank Griffith bought the club as an investment, ownership wasn’t as in vogue then, and he felt it was a good fit with his radio stations. For his son Author, it was more of a play thing. McCaw assumed ownership by default, but not being Canadian, owning an NHL team did not appeal to his vanity. Aquilini and Galardi fought over the Canucks and when Aquilini won, Galardi then bought himself a consolation prize in Dallas. Sometimes a new owner just hires the best people money can buy and tells them to go out and win them a championship. Others want to dabble in management. Honestly, if you’re a hockey fan, it would be very not to. I think the Aquilinis are more the latter, their involvement wouldn’t be day to day, but they look at management as a team of consultants to help guide them. This is why they have chosen lesser experienced people who are more likely to accept this role. Ownership involvement is not usually a good thing, however, they may be figuring this out for themselves and if they truly want the ultimate trophy, a Stanley Cup, they could now be leaving more and more of the decisions to management.

  • Dirk22

    I tried to count up how many excuses were being used in this thread but lost count. People even going so far as to say they aren’t necessarily in favour of Benning’s moves but want to give him more time – it’s 5 years in!

    Also, never understand the Benning apologists using Linden or Aquilini as the ones who were/are ‘holding him back?’ How are you so invested in Jim Benning that you’re willing to pass the blame onto others – what exactly is it that makes you so attached to him…honest question? Like if it is Aquilini making all of these poor management decisions, why do people feel the need to defend Benning….has he made some amazing moves in the past that you’re just waiting on him to repeat once he gets full control?

    I’ve said it a million times but you people need to raise your expectations. Apart from the draft, I challenge anyone who is going to thumbs down this comment to point out the top-5 moves Benning has made in his career that have moved the needle on any of the teams he has managed (Bruins and Sabres included). I’m confident no one can produce a list that can convince me this is a man we should give the benefit of doubt to.

    • Defenceman Factory

      I’m confident as well no one could provide a list to convince you of anything positive about Benning. Your incessant whining, revisionist history, constant attempts to put everything Canucks in the worst possible light and inability to even consider a viewpoint different than your own make your challenge impossible. It has also made it impossible to consider anything you post as credible or worthwhile. It really isn’t hard to come up with a list of 5 stellar moves Benning has made in Vancouver. I will admit a much longer list would be a challenge.I’m sure you will immediately try to minimize, re-allocate credit, and re-evaluate based on events since the moves.

      – The revamp of the amateur scouting department, the drafting process and the promotion of Judd Brackett
      – The Tanev contract
      – Horvat’s contract
      – 2017 deadline trades of Burrows and Hansen
      – Kesler trade

      Given the most important thing a GM can do to move the needle for a developing team is to draft well and you have excluded draft picks from the list I’m sure you won’t be convinced of anything.

      • Dirk22

        “Given the most important thing a GM can do to move the needle for a developing team is to draft well” – DF

        Couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s almost like not prioritizing draft picks has been a sore spot for Bennings detractors…the reason I wanted to exclude picks from this exercise. There have been countless arguments on here defending Bennings reluctance to prioritize draft picks – so my question was in part looking at, if not draft picks, then what. What exactly is it that’s helping build the Canucks?

        All of the moves you listed were good. I was supportive of them and said so before. If those are the moves you consider ‘stellar’ and indicative of someone deserving a contract extension (all moves made prior to 2018) then so be it. I have higher expectations and so does most of the fan base. Call it whining if it makes you feel better but let’s stick to the actual arguments.

        For example, what do you think they should do with Edler and/or – and if they don’t, will that effect your perception of management?

        • Defenceman Factory

          I’ve posted numerous times my position of moving vets for draft picks specifically Edler and Tanev. I’ve wanted Guddy moved since the deadline of his first season here. I definitely want Sutter moved this summer. The caveat to that is I understand it is very difficult to move injured players at the deadline or those with NTCs that don’t want to go.

          There are only a couple large holes left to fill in this roster. I’ve posted numerous times I would like Benning to abandon Linden’s “patient” approach and fill them by moving vets and excess pieces. I don’t know if it’s feasible to expect to move Edler, suspect not. I wouldn’t mind if Edler is re-signed but that means Tanev has to get moved as part of a deal this summer to bring back a good quality RHD. Edler can be moved in a year or two. Guddy just has to go then the Canucks can easily afford to sign a high end LWer. Moving Eriksson and Sutter make it very comfortable.

          I believe Linden was absolutely horrible at his job and played a large role in decisions largely motivated by his loyalty to the Sedins. Benning gets the summer to show he makes better ones without Linden around. I’ve always said that when the Canucks are truly competitive it will be under the next GM and that person can’t be hired by Linden. If Benning doesn’t get some big moves made this summer it is time to move on.

          • Dirk22

            Agree with every word you’ve written as far as what they ‘should’ be doing. Nothing in 5 years of this management gives me confidence they will actually do any of this though. After a good 2017 deadline and draft I was willing to give them a chance….up to the Gudbranson extension, followed by the 2018 deadline, and then free agency being the absolute last straw.

            We both want the same things – I just can’t see it coming from Benning and Weisbrod at the helm.

    • kermit

      He wasn’t the GM in Buffalo or Boston. He’s an experienced scout, not an experienced GM. It shows. I think most of us here who support him do so because we’re relieved to finally have someone competent at drafting. Historically, we have been abysmal. But I also think that many of us would prefer someone with more experience in the organization. An executive position like Trevor’s would probably work if it were filled by someone with bona fide GM credentials.