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Recapping the Canucks end of season press conference

The Canucks had their season come to an end over the weekend with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Blues. Despite missing the playoffs for a fourth consecutive year, the team was occupying a playoff spot on Feb.2 and improved by eight points overall in the standings.

As is tradition, the Canucks held their end-of-the-season press conferences earlier in the week where they discussed the 2018-19 season and plans for the future.

These are some of the key points and quotes from the day.

Jim Benning and Travis Green

On 2018-19 and the future 

Green and Benning believe the Canucks took a step forward this year and are excited for the future. At the same time, they both know that there will be lots of work to do this summer.

Benning was happy with where the team was at coming out of the All-Star Break, but after the game in Colorado, things started to go downhill. Benning pointed out injuries to Alex Edler and Chris Tanev as costly. He mentioned the team will be looking to add to their depth this summer.

Green: “As a group we have to improve in a lot of places. We’ve got Bo, Petey, and Brock up front having solid years and I think getting Pearson was big plus our group as well. I liked the chemistry he developed with Bo, but when you’re a team that doesn’t make the playoffs, you’re going to look to make improvements throughout the lineup. Our young players also improving through the summer.”

Benning: “It would be nice to add another top-6 player to help us in the scoring department. We’re excited about Tanner Pearson, he had good chemistry with Bo when they played together. We want to look at our defense. If we can make upgrades on defense, we’ll do that.

Benning: “We took a big step this year. There’s a lot of hope for our team. You see our young players. The year Petey had. The year Boeser had. Bo I think took another step. These are 20-21 year old kids. Quinn is 19. And you look at when teams get good and when they win, they win with 26-35 year-old players. And these are our best players. I’m excited about the future. I’m excited about what happened this year and the growth of those young players. We have lots of work to to this summer to add to this group and get to the next step.”

On free agency

Benning will be exploring all avenues this summer to improve the team. Whether it’s a trade or a free agent signing, if a move makes sense, the Canucks will consider it.

Benning: “We’re going to look at all of our options in free agency. If there are moves we can make to address weaknesses, we’re going to try to be aggressive to address those weaknesses. We’re going to look at all our options.”

On ownership

Benning has a good relationship with ownership and says they’re both on the same page with the direction the team is heading in.

Benning: “I have a good relationship with Francesco and the ownership group. We talk weekly. They understand our plan. We had a lot of question marks coming in with the Sedins retiring. Who was going to do the scoring? Over the course of the year, we saw Petey and Boes were able to do that for us. I think that’s a step in the right direction. Seeing Quinn Hughes play those five games at the end of the year. Seeing that offensive defenseman that we’ve been lacking in the past and what he can do with the puck and his skating, that’s exciting. They’ve been very supportive of Travis and Me and the direction we’re going and I expect that to continue.”

On expectations for 2019-20

Green noted that the Canucks aren’t just trying to win a Stanley Cup one year — it’s about winning long-term.

Green: “We want to keep improving every year. We took a step last year and neither one of us want to sit here and continue to stay at the same rate. We want to take another step next season. Now two days after the season, what are the steps we need to take? We’ll meet in the next couple weeks and talk about where we can improve. Part of it is with the players on our team coming back. They are a huge part of it. This is about getting better. It’s not just about sneaking into playoffs, it’s about winning long-term and giving yourself a chance to win a Stanley Cup — not just one year, but for a few years” 

On Nikolay Goldobin

Green noted that it didn’t really work out for Goldobin this season.

Green: “The season didn’t go exactly how he wanted, and that happens with young players. Not every young player is going to a full-time NHLer. The onus is on us to continue to work with him, and develop him. I’d like to see Goldy makes changes to how he trains and what he does this summer so he comes back a better hockey player.”

On Alex Edler

Benning definitely wants to get Edler re-signed, noting he is a leader in a dressing room and probably the team’s best penalty killer. Edler will be a free agent on July 1st.

Benning: “He’s an important guy in our room. When [coach Travis Green] talks about the leaders in our room, he’s one of the guys our young players look up to. I thought on the ice he had an excellent year for us. He’s big and strong and probably our best penalty killer. He plays on the power play. We’re going to try and get him re-signed.”

You can watch the full press conference here:

Brock Boeser

Boeser said at the beginning of the season that he didn’t want to discuss his contract until the end of the year. The 22-year-old scored 26 goals and hit the 50-point mark for the second consecutive season. He is one of several RFA’s on the team.

Jim Benning mentioned during his presser that the Canucks will reach out to Boeser’s camp in the next few weeks to talk about an extension. Boeser said he’s heard from both the Canucks and his agents and that they’re confident the process won’t take too long.

Boeser won’t be going to the IIHF Worlds so he can get in a full summer worth of training.

“I’ve learned a lot this year as a player. I personally think I can still take a huge step. I remember when Bo took that huge step going into his third year, I think I can take that step for next year.”

Elias Pettersson

Pettersson was happy with his rookie season and said it’s a learning process when discussing the up-and-downs.

“I started really good and as the season went on, teams started scouting me and started putting more focus on me. The end of the season didn’t really go as well as I wanted.”

Pettersson also talked to Sportsnet 650 about what it meant to play in Vancouver this season:

Jacob Markstrom

Markstrom said he wants to stay in Vancouver and loves the direction the team is heading in. He evolved into a reliable starting netminder this season and chalks up some of that success to new goalie coach Ian Clark.

“I love Vancouver and I want to stay here. “Being part of a team and a group that hasn’t been that successful for the last couple of years, you start to see the light at the end of the tunnel and you want to be a part of that. You want to be a playoff team. I want to bring success to this city and the fans of Vancouver. In my mind, I can’t see myself playing anywhere else but here.”

“Playing 60 games last year really helped me and you got new goalie coach Ian Clark coming in. He set really high standards and expects a lot from his goalies.”

Bo Horvat

Despite a career year offensively, Horvat believes he still has another level to his game and is embracing the leadership role.

“I see it already. We all want to win, we are passionate about the game, we want to succeed. We as young guys try to speak up in the room and try to do whatever it takes to help the team to win, and we’ve got four really good hockey players here (Horvat, Pettersson, Boeser, Stecher) and a stepping stone to build something pretty special here, and I’m excited about it.”

“I don’t think I’ve hit my peak, I don’t think I’ve played my best hockey. I want to keep improving my two-way game, being that guy you can rely on for the big faceoff or in key situations. I want to play against the other teams top lines and be that type of player. I think that is what will help the team win, me being the best best leader and best two-way forward I can be.”

Quinn Hughes

Hughes said he will spend most of the summer in the weight room trying to get stronger. He’s excited to be a part of the future in Vancouver.

“I’m going to try and work on things every summer.”

You can watch the full “Young Stars” press conference here:

Summary

Management and players know the Canucks made progress in 2018-19, but they also know there are areas to improve in. The team had their best season statically since 2014-15, but also still finished nine points back of a Wild Card spot.

The team will be looking to re-sign key players such as Boeser and Edler, but they will also be looking to make moves this summer to improve their depth and defense.

The Canucks have some great young talent and are heading in the right direction, but it will be a busy summer for Jim Benning and company to ensure the team improves and takes that next step.

  • Great write up Brady, a review of the facts without inferring anyone is an idiot or the standard CA snark.

    Took Daniel at PITB 15 minutes to comb through the remarks to find the clip he could use bludgeon Benning with. I’m happy when someone just lays out the facts and allows us to come to our own conclusions or breaks down lengthier conversations into smaller easier to digest pieces without an agenda.
    Of course it shouldn’t take long for me to be told why wanting information without snark proves I’m a window licker and the multitude of ways this proves JB/TG are idiots about to destroy the Canucks for generations to come. Can’t wait.

    • Agree completely.
      CA needs to grow a pair and make this site great. Other Nation sites are moderated and they ban trolls immediately….. we could only hope…

    • Yes, but PITB has a good point… if Benning thinks:
      “These are 20-21 year old kids. Quinn is 19. And you look at when teams get good and when they win, they win with 26-35 year-old players. And these are our best players. I’m excited about the future.”
      …then he is really out to lunch about competitive windows.

      • The only thing less predictable than Wagner gleaning that conference for the one line he could tear apart is the rain in Vancouver and the Canucks losing another draft lottery.
        He’s welcome to tear it apart, it’s what his readers want for their negative echo chamber and why I rarely go to the site. I can draw my own conclusions though without any help from Daniel so, as I said, it’s nice to just get a synopsis without, what some seem to think is necessary, negative commentary.

    • “IF it weren’t for injuries”…..blah blah blah.
      “We’re gonna continue to draft and develop” blah blah blah
      “We’re gonna continue with the plan” blah blah blah

      Agreed wholeheartedly. Same old PR rhetoric, not that I ever expect them to say anything insightful anyways.

      Good write up though. Don’t recall seeing this writers name before, so kudos.

  • “We took a big step forward this year. We lost more hockey games, not counting the coin-toss shootout, than last year and the only we were in the playoff hunt in February was because of the total ineptitude of the teams around us, but we took a big step forward.”

    • So you don’t see any positives with this year? There are clear issues — the deterioration of Tanev and Sutter, the continued underwhelming performances by Gudbranson, Eriksson, Gagner, Nilsson, MDZ. The up-and-down development of Virtanen, Juolevi and Goldobin. Yet in a season where you remove the two most dominant players in recent memory through retirement and have a bunch of young players step up and you see literally no forward progress? With Boeser and Pettersson establishing themselves as frontline players, with Horvat becoming a premiere 2-way center, with Stetcher and Hutton becoming reliable players, with Demko starting to settle into an NHL role, with Markstrom establishing himself as a bonafide NHL goalie, with Roussel, Leivo, and Pearson making solid cases for complementary roles, with Gaudette, MacEwan and of course Hughes giving glimpses of potential, all of this doesn’t give you any sense of advance over last year? Our top ten in scoring last year was dominated by players in there late 20s and early-mid 30s. This year it’s by players under 23. But by all means, insist that nothing has changed.

      • Seeing positives and “taking a big step forward” are not the same thing.

        There were certainly some positive signs this year. There were also some glaring red flags. Overall, the team did *not* take a big step forward from last year – marginally better goaltending and some shootout luck accounts for the *entirety* of their improvement over last year.

        Pettersson, Boeser, and Horvat were great. Hughes looks very promising. But their depth is awful, their defense is a complete tire fire, they’re one goalie injury away from being completely helpless, and management continues to put far too much emphasis on older, marginal players. Until this management group shows they can surround their young players with *good* complementary / veteran players, and until this team actually makes a genuine push for a playoff spot, they absolutely *should not* be patting themselves on the back for the “big step forward” the team took, despite finishing bottom-10 in the league *again*, and being one of the worst teams in the league by scoring chance differential, goal differential, possession differential, and ROWs *again*.

    • 42 games were decided by one goal this season.
      The Canucks finished the last two seasons higher in points than the previous year.
      This team is but one win short of the 2013-14 Canucks that iced:
      Roberto Luongo
      Kevin Bieksa
      Ryan Kesler
      Daniel and Henrik
      Burrows
      Hansen
      Booth
      Higgins
      Hamhuis
      Garrison
      Tanev and Edler were both five seasons younger than today.

      • Luongo and Kessler were the only players that netted any returns Bieksa should not have been traded but the market absolutely fried him and blamed him for the playoff loss to Calgary. When you look at the list of these players and also consider what was in the pipeline for prospects no wonder it has taken the team this long to get where they are now. I believe Benning has done a good job, and yes he has made mistakes otherwise I would say he has done a great job.

    • In the very least, the team needs to take a significant step forward. Doubt Benning will still be the GM here (in a year from now) if that doesn’t happen.

    • I listened to a Brian Burke interview on rebuild timelines and he said five years.
      The twins signed four year deals in Nov.2013 that ran from 2014 into 2018.
      Benning went to the playoffs in his first year and competed for the playoffs in his second.
      So,it is safe to say that Benning has rebuilt the club in the last three years.

        • Dude,the resigning of the twins meant the franchise were not prepared to rebuild.
          It was not until 2.5 years into the Benning regime was it made clear the twins were no longer able to pull this team into the playoffs.
          Surely,through all your distaste and anger you still have some observant capabilities.

          • That may be true, but changing goals doesn’t detract from the fact that JB has helmed this ship for 5 years, the last 4 of which have provided no playoff revenue. Its simply reality that owners have/will not put up with such consistent losing.

          • This is just the weirdest kind of revisionist history. The team was not competing for the playoffs the year following Benning’s arrival. They were, by every single metric, one of the very worst teams in the league – a position they have maintained ever since. That season, they scored under 200 goals, and had the worst goal differential in the league despite a good season by Miller, won only 26 games in regulation/OT, and finished 28th out of 30. It was abundantly clear to *anyone* by the midpoint of the 15/16 season, that the team was not competitive and Benning’s efforts to that point to do a “retool on the fly” had failed.

            So you’re simply wrong to say they were competitive that year, and if you want to argue that management hadn’t figured out until over a year later that their retool efforts had failed and they needed a full-on rebuild, all right, I guess, but that speaks pretty poorly of management.

      • If the team is “rebuilt” as you claim, then why are they still terrible? Oh yeah, cause outside of their core 4, they have 15+ players that are simply not good enough to even warrant being on a contending NHL club.

        Rebuild complete eh?

        • Burke said it took five years to rebuild.This was year three and this is draft four.
          They should compete for a playoff spot this coming season.
          Take some meds and enjoy your summer,Braindead.

          • I believe you are confusing me with Braindead Benning. The poster with the Harold Snepts pic who began posting to my recollection several months after I began.

          • A “rebuilt” team isn’t one that competes for a playoff spot. A rebuilt team is one that competes for the Stanley Cup.

            The Canucks are a miracle, or several seasons, away from that.

          • There’s no place for comments like this Bud. It speaks to the weakness of your argument that you feel like it’s necessary to result to ad hominem attacks against people that disagree with you.

            As Goon and “Dumpster Fire” have pointed out, it may well take 5 years for a rebuild to be successful, but Benning must be held to account for not recognizing that one was necessary from the beginning. He decided to “retool on the fly” and that strategy resulted in a 28th place finish. That is objectively speaking, a failure. Maybe that’s what Aquilini wanted, and Benning secretly disagreed, but he took the job, so he becomes responsible for his actions, whether he fully agreed with them or not. That’s called being an adult, specifically an adult employed as a GM of an NHL team. He certainly gets well compensated for it.

            It’s nice that Benning finally recognized that a rebuild was necessary, but it’s hard to give him credit for taking two years to come around to an opinion that a lot of us had from the beginning. Just like he doesn’t deserve much credit for finally trading Gudbranson when a lot of us knew he shouldn’t acquire, and extend him in the first place. I mean, at least he is ultimately capable of recognizing an error, but that is much too low a bar to have for your GM when you’re competing with 30 other teams to win a Stanley Cup. Not being incapable of admitting a mistake is surely the very least you would hope for in a competent manager.

            To add to it, the vast majority of the hope for the future comes from Horvat, Boeser, Pettersson, and Hughes, the former the result of a Gillis trade, and the latter three results of the poor finishes Benning was trying to avoid. Hard to credit him for that. His trades have at best been a wash, and his free agent signings easily a net negative. I’m not impatient Bud (I’ve been a Canucks fan for most of my life, that alone should put that line of reasoning to bed for god’s sake), I’m simply one who hopes for more than just a little competence in the people running my favorite team. I would hope they have the insight to make decisions that are beyond the scope of my reckoning, and certainly hope they’d avoid ones that even a relative layperson like me can see will yield terrible results. Alas, that has not been the case. Objectively speaking. My greatest fear is that the problem starts with Aquilini, and that we won’t truly be able to compete for a Cup without a more competent owner. But that in no way absolves Benning of his consistent lack of competence.

      • BTW, Corey Hirsch claims that a proper rebuild should take at least 9 years. Should FA re-up JB then for another 4-5yrs?

        The simple fact is that JB’s moves to date have been too few and too far between. He has not shown enough proactivity and outside the box thinking to help the team make more than very minor improvements year over year to date.

        No NHL owner has the patience to wait around a decade to be competitive.

        Side note: Why does JB always state his goal is the playoffs, whereas TG states his goal is the Stanley Cup? I suppose it fits with the picture people have of him as being highly reluctant/unsuccessful to make moves that create splashes, but rather ripples (or as the Moj says, “meat and potatoes” moves)

          • So 5 years of patience is acceptable, but 4 is not, and furthermore, worthy of being insulted personally? (I speak on behalf of fans that obviously believe that less than 5 years is enough to judge a man’s track record) Argue the facts.

    • Fact is there were injuries and lots of man games lost, same as last year. So depth is the answer but that just doesn’t happen takes a number of drafts to build the depth needed to get through losing your better players because they are hurt.

  • Horvat: “We all want to win, we are passionate about the game, we want to succeed.

    Markstrom: “You want to be a playoff team. I want to bring success to this city and the fans of Vancouver.

    Pettersson: “…I’m just trying to do a favour back & hopefully play my best hockey every game.”

    Boeser: “I personally think I can still take a huge step.

    Hughes: He’s excited to be a part of the future in Vancouver. “I’m going to try and work on things every summer.

    OK, #TankNation. Our best players have spoken. Now please show me the speech that you’ll read to these players to justify the creation of a roster that’s designed to be the worst it can be to maximize draft lottery odds. Please show me how you would explain to your future core that you will not be supporting any attempts to make the playoffs. Bonus mark if you can convince them that, despite these players working their tails off in the offseason to get better for next year, your goal to make the roster worse is a much better plan.

    • Tankers will never get it.
      Edmonton has twice the talent of the Canucks and they finished behind us. Why? They tanked and have a loser culture.
      Let the pencilnecks fancy stat that.

      • Toronto has four times the talent of the Canucks and they finished with over a hundred points for the second season in a row.

        It’s almost like the “loser culture” is a management problem, not a player problem, and Toronto fixed their “loser culture” when they fired their old boys club lead by Burke, Nonis, and Carlyle, and hired some people with new ideas.

        • Lou Lamerello led the Leafs out of the dark ages. Is that old boys club enough for you. Dubas is gonna take them into salary cap hell in two more years. Lou would have kept Michael Nylander twisting in the wind all season

          • Lou certainly did his share, and one shouldn’t downplay his importance to the Leafs’ rebuild, but it started with Shanahan and Shanahan continues to steer the ship.

            And Lou may be old, but he’s never been conventional.

          • You see Shanahan as the fixer, I see Lou who was hired by Shanahan. Shanny is going to have his hands full mediating Babcock and Dubas while they battle for control.

        • Oh sure. Toronto would be an elite team without landing on superstar 6’3″ 225 lbs #1 centre man that skates like the wind and shoots like a howitzer? Get real.

          • That guy is third on their team in scoring. That’s also like saying what if the Canucks didn’t have Pettersson. When you’re really bad you get an opportunity to draft really good players – that’s the way the system works. You can’t just chalk it all up to luck. SO they lose the lottery that year and get Laine or Dubois? Think they’d still be in pretty good shape!

          • Don’t forget that every team has a 28 year old 6’1″, 209 lbs future Hall of Famer that wore team pajamas waiting for them to sign in free agency for $15M over 1 year or $11M over 7 years (otherwise, they’ll piss off back to their draft team). See, tanking works!

    • Forever – apart from you once again not comprehending what it is Team Tank wants, you do realize there are three top-10 picks in that bunch of players you chose. Maybe you can ask ‘team playoffs’ how they got that kind of talent.

      Psst. Someone tell locust that Edmonton has a better record than Vancouver over the past 4 years. Neither intentionally tanked. Both bad. One made it to a conference final. One objectively worse than the other.

      • Neither team has been to a conference final in the past four years.

        Edmonton was positioned to emerge from their rebuild and be a truly elite team, until they hired Peter Chiarelli and he gutted their depth and completely ruined the team. If Edmonton had hired a simply *competent*, not even great, GM in 2015 they’d likely be challenging Calgary for first in the conference.

        • *division final – my bad.

          And yes – totally agree. Chiarelli could not have done a worse job but you’ll always get the lazy ‘losing culture’ narrative vs. an incompetent GM.

          • The last time Oilers were in playoffs they were fun to watch, hard for me to say because I hate Edmonton but after watching how good they were that year I thought for sure they would be cup challengers for the next number of years but they have just sucked ever since which is fun to say and watch.

          • No such thing as a division final, although that year there was just by chance. All four teams in the bottom draw were from the Pacific Division.

          • Unless there’s a wildcard upset there are division finals. Last years second round had Bos v Tampa, Was v Pitt, Vegas v SJ and Nash v Win. Those look like division finals to me.

      • What TeamTank wants is a fantasy. To be someone else rather than facing reality and coming up with realistic solutions. And your dismissive of any arguments that run contrary. Rather than justify your position and refute a contrary argument, you merely evade the challenge and slander the other: “…[TeamTank] basically ignore[s] the first group [people who want to win] because they’re likely to be unpersuadable and, to be frank, rarely make their arguments in good faith.”

        Now, let’s dissect TeamTank’s position again. I already showed how Toronto was not the model rebuild earlier by explaining the origin of every current roster player and proving how it was not related to your tank strategy. I even accommodated by “changing your yardsticks”, never mind that I could have easily have gone back a few more years where “Toronto was the model rebuild” slogan was trotted out and only strengthened my analysis.

        But let’s revisit “what you mean when you talk tank.” Essentially, your strategy is:

        a) Trade veterans for draft picks. No project players (i.e. roster players) are to be taken back. But you contradict yourself by using other examples such as “Getting value in return for a piece that won’t be part of the future and making the playoffs don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The New York Rangers traded Marion Gaborik in 2013 in a deal that brought Derick Brassard, John Moore, and Derek Dorsett in return and still made the playoffs as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.” So in the same article, you say “trade veterans for draft picks!” and then later say “look, you can still make the playoffs while tanking because NYR traded Gaborik for NOT DRAFT PICKS but Brassard (age 25, 309 games over 6 seasons), Moore (age 22, 86 games in 3 seasons), Dorsett (age 26, 280 games over 5 seasons).” Hypocrisy or amnesia?

        b) Replace veterans with bargain bin UFA’s. Specifically: “They can sign free agents, but should be looking in the bargain bin…” Now, you try to make this a noble strategy by throwing in the unrealistic qualifier: “only throw significant money and term at players who can be a significant piece of the team’s future.” But you know that never happens. Franchise players don’t leave teams for rebuilds and if so, will demand huge overpayments. Look at the “model rebuild” in Tavares: he demanded $15M for one year then said “I want $11M or I’m going back to my home team.” You make this noble proclamation knowing full well that this will never happen because Restricted Free Agency status causes salary distortions in free agency. You’ll never sign because a “significant piece” because they’re not worth it and they wouldn’t give up the prime of their free agency and Stanley Cup hunt to play on a team designed to tank with “bargain bin” UFA’s.

        So, you can go ahead and ridicule my argument because that’s all TeamTank has. TeamTank has nothing constructive, nothing positive, not even logical, only wishing they were someone else.

        (Source hyperlinks removed so CA will let me post)

      • “Maybe you can ask ‘team playoffs’ how they got that kind of talent.”

        Team Playoffs recognizes that Gillis left Benning with nothing except the Sedins at the end of their career, one decent prospect, and a boatload of NTC/NMC veterans. Team Playoffs also challenges TeamTank to compare the origins of their “model rebuilds” to the Canucks, to which TeamTank always evades because they don’t have a cogent defence.

  • Year end press conferences have never been forums for Nietzschean dialectic material at the best of times but one thing is for certain. There is a group of young guns the Canucks have that show the same kind of promise that the twins showed when a secondary line in the time of the West Coast Express. I am really impressed with these guys management has drafted but with much work and some further distance to do and to go. Keep the cap costs down like EDM and TOR haven’t , build mostly from within and 19-20 may be the most interesting year these guys and the fans have seen for a long time. I hope.

  • Pretty lame to blame injuries when it’s the same guys injured every ear and he’s done nothing to replace them. Will be the same story next year if Edler, Tanev, Sutter are all back again.
    Time to move on from them .