Photo Credit: TSN.ca

GM Jim Benning meets media ahead of draft week

Canucks general manager Jim Benning met with media this morning to discuss a wide variety of topics.

As to be expected at this time of year, there wasn’t a lot of new information given. There are so many moving parts at this time of year that it can be hard to have concrete information to give out until it happens and add to the fact that’s clear that the organization has a lot of things in the hopper that they don’t want to compromise.

The biggest news was another update on prospect Olli Juolevi. The Finnish defenceman missed most of the 2018-19 season with an injury but has been cleared to skate and is expected to do so later today. This is a really encouraging sign for the defenceman looking to get back on track. Ideally, he wouldn’t have missed so much time but getting on the ice in mid-June isn’t a terrible outcome given the severity of his injury. Obviously, he hopes to make the Canucks out of camp but it’s fair to expect that he will start next season in Utica and then push to be a call-up option in the near future.

There were no updates on the Brock Boeser and Alex Edler negotiations. They are very different situations but it’s clear that the organization is working on both and hoping to get a deal on both.

Lastly, as expected the Canucks will look at all their options at the draft and that they will be excited about whatever player they draft in the first round. At this point, we shouldn’t really expect anything different on that front.

The full audio can be found below:

    • Juolevi was on pace for a 55 point season in the AHL, assuming he played every game. That would have made him the top scoring defenceman (rookie and veteran). He only got 23% of the way there before injury/surgery but Juolevi has performed pretty well in every environment since he was drafted (i.e. OHL, WJC, Liiga, AHL).

      • Kanucked

        Imagine what he develops into a legit top 2 dman. Then the young players (Pettersson, Horvat, Boesser, Hughes) really start to look like a foundation for a cup contender.

      • Nuck16

        In pre-season he already established chemistry with Petey feeding him for his first one-timer goal…making it look very easy in the process. Took Edler most of the season to figure out how to feed Petey for a one timer.

      • Green Bastard

        If, was, coulda been. The jury is in on Juolevi. Bad pick and he will never make it, too injury prone and had the worst plus minus in the A before getting injued again lol.

        There were so many better picks like Tkachuk, McAvoy, Sergy and Chuychrun available in 2016 it’s not even a discussion anymore. Trade him or cut bait.

  • J-Canuck

    I think GMJB should have an offer for Edler. 2yr deal at 6mil and stick with it. No 3/4 th yr or NMC. He he says no and moves on sign a 29 yr old Gardiner to a longer deal.

    I have a feeling with a full off-season, which he hasn’t had in a while, Olli will make the Canucks roster. Youth has brought some life into the Canucks and adding Quinn and Olli will continue that trajectory.

    • TD

      My worry with a longer term deal for Gardiner is that Hughes and Juolevi will be the top two left D in 2 years and they are paying big bucks for Gardiner on the third pairing.

      • J-Canuck

        Also TD
        In case of injury, which we Canucks fans know too well, how nice is it to have a 3rd pair Dman step into 1st PP minutes.
        I still don’t buy the Hutton had a come back year Jazz! He was tolerated punching above his weight class

        • TD

          I agree you need a 3rd pairing that can play second pairing, but you throw your salary cap out the window if he is making 7 mil or whatever Gardiner will sign for. By year 3, both Hughes and Juolevi will be off the ELC’s.

      • J-Canuck

        I get that, but in the short term it doesn’t make Quinn “the only guy” and allows Olli to play 3rd pair minutes.
        As the years go by, Quinn takes over #1 left pairing, Olli #2 pairing and there is Jake G as #3 or he can get traded for assets.
        The years of the NMC are done unless you are a true generational player.

  • Hockey Bunker

    Three interesting things he said.
    At 10 they are looking for the player with the most skill regardless of position….hinting size doesn’t matter with that pick.
    But later rounds he’s talking to scouts about physical bigger players.
    And third he hints about picking up a second first rounder in the 15-31 slots…not trading down.
    That would be a great achievement.
    And I guess a fourth thing, he’s not trading the young guys, hopefully Jake is on the no trade list.

  • ned

    2016 was the year Benning and co shoulda traded down. BPA was Tkachuk but “team need” was defense. Management coulda traded down 8 or 9 spots, taken McAvoy or Chychrun gotten a high 2nd and also gotten Debrincat who Benning had spent plenty of time scouting and liked.
    OJ will be a perfectly capable 2nd pairing puck-moving defenseman I feel, he just knows what to do with the puck, a good possession player. He just might not be the greatest defensively however, but that can be worked on.

    • While I agree that Tkachuk was the BPA, I disagree with most of your trade-down strategy as it only works with the benefit of hindsight. The top 3 defenders were Juolevi, Chychrun and Sergachev – McAvoy was nowhere in the same discussion as those guys. Juolevi went too high, Chychrun went too low, the actual picks were wildly different from rankings, which were also highly variable. Debrincat was the only guy that was a true steal as he was consistently ranked as a 1st round pick.

      To say it would have been so easy to trade down nearly a third of the first round and get the guys that actually played? If it were that easy, then you should be able to publicly post how the first 15 picks of this year’s draft will go so we can see how accurate you are.

      • Bud Poile

        The CA troll was urged to do that last year but the site sponsored blow hard never did it then,either. Captain Hindsight can’t be the Grand Pooh Bah if that were to happen..

      • ned

        I’m just saying that that woulda been the year to take that chance, because they decided to draft for an area of “team need” rather than take BPA. They did however have OJ very high on they’re list though. Finland was popular that year.

        • DJ_44

          All reports from the 2016 draft suggested the Canucks selected based on BPA and not need. They had Juolevi rated 5 and Tkachuk 6. Similar to 2017, where the Canucks rated Pettersson ahead of Glass and Valardi and who ever else the Services had rated higher (they also had Makar rated up there along with Pettersson).

          In 2018, they had Hughes rated at three.

          • North Van Halen

            Yes he did. He had Tkachuk at 5, McAvoy at 6, Debrincat at 7, Sergachev 8 and Juolevi at 15…just yesterday when he did his redraft waiting at the doctor to get his meds updated…In 2016 he didn’t have a clue.

          • PQW is a Nation Network Contributor

            Sounds like you “had” a lot of guys that weekend. Those guys were OK with sloppy 5ths and 6ths? I guess that does make you “better” than your boi Jim, if you’re into that kinda stuff.

    • kermit

      That would have been nice, but if you look at the 2016 draft, many teams at the top of the draft had traded away their second round pick, including us. DeBrincat was taken 9th in the second round. None of the picks from 5 through 9 in the second were the same teams as 5 to 9 in the first.

      • KGR

        And that would make sense. The lottery in the first round rearranges the non-playoff teams order of picking. The second round reverts back to where they placed in the standings.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Naturally Benning has to play his cards close to his chest lest he gets fined for tampering for mentioning players he’s interested in like what had happened previously. Boeser they’ll certainly sign but he didn’t seem as clear on the Edler situation as fans would like him to be. They also haven’t signed Luke Schenn who’d be a real bargain considering what he brings as a veteran D. Does Benning have some big FA signing on the back burner? It has been relatively quiet in Canuckland this spring and maybe that’s why. We’ll know soon enough.

    • TD

      I’d like to see Edler resigned, but only if the deal is right. The Term and expansion draft are likely the stumbling blocks. Benning may go after Gardiner instead. There isn’t room for both long term with Hughes and Juolevi.

    • Killer Marmot

      If Benning can sign his current free agents, I don’t see him signing a lot of UFAs over the summer. Maybe a single impact player if one can be found a decent price. In previous summers the Canucks had depth issues that needed addressing, but that doesn’t seem to be the case now.

  • wojohowitz

    I can`t believe how some on here keep pumping Juolevi`s tires based on his draft positon. The last pre-season game I saw him play he was getting turnstiled regularly and he couldn`t anticipate the play. He is coming off knee surgery and hasn`t skated in months. We will find out quite quickly in September if he can play but I expect him to spend at least half a season in Utica. The last time I did a depth chart, a year ago, I had him listed at 14th and that will change in July with the signing of at least two UFA defencemen.

    • Holmes

      I’d like to know what kind of knee injury OJ really had. Simple meniscus tear, no biggy. Had one. I’m older but was totally fine after about four months.

      Ligament issues? Bucket meniscus tear? Those are relatively serious. He’s a kid and will heal fast especially with the benefit of all that sports science.

      But he’s not doing a triple sow cow for a while.

    • Green Bastard

      Juolevi fans are the same deluded windowlickers who are still banging on about McCann, Corrado, Forsling and how great Salo woulda been if he wasn’t on the treatment table all the time lol.

        • Green Bastard

          Dude, helloooooo… Juolevi had his first knee surgery in his teens. He has had health issues ever since. Due dilligence not done by Benning pre draft. Smell the coffee, He is a disaster pick. McAvoy or Tkachuk please lol

      • PQW is Cameron Lewis

        F*c* you Cameron Lewis. You’re a joke of an editor in chief, fraud. Trolling the fan site you work for, lol. Being a “window licker” is probably better than being what you are… a rooster lollipop

    • Cageyvet

      I hope that was 14th on the depth chart for NHL-readiness, not potential. I also hope you mean by “at least 2 UFA defensemen” that they might add a UFA forward, because there’s no hope in hell they sign 3 UFA defensemen, they already added 2 college free agents and NHL UFA’s are always overpaid.