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Jim Benning is obsessed with bad defencemen

In what seems like the most eventful week of the NHL calendar, the Vancouver Canucks seem to be one of the most active teams in trade talks. But their focus might shift for a split second.

Since the idea of re-signing Alex Edler because of term concerns, Vancouver management seems to be considering re-signing a terrible, terrible defenceman that is essentially just plugging up a roster spot.

The Canucks didn’t want to go sign a defenceman that has been one of the best in franchise history for a third year, taking Edler to free agency, but they are going to re-sign a player that will rot on their blue line for more years.

He only played a total of 18 games for the Canucks, and seven with the Comets, but Schenn coming back to this organization feels like a step backwards no matter what. Giving any option to have him on their NHL roster would be a mistake.

Schenn is heading to free agency after bouncing around this league and never putting up any kind of production as a defenceman in any positive light. He has only been a positive shot attempt player relative to his teammates once in his ten-year career as an NHL player — a 3.3 CF%rel on the 2012-13 Philadelphia Flyers.

There is always an argument for Schenn having little impact on this roster, staying in Utica or never seeing any games outside the press box at Rogers Arena, but he provides very little for a team that is trying to get out of this perpetual rebuild.

Someone like Schenn might not see much ice-time, but other defencemen like Rasmus Ristolainen and Zach Bogosian will play significant minutes and will go beyond a simple free agent signing.

The price paid for defencemen as of late is extremely expensive. Justin Braun getting traded for important draft picks and the Niskanen-Gudas swap was confusing to say the least. For the Canucks to acquire Ristolainen or Bogosian, that will cost future assets that they shouldn’t really think of selling off right now.

Both of these defencemen need a lot of explaining and deep looking to find positives for what they can bring into a young, trying-to-be-fast team like the Canucks. Both are not the best skaters and aren’t that strong defensively — those can go hand-in-hand.

Another free agent defenceman that fits that mold perfectly is Tyler Myers, who the Canucks have been rumoured to be interested in for a while now.

Myers might be considered the best of this horrible bunch but that’s just trying to find any silver lining in this awkward obsession with slow-skating and tall blueliners.

Benning seems to be skillfully avoiding any interest in the good players that might be available. Gostisbehere and Colin Miller are two defencemen that would fit this team perfectly — inexpensive and young enough to stay in Vancouver for multiple years and contribute to an up-and-coming team.

But of course there is no reason to offer up any solid value for a player like that, instead, use the resources available to acquire some slow and old skaters that will be grow hate amongst the fanbase.

It seems odd that the Canucks were reportedly active in trade talks throughout the league, but they seem to be ignoring the big fish that are available and going into the swamp to catch some half-rotten minnow. If there is any sense that this team wants to move forward and reach the playoffs anytime soon, they are certainly hoping for some puck luck and to fall ass backwards into the postseason.

Even if Myers and Schenn come to Vancouver for just cap space, it’s still an awkward situation that represents a greater frustration that this management won’t go beyond the low-hanging fruit. Shooting themselves in the foot with trading for or signing bad players might just be why the Canucks have been the worst team in recent history.

All of the rumoured defencemen that are apparently close to being a part of this team are just simply bad and nothing will ever change. Hoping for some draft lottery luck or for Pettersson himself to get even better and drag some of these terrible players into a first-round exit, is just something that a fan shouldn’t suffer through.

If you’re in the NHL and have trouble breaking the puck out of your own zone, I’m sure Benning would love to have you in Vancouver.

  • Bucket

    This article is trash. The writer needs to learn the difference between an angry rant and objective journalism. On top of that, you are blasting the GM for not being involved enough in trade “rumours” of players you would like. I hate ripping on the authors here because I know it is a blog and you devote a lot of time to writing these for very little reward. But in this case, this article is trash.

  • Jaydee

    This article is aggressively negative. It trashes Benning but offers no solutions. You basically wrote this just to express your frustration and that’s it. Very bad read, rethink your writing for future posts plz.

  • I am Ted

    Just popped in to check on the pre-draft and could not believe it. All the usual suspects still posting here, don’t any of you guys have lives? 90 comments here already on this trollfest piece, like wtf!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • I am Ted

        Learn to read and then get some manners. I clearly said i just popped by for pre-draft and haven’t posted here for months.

        You’re a no-mark i don’t know or care about so w/e, but looking thugh some threads, why are all the usual suspects still posting here months after the Canucks season finished…. saddos.

        • Bucket

          So you just popped in for some pre draft and left a comment calling us all saddos. But then you came back yet again. What for this time? To see if anyone had replied to your comment or some more pre draft? You aren’t fooling anyone saddo, you are here just like the rest of us and I’m sure you’ll even be back yet again to read this. Will you reply though? Hmmmm

  • Killer Marmot

    So is Benning REALLY in love with bad defensemen?

    No. What’s happened is that Benning has been trying to rebuild his defense in part through moderately priced UFAs, entry-level free agents, and low-level trades. It’s not a terrible idea as it preserves assets, and it has brought the Canucks Stecher and Sautner. But for every success there’s ten failures.