“Bargain.” “What a steal!” “Better than Myers at a third of the price!” “Big Bad Jim Benning has dominated the Free Agent Frenzy once again.”
All of these things, except for that last one, were said in July when the Vancouver Canucks signed UFA Jordie Benn to a two-year, $4 million contract.
At the time, Benn was coming off a career season with the Montreal Canadiens in which he provided a shocking amount of five-on-five offense and maintained his typical brand of steady, physical defensive play. He looked, at the very least, capable of shoring up the Canucks’ oft-troubled bottom-pairing, and several pundits had him pencilled in to the top-four.
But what a difference a half-season can make.
Flash-forward to 2020, and Benn is on the outside of the Vancouver lineup looking in, having lost his spot to the significantly less-heralded Oscar Fantenberg. Not only has Benn played himself out of the lineup, the team is also playing its best hockey with him in the pressbox – all in all, not a great look for a defenseman who was meant to be an important part of the Canucks’ transition to playoff contention.
As a veteran who can play either side, Benn remains a valuable depth piece, and the Canucks certainly won’t be in a rush to get rid of him. With that being said, salary is going to have to be cut somewhere on the roster before next season, and right now Benn is looking mighty expendable.
If another franchise offers up a solid return for him at the 2020 Trade Deadline, can Jim Benning and Co. really afford to say no?
That’s why this week we’re asking:
What would you do with Jordie Benn? (both in 2019/20, and beyond)
Last week, we asked:
What would you do with Troy Stecher?
Your responses are below!
Like last season, Stecher has solid possession numbers and is leading the team in plus/minus (okay, tied for the lead). If the Canucks let him walk, they’ll be doing another team a big favour.
If they don’t trade Troy at the deadline, I see a one-year contract that lets Jett Woo have a full year in Utica. See what Jett can do, then make a decision.
I love Chris Tanev, he has been my favorite Canucks Defenceman ever. He is actually having a year of good health, and yet I ask myself; is this an illusion? As much as I like Tanev, I think he is on the down swing of his career.
Stecher on the other hand is still young, plays just as well as Tanev, and is probably more affordable than Tanev. Stecher’s size does work against him a bit, and that probably affects people’s perspective of him as a player.
At the end of the day, I would choose Stecher over Tanev since he is younger, still on the upswing of his career, and not as injury prone as Tanev.
Stecher should stay and Canucks should try to get something for Tanev while his career is resurgent. The fact that Canucks are likely to make the playoffs makes it unlikely either will be traded at the deadline. Perhaps the Canucks could trade Stecher and bring up Rafferty.
I like Stecher a lot. He’s a local kid who plays his heart out most of the time. He is good at his role, which is defending his zone, but he does have weaknesses in the physical department and in providing offense.
This team will be facing cap challenges eventually and I think Stech may be the sacrificial lamb to allow other players to stay in Vancouver. I would try to trade him at the draft and create a space for a younger player such as Rafferty, or whoever wants it the most.
The reason being, he will require a higher paycheck and I think that money may be better spent elsewhere.
Stecher quietly goes about his business and is certainly a legitimate piece of the puzzle. I’d still like to see Groot (Nikita Tryamkin) return, as nothing bothers me more than opposing players taking liberties with our goaltenders and Groot is good at swatting flies.
I would trade him. He has market value
I would try to sign Tanev to three years or less. I think the Canucks have to let someone go, and both Stecher and Tanev deserve a nice extension. Tanev is the better player and may take a hometown discount in term (like Edler did). I think signing them both is a mistake. The team already has three core D locked up long-term, and either Tanev or Stecher would be four and five. Leaving only one spot for Tryamkin, Rafferty, O.J., etc. would be a mistake, IMO. The team needs both cap and roster flexibility. They have prospects and there’s always opportunities out there. Being flexible has value.
Since Stecher will be a RFA, I think he and his rights will have value. Trade him and get a return. Maybe package him with a guy like Baertschi for a bag of pucks to clear up considerable cap space.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
Stecher is good value at $2.3 mil. He can’t be replaced through a trade or with a UFA for that price. His numbers do not justify a raise and the risk is low that arbitration would award him one. The Canucks can’t afford to give him a raise, or to sign him beyond two or three years.
The Canucks have a lot of contracts to renew for next season and there are players definitely due a raise. Something has to give. Replacing Stecher with Rafferty immediately saves $1.6 mil next season. I don’t know Rafferty’s game well enough to know if the Canucks are any worse with this replacement.
Re-sign Stecher for 2 years at $2.3 million, re-sign Fantenberg for one or two years at $1 million, trade Benn. Net savings of $1.7 mil for next season.
Great question. Of the RHD, Myers isn’t going anywhere and both Tanev and Stecher’s futures are up in the air. Next year’s roster will contain one or two of Juolevi, Rafferty, or Tryamkin, with the latter two being RHD. My hunch is Tanev re-signs (unless Toronto is too alluring) and Juolevi makes the team as a 7th D next year. Benning needs to move salary out and will use some combination of Stecher, Rafferty, and Tryamkin to do so, with Stecher likely to garner the largest return.
The kid from Lulu Island deserves a modest two-year contract, IMO, at roughly the same coinage. Rafferty and Woo are unproven and Juolevi is going to show up sooner than later, so it’s Stecher’s job for the time being. As for Tryamkin, I doubt he could crack this line up now or in the future.