Judd Brackett is no longer with the Canucks. Now that the dust has settled a bit, let’s examine some potential suitors already within the organization who could be named the Canucks’ next Director of Amateur Scouting.
Yes, Jim Benning, who comes from a scouting background, could theoretically take on the duties of the director of the amateur scouting department without changing his job title. If the team doesn’t name a new director at all, the job essentially lies on Benning’s shoulders — well, his and his right-hand man’s.
If not the General Manager, what about the assistant to the general manager? For many outside the organization, John Weisbrod’s role is unclear — therefore, he could take on the role of leading the scouting department and allocating the Canucks’ scouting staff accordingly.
Weisbrod’s scouting background began in Dallas before joining the Bruins and moving to Calgary to become an assistant general manager. Some close to the situation have hypothesized that the Canucks may not be looking to fill the position and instead allow Benning and Weisbrod run the scouting department. Speaking of the scouting department, let’s take a look at any names already in the amateur scouting department who could take the Judd Brackett route and be promoted to the head of the department.
Promote one of the scouts in either the professional or amateur departments
Names such as Brett Henning, the Director of Professional Scouting, and Chief Amateur Scout Ron Delorme pop off the page as people who could take on that role, but adding more to their plate could prove to be counterintuitive.
The key to a successful organization is to have as many people as possible in positions in which they can succeed to the fullest of their abilities. Filling the position just to fill the position isn’t wise and isn’t something that should be taken lightly.
Some respect names on the amateur side within the organization include Jonathan Bates, Derek Richard, and Todd Harvey, who people in the industry highly regard and whose work ethic is respected by many. And what a story it would be if Jim Benning promotes his son Brandon Benning to the head of amateur scouting. Could you imagine?
On the professional scout’s side, the main options are Brian Chapman, Marc Crawford’s brother Lou Crawford, and former Canuck Lars Lindgren. They all have been with the organization’s pro scouting department for quite some time.
— Brendan Batchelor (@BatchHockey) May 29, 2020
Unlikely Candidates within and one name outside the organization
Chris Higgins has been working with the organization for a few years now as an Assistant Director of Player Development. Higgins’s role is to visit prospects while watching them play and keeping tabs on them while developing at the AHL or College level. Now the question is if Higgins wants to move on to a different role in the organization, could he be considered for the role of Director of Amateur Scouting? My guess is no.
In the zoom meeting Benning had with the media, he mentioned former Canucks Army Managing Editor Ryan Biech when asked what the plan was moving forward without Brackett. He touted the work Biech has done this year, so who knows, maybe down the line that’s something we could see.
Michael Futa served as the assistant GM in LA before leaving in May. He had a heavy focus on amateur scouting and was a name people threw around in Vancouver once he left the Kings. Futa’s goal is to become a GM, and the fact of the matter is that going from AGM to head scout is not the route to take if one’s end goal is becoming an NHL GM. So no, Futa will not be taking his talent to Hollywood north.
Whether you support Benning or Brackett through this whole debacle, one thing that is true is this relationship worked and whoever replaces Brackett will have a tough time filling his shoes since, during his reign, the Canucks put together one of the best prospect pools in the NHL.