Jannik Hansen is calling for a proper Vancouver Canucks rebuild, not a ‘retool’
4 months ago
When Jannik Hansen made his weekly appearance on The People’s Show on Sportsnet 650, he cut right to the chase: in his eyes, the Vancouver Canucks are in deep, deep trouble. The former Canuck didn’t hold back, firing shots at the team-building approach led by ownership and the front office over the last decade and its’ lack of success, as well as recent messages by the new management team.
Specifically, Hansen pointed to President of Hockey Ops Jim Rutherford’s Saturday night interview on After Hours with Scott Oake, and his use of the phrase ‘retool on the fly’. That phrase has become synonymous in this market with ownership’s willingness to embrace mediocrity in favour of short-term profits, and Hansen knows it.
“This started when they fired [Alain Vigneault] back when we got swept by San Jose. It’s been 10 years, I haven’t seen the fruit of their labour, if you will. I don’t think they’re closer to winning the Stanley Cup than they were when they traded [Kesler]. It seems like you need something radical to shake this up,” Hansen said.
“Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. We saw this story last year. It’s the same group, it’s the same leaders, it’s the same horses pulling the wagon.”
From there, Hansen broke down the basic fallacies of a retool, and why that kind of team-building strategy is almost always destined to fail.
“This ‘retool on the fly’, we add a couple of pieces, we still have a good core. But what happens is that the core keeps moving, and you’re not quite there. So we’re gonna get two or three, four years down the line, and all of a sudden we have these young players that might become really good, but Petey, Quinn and Demko might be that much older and we’re talking about them like we’re talking about Bo and J.T. right now,” Hansen said.
“You need to have these guys coming together at the same time if you want to have an opportunity and then fill in around them. But if you keep up this patchwork, you’re always going to be short on players the right age and finding the right guys at the right time.”
Hansen did acknowledge that the road through a full rebuild is painful and difficult, but he also pointed out that so many of the teams that fully invested in the process went on to years of contention.
“Look at Chicago before they picked up Kane, Toews, Keith, and Seabrook and how bad those teams were. And yeah, it was a lot of tough nights. I’m sure they’re looking at Colorado, and how long they were bad. But it comes around and it seems like it comes around quicker if you do that.”
But when it comes to how the Canucks’ front office should approach these kinds of changes in the public sphere, again Hansen didn’t pull any punches.
“I think the fans in Vancouver and the media, if you come out and tell them that this is what to expect, and not a Jim Benning message that ‘we will fix this in three years’ and seven years later we’re still in the same hole, then you can buy into it,” Hansen said. “There’s gonna be a lot of tough, tough hockey games here. But then there’s a clear path instead of this status quo where you’re just hovering in the middle, you’re not quite good enough to get into the playoffs, but you’re too good to get these draft picks that’ll make a true difference down the line.”
Hansen acknowledged the difficulty of rebuilding situations for players, and how it can feel like a pointless endeavour to stay on a team when they know they won’t be part of the eventual solution. But it’s clear to him from situations like J.T. Miller and Luke Schenn’s on-ice argument on Saturday that there’s already enough problems from a skill standpoint to warrant serious changes.
“You’d like to see that when things are going right because it means you hold yourself to a higher standard. But when things are going wrong and you have two guys butting heads like that, it’s obviously something they’ve talked about in the dressing room and keep repeating the same mistake. It just speaks to a dressing room that’s probably a little bit divided,” Hansen said.
“You need to fix this [defence], I think it’s evident they can’t defend well enough. They can score, but when the offence goes like it did against Buffalo, you’re still inhaling five goals. When the offence goes against Carolina, you’re still swallowing three goals on 45 some-odd shots. And you can’t have success like that.”
Hopefully for Hansen and all of us, the Canucks are willing to listen to his advice.
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