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Linden: Canucks may have passed on Pettersson if Benning had his way

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Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
3 months ago
Where would the Canucks be without Elias Pettersson?
To most hockey fans in Vancouver, even just thinking of that concept would be a waking nightmare. But to hear former Canucks president Trevor Linden tell it, that was almost the reality.
Speaking on Wednesday’sedition of Canucks Central on Sportsnet 650, Linden said there was a significant difference between how the team approached the draft in 2016, when they picked Olli Juolevi at No. 5 overall, and in 2017, when they nabbed Pettersson.
“I wasn’t happy with the way our process was in 2016,” Linden said on Wednesday’s “That was the first year Judd [Brackett, former Canucks amateur scouting director] had taken over the reins and I did not like how our meetings went.
“In 2017, I really pushed hard to have Judd really step up and really run a robust-type meeting, in that we could really put our thoughts and feelings on the table,” Linden continued. “I really pushed hard against that management group to have Judd and his guys make the pick.
“Jim wasn’t sold [on Pettersson]. You know what, if Jim had his choice, we probably would’ve taken a different player.”
It didn’t take long for Pettersson to establish himself as a No. 1 center in the NHL. These days, he’s one of the best players in the entire league. As Linden put it, Brackett and his scouts were “banging their fists on the table” for the Canucks to take Pettersson — and they were right.
In saying this on Wednesday, Linden essentially confirmed a long-running theory in many Canucks circles that Benning was against picking Pettersson in 2017. One ex-Canucks scout, Jonathan Bates, seemed to express relief on Twitter about Linden “finally” getting the truth out:
The Canucks wouldn’t be where they are today without Pettersson, who is currently second in the NHL with 21 points. He and the Canucks will return to action on Thursday to take on the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata, Ontario.

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