Vancouver Canucks: GM Benning Part 2

Hello mid-February. And oh those negative echoes are getting louder along with those ever swirling rumour mills. Sell. Trade. Change. Sell. Trade. Change. Sell. Trade. Change. Let him go. Re-sign him. Waiver drops and waiver pick ups. Roster moves.  Oh yes, it’s that ever active time of the NHL season leading up to the trade deadline. Buyers and sellers. Over payment. Under valued. Oh the moves that will be made in the coming days as rosters get locked into post-season mode versus building for future.

One rumour mill can finally stop spinning. The Vancouver Canucks made their first official announcement ahead of the deadline by re-signing GM Jim Benning.

It’s no secret that many Canucks fans are split on the decision to bring back Jim Benning. There are those who say, it may have been better to let Benning go and move into a new direction. And there are those who say bring him back and allow him to keep growing the depth within the organization.

Was bringing him back the right decision? Time will tell, everyone is entitled to have whichever opinion they choose but I think he has more than earned his shot. Is Jim Benning perfect? No, absolutely not but neither is any team’s GM. Has he made mistakes? Sure, but so have most people in his position.

When Benning came to the Canucks in 2014, their prospect pool was not very deep, youth was not a part of the equation on the main team, an organization that needed to take some time.The organization needed to rebuild from the bottom up. No, it didn’t happen over night and they are still in the thick of it but that doesn’t mean it’s not starting to move up throughout the organization. Depth begins with the prospects and development of the young players as a new core emerges. Moves were made sending some veteran players to new teams while bringing in some new players to the team, youth was injected into the lineup, and draft picks acquired.

Was every move a hit out of the park? No, but that’s the nature of the game. Sometimes you gamble and win, sometimes you make the gamble and people call it a bust. It’s not a perfect formula but all GMs fall into the risk of the gamble when they make any trade.

People screamed for the team to get younger and veteran players moved. They started this process and yet still it was not good enough. The thing that is so often forgotten is that while everyone wants the team to play all the young players, they can’t just drop a full line of young inexperienced players without a few veterans to help guide them. Progress doesn’t always happen over night much as many wish it would, it takes time to draft depth and develop that depth properly. Veterans like Henrik and Daniel are a huge part of that process despite what so many on the outside will say.

Four years later, the Canucks have one of the strongest prospect pools in the league: Thatcher Demko, Brock Boeser, Adam Gaudette, Olli Juolevi, Elias Pettersson, Jonathan Dahlen, Kole Lind, Jonah Gadjovich, Michael Dipietro, Petrus Palmu. That’s just part of the list, and there’s a whole lot to be excited about these young players moving their way up the systems.

Looking at this particular season, has this season been anywhere near perfect? No, I acknowledge that truth but there have definitely been some standout moments. Brock Boeser’s having a rookie season for the Canucks record books and that has been all kinds of awesome to witness. It doesn’t matter who he is lined up with, he brings that consistent edge to his game every single game. Daniel Sedin became the 2nd player in Canucks history to surpass 1000 NHL points. Bo Horvat despite missing a significant chunk of time due to an injury, has found another gear to his game continuing to learn to lead by example on and off of the ice. And yes, I know those small moments don’t make a season, but those are the ones I’ll long remember when the final buzzer goes out on the season not the negative headlines.

Who’s to say a new GM won’t come in and trade away some of the those highly touted prospects or someone like Bo Horvat and the process of building up organizational depth would have to start all over again? The reality is that despite the split of who should be the GM, Jim Benning is still at the helm and the process continues. So, no while I understand that many don’t view him as perfect, he doesn’t get enough credit for the good that he has brought to the organization.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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