As the Vancouver Canucks try to salvage the last of the shreds of dignity left in them…
The Vancouver Canucks have something to cheer about after a losing effort at the hands of the San Jose Sharks. They will have one last playoff push to make with last year’s NHL All-Star and team scoring leader Radim Vrbata staying for the remainder of the season.
A big addition at the trade deadline was centreman Markus Granlund, who will look to displace Linden Vey as both head to restricted free agency. Granlund was acquired from the Calgary Flames for AHL prospect Hunter Shinkaruk, a Benning’s deal that forwarded the rebuild, got immediate help and sent Shinkaruk to his hometown team.
Benning’s scouting prowess was also evident when he acquired the rights to pending free agent Philip Larsen from the Edmonton Oilers. Larsen has had extensive success in the KHL in the recent years, arguably a steal for a conditional fifth-round pick for Trader Jim’s side.
Trader Jim. Now for a big-time reality check.
Oh boy. Do I ever miss him.
February 29th Trade Deadline came and went. The Canucks made a lot of noise. Radim Vrbata and Dan Hamhuis were approached about their no-trade clauses, Hamhuis gave Dallas and Chicago, possibly Los Angeles too, the OK’s for the trade. Even past the noon deadline, there still was speculation that the a deal with Dallas could be in place for Hamhuis.
Canucks nation was shocked at the inabilities of their GM. As they will find out, Benning’s time was not all wasted. It was about trying to salvage return from the hands of the “big boys” like Chicago and Dallas.
When Benning came onto the live press conference, things would get a little clearer. Here is the link to the press conference.
2:40 PM: Jim Benning concluded his press conference. Takeaways:
- DAL and CHI were the hottest suitors for Hamhuis. Final proposals were underwhelming.
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- DAL chose Kris Russell over Hamhuis and the return was better for Russell than what was proposed to VAN.
- Vrbata was barely considered. No concrete offers were made.
- Players like Thatcher Demko and Brock Boeser were called about, Benning did not consider anything.
- Contract talks with Hamhuis will begin soon, potential that Hamhuis takes a “hometown discount” — that is from the Hamhuis conference before Benning’s.
- Vrbata gave a fair list of teams to Benning, Hamhuis did say okay to DAL (Wednesday) and CHI (Thursday)
- The main concern is that he never got good returns. No decent picks and prospects were available for taking.
- No calls were made about Chris Higgins or Brandon Prust, nor about the NHL-level youngs.
- At the end, Hamhuis and Vrbata have taken this with class.
- Bottomline: Market was not hospitable
- The team will look to make call-ups, specifically mentioned Brendan Gaunce, Alex Grenier and Mike Zalewski.
Oh and Benning sounded really frustrated about facing the reporters’ questions.
To Benning’s defence, Brandon Pirri fetched a sixth-round draft pick. You can imagine how hard that would have been for Florida after thinking of fetching second round picks in return when Pirri was first put on the market over the weekend.
Here are some more thoughts as Jim Benning is now live on TSN1040 as I post this.
That being said:
Benning has also said that ownership was not involved in barring any trade from happening.
The good? The Canucks did not do anything more stupid. Kids are still here, no more veterans trying to make the playoff push, and the kids are going to get a look. The bad? The Canucks did not, could not make a deal.
Whether you blame Jim Benning for it or the market for it, I will leave that for you to decide. Either way, this is a dark Vancouver market. Time to have some reckless fun. More to come.
For all it’s worth, The Hockey News has Vancouver as the biggest losers of the deadline.