Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning has made some terrible decisions. And some great ones. But what does that tell us about the overall job he is doing?
When the Vancouver Canucks traded picks and a top prospect to the Florida Panthers in exchange for defenseman Erik Gudbranson, fans weren’t happy. But, they weren’t happy when they traded top prospect Hunter Shinkaruk for an ‘average bottom-six guy’ in Markus Granlund.
Many fans hated the decision to pick Jake Virtanen sixth overall in 2014. But, despite recent events, the selections of Thatcher Demko and Nikita Tryamkin in the same draft look excellent. And then there’s 2015 pick Brock Boeser.
To summarise, Canucks GM Jim Benning has had his ups and downs. But how does he compare to the rest of the league?
The team over at Hockey-Graphs attempted to rate NHL GMs’ decisions of the past four years, and turned the results into a GM ranking.
You can find the full methodology here, but I’ll try to give a quick summary. The Hockey-Graphs team researched every decision executed in the past four years and individually rated the 31 GMs in seven categories, handing out ratings between 1 and 5. The categories include drafting, trades and UFA signings.
In addition, they used DTMAboutheart’s Goals Above Replacement metric to identify whether each roster got better or worse through the GMs’ respective decisions.
Are you ready for a ‘surprise’? Canucks GM Benning ranks dead-last with an average score of 2.5 out of 5.
Here is why:
It’s hard to discern whether Benning has been hamstrung by ownership, but no team has deteriorated more since 2013. The Canucks have gotten younger recently, but it’s unlikely guys like Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser are going to be enough to turn the team around. While Benning did make some savvy trades at this year’s deadline, with the weight of his tenure stacked against him, it’s highly doubtful he’ll be able to see the Canucks’ rebuild through.
It’s true that Benning has made some good moves, i.e. trading for Granlund, who developed into a 20-goal scorer in Vancouver. However, that is not enough to outweigh all the bad ones.
The upcoming few years will give direction to the Canucks’ future. If Benning does a good job, Vancouver could be back in the playoffs within three years. If he doesn’t, the rebuild could take a tedious 10 years.
The Vancouver Canucks hired Travis Green as the club’s new head coach as their first offseason move. Maybe it won’t be long before they make a management change as well.
The clock is ticking, Mr. Benning.