Canucks GM Jim Benning’s trade history is not as bad as you think

Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning announces Jake Virtanen (not pictured) as the number six overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning announces Jake Virtanen (not pictured) as the number six overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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By failing to rebuild on the fly and consistently overpaying players, Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning is far from perfect. However, his trade history is not as bad as you think!

Jim Benning‘s tenure as general manager of the Vancouver Canucks has not been excellent. But why does the majority of Canucks Nation seem to hate him?

Common among all the criticism is Benning’s trade history — an area that should be noted as a highlight. Not all his deals are perfect; but none of the transactions are hurting the franchise. Even in cases were Benning lost a trade on paper, they weren’t terrible.

Let’s take a look.

Just over a month on the job, Benning recognized the need for young depth. Since defensemen have a high trade value, you can argue the Canucks could have acquired more from the Bolts. Yet, Garrison’s no-trade clause and $4.6 million cap hit over six years was basically unmovable. Also, his play and statistics were declining.

Benning found a home for Garrison on a Tampa Bay team that needed a solid veteran blueliner for defensive depth. The deal was basically one for one as Jeff Costello never played in the NHL and Tampa eventually dealt the draft pick.

Dorsett put up career-high numbers in his first year in Vancouver. He is a serviceable fourth-line scrapper who provides some secondary offensive. Dorsett is absolutely worth Keegan Iverson – a now five year veteran of the Western Hockey League who hasn’t yet played a professional game.

Today this trade may have benefited the Ducks more than the Canucks. However, Ryan Kesler wanted to get out of Vancouver, and what Benning acquired in return for Ryan is valuable on paper. They replaced the hole at the center position, got depth on defense, and drafted Jared McCann and Nikita Tryamkin.

At the time, this deal looked promising because Linden Vey was excelling in the AHL and looked good in his first 18 NHL appearances. But he did not live up to expectations scoring only 10 goals and 24 points in his first season in Vancouver.

Canucks fans cannot blame Benning for this trade, though. It was worth a shot.

Really, this trade was the third-round pick for Andrey Pedan, as Mallat wasn’t a legitimate prospect and was playing in the ECHL. Yes, you can argue a third-round pick is a lot for a young unproven player. Although a young, mobile defenseman standing 6-foot-5 is worth taking a chance on, and it’s payed off thus far for the Utica Comets.

Who knows, with the departure of Nikita Tryamkin, perhaps Pedan gets another look with the Canucks in 2017-18.

Does Benning even need defending here? Sven Baertschi was exactly what Vancouver needed (and still needs): an offensive prospect.

He quickly lived up to the hype, scoring two goals in his first three appearances with the Canucks and helped Utica reach the Calder Cup Finals. Baertschi is developing nicely in Vancouver and is certainly a core piece moving forward.

Canucks Nation vigorously protested this move. And now look at us, we are laughing!

Poor Eddie Lack. The former Vancouver fan-favorite struggled after leaving. So much this past season he’ll be lucky to back up an NHL team again in the future.

This deal is the only one I believe Vancouver lost. Jim Benning overpaid for Sutter. Without the draft picks, the deal does not look as bad. Both centers are depth scorers and Sutter is younger.

Sure, Bonino is winning Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh while Sutter faces criticism by fans and sports media in Vancouver. But are the players really that different? And did this trade really hurt the Canucks?

The answer is no.

A deal that left Canucks fans shaking their heads at first may turn out to be one of Benning’s best yet. Grandlund had a break out season this year while predominately playing on the third line.

Despite being only a year older than Shinkaruk, Granlund’s development is far beyond that of the former Canuck. Shinkaruk hasn’t even cracked the Flames’ roster, while the second ex-Flames prospect to join Vancouver could be a core player.

One can argue that Benning overpaid for Erik Gudbranson, a shutdown defenseman. Especially since Adam Mascherin – Florida’s 2016 second-round pick – is putting up excellent numbers in juniors.

In Gudbranson’s first 30 games in Vancouver, he struggled. His shot percentage dipped and he was turning the puck over again and again. Then his season was cut short due to ligament damage in his wrist.

We have not seen enough of Gudbranson, or the 19-year-old Canucks 2016 fifth-round pick Cole Candella to judge this trade yet. Gudbranson has the tools to make this a worthy deal, so let’s hope he bounces back next season.

Benning absolutely won this deal!  Burrows was maybe worth a decent prospect back in 2014-2015, but not this year. I would have been satisfied if the Senators sent the Canucks a fourth or fifth-round pick. Instead, the Canucks acquire a promising young forward.

Dahlen has dominated at all levels. Lucky for Canucks fans, we will get a look at him in training camp, and he’ll likely play an important role in Utica next season.

Shortly after Burrows left, Canucks fans were introduced to yet another forward: 21 year-old Nikolay Goldobin. Management is finally rebuilding.

Another solid trade. Of course, Hansen is a more complete player right now. Goldobin has excelled in his first three years of professional hockey, though. Also, he is further along in his development at 21 than Hansen was.

Everyone will be able to get a good look at him next season, so for now Canucks fans can just hope he can translate his skills and speed to the NHL.

Next: Penguins teach Vancouver how to win

So There you have it.

Transactions left off the list are basically irrelevant; yet Benning still wins most of them.

The argument remains: none of the trades Benning has executed for the Canucks so far hurt the team.