The Hockey News conducted to a survey to see how much each fan base trusts their front office, and the results weren’t kind for the Vancouver Canuck.
Without any postseason hockey for the third time in four years, it’s safe to say the Vancouver Canucks front office hasn’t done a whole lot to earn confidence from the fan base.
Though current general manager Jim Benning has done a magnificent job restocking this team with elite prospects and plenty of young talent, the likes of Markus Granlund, Troy Stecher, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson and Olli Juloevi aren’t enough.
The Hockey News recently conducted surveys to see how much confidence all 31 NHL teams have from their front office. There were six areas for fans to vote in: Roster building, cap management, draft/develop, vision, free agency and trading.
And boy, it wasn’t a pleasant sight for the Canucks front office. They came in at No. 30, only ahead of the Colorado Avalanche. The Canucks placed 29th in five of the categories, and 28th in another (cap management). Here’s how Dom Luszczyszyn from The Hockey News broke it down:
"The team that finished with the least confidence last season moves up this season – kind of. They’re not last anymore, but they’re still 30th. Vancouver’s own fans are a bit more optimistic than the rest of us, but based on the downward spiral this team is heading in, mixed with the fact they don’t seem to know what direction they’re going in, it’s hard to give this group much faith. They actually made some decent off-season signings this year, but what’s the point of moving a little farther away from the basement if it’s not going to get you in the playoffs?More from The Canuck WayWhich team won the Bo Horvat trade?What to expect from newcomers Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu RätyBack to the future: How the skate uniforms became a regular Canucks’ feature nightCanucks kick off 2023 with disappointing 6-2 loss to Islanders2nd period penalty trouble sinks Canucks in 4-2 loss against Winnipeg"
To be honest, I was a bit surprised to see the Canucks fall this low. Yes, fans were frustrated when Benning signed Loui Eriksson to a six-year contract worth $36 million last season — suggesting the team was still nowhere prepared for a rebuild.
Rebuilding the right way
But over the past few months, Benning has done a wondrous job putting this team on the path to competing for championships in the long term.
Benning hasn’t made a trade that crippled Vancouver’s long-term future, nor did he waste countless first round selections the way predecessor Mike Gillis did. Benning’s made some great trades, has drafted very well and has finally put together a team that will be competitive for years to come.
Fans just have to look at what Benning has done while being pressured into putting together a rebuilding team that was yet competitive enough to fight for a playoff spot. He’s done extremely well for the position that he was put in when hired in 2014.
This rebuild is going the right way. So trust him and the front office.
Better than 30th
If you ask me, the Canucks front office should be somewhere in the 20-25th range at the moment. 30 is excessively high, when you consider some of the other front offices around the NHL.
Obviously, the Colorado Avalanche (ranked last), haven’t been doing much to inspire fan confidence, as general manager Joe Sakic continues to hold out on blowing up the roster.
The Detroit Red Wings haven’t been drafting well over the years, and general manager Ken Holland has handed out some very questionable contracts to the likes of Frans Nielsen, Darren Helm, Stephen Weiss and others. Detroit lacks the blue chip prospects, and they too have delayed an inevitable roster blow up.
There are also teams like the Winnipeg Jets, New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers and Arizona Coyotes that have consistently been among the NHL’s bottom-feeders for a long time. A lot of that has to do with head-scratching moves from the front office personnel.
Unlike a lot of these teams, the Canucks have built the right path and seem to know where they’re going. There isn’t a constant change of general managers or a continuation of porous drafting. As such, Vancouver Canucks fans should take a moment and realize how fortunate they are in having Benning lead the front office.