Vancouver Canucks: And people say Jim Benning is not rebuilding

CALGARY, AB - DECEMBER 23: Matthew Tkachuk
CALGARY, AB - DECEMBER 23: Matthew Tkachuk /

 By no means is this an endorsement of Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning and his framework for optimal team development.  Many hockey minded people outside of the Vancouver market are skeptical of both Benning’s roster building methods, and the prospects amassed in the process. Instead, the following signifies potential for the Canucks.

In light of Derek Dorsett‘s recent success with the Vancouver Canucks, various NHL prospects showing Dorett-like nastiness are standing out. Some include: Jake Virtanen, Nathan Walker, and of course: Matthew Tkachuk.

Tkachuk, like his father is unique. They are both dominant and physical – Matthew the more dynamic skater – but no question dirty. The next Tkachuk entering the spotlight is younger brother Brady Tkachuck.

Would it be valuable for the Canucks to pick Brady if they fall out of the Rasumus Dahlin race? Yes it would.

Pure power forward

By adding depth in the off-season, the Vancouver Canucks may not finish at the bottom of the standings. Even if the injury bug bites hard. Therefore, the generational defensemen who according to TSN‘s Bob Mckenzie will be the first player chosen in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, is a reach.

More from The Canuck Way

Of course a young defensmen is still needed, but the Vancouver Canucks are ailing in all areas. Benning no doubt missed on drafting some players  – for example Nikolaj Ehlers over Virtanen. But he addresses every fundamental area with his top-picks in every draft.

In 2014, Benning chose a power-forward; in 2015, a scoring winger; in 2016, a top-four defensemen; and in 2017 a skillful center. Though there are several Swedish top defensemen in this draft, Tkachuk applies a unique net-first style to the left-wing. Plus, Tkachuk can also play center; thus, a better power-forward bet than Virtanen so high in the draft.

Standing at 6-foot-3, the 196-pound Tkachuk is big, strong, fast, and talented. He has good hands in-tight and a hard shot, but lacks acceleration and fluidity. Although “fluid” is not his game. Imagine a young Blake Wheeler but with brother Matthew’s edge.

Although the Vancouver Canucks are not rebuilding a la Toronto Maple Leafs model, Benning is working. A framework of young prospects is establishing under the noses of fans. Watch, it takes listing them all to appreciate the general managers work thus far.

Notable draft picks, post-2013

If the Vancouver Canucks make a major splash at the draft and acquire the prized Dahlin, rejoice! If not, selecting Tkachuk or even one of the Swedes does not hamper the team’s growth.

Observe. All of the following are developing well.

2014: Virtanen and Thatcher Demkoarguably the Vancouver Canucks next great goaltender.

2015: Brock BoeserGuillaume Brisebois, and two-way center Adam Gaudette.

2016: Olli Juolevi, and William Lockwood, Jannik Hansen‘s replacement. 

2017: Petrus Palmu, Micheal DiPietro, Jonah Gadjovich, Kole Lind, and the SHL rookie wonder himself,  Elias Pettersson.

Also, there are those like Nikolay Goldobin, Troy Stecher, and Jonathan Dahlen. All of whom the Vancouver Canucks received via trade or free agency.

Not a solely a mediocre prospect pool after all.

Next: Vancouver Canucks move up in power rankings

So next time, Toronto fan says,

“Yeah but every team’s prospect pool is good!” – in regards to that of the Vancouver Canucks. Just grin. Soon Vancouver will have a competitive team. In fact so good, Sportsnet might actually broadcast their game on a double-digit channel on the same night the Leafs play.

Ah who are we kidding. A man can dream right?