With yet another dismal season wrapping up, the Vancouver Canucks and Sedin twins may have to decide to mutually part ways — since it’s best for both sides at this point.
The Vancouver Canucks are going through one of their worst periods in franchise history, set on missing the playoffs for the third consecutive year. This team also hasn’t won a playoff series in seven years, and they don’t seem anywhere close to getting back to the postseason.
In 2016, they finished 28th in the league standings, then 29th in 2017. This year? There’s a great chance they finish dead last, which would earn them the best draft lottery odds – and guarantee a pick no lower than fourth-overall.
It’s clear that some major changes are needed this offseason, and general manager Jim Benning knows this. He should look to ship out affordable but underachieving players like Sam Gagner, Michael Del Zotto and Anders Nilsson. Simply put, it’s time to overhaul much of the roster.
And that could mean bidding farewell to Daniel and Henrik Sedin, the franchise icons who are turning 38 years of age and may simply be better off playing elsewhere. At least, it probably would be easier for Canucks management if the twins decided moving on was the best option.
Ryan Lambert of Yahoo Sports explained why the Canucks need to think about parting ways with their franchise stars:
If the Sedins do indeed return to Vancouver, it’s just going to be another year of this nonsense, though. Benning continue to retain or seek out mediocre-or-worse players in their mid-20s, throw a mid-level contract at a 31-year-old coming off a high-shooting-percentage year, and the team will finish 28th or something despite Boeser’s best efforts to do it all himself.
There’s no chance to stick to the plan because there is no plan other than “Let the Sedins dictate our future.” It’s not that the Sedins are bad or anything, but their mere presence seems to be what’s holding back their franchise from going anywhere. So that’s not on them, but if they want to leave a franchise better than they found it, they actually have to leave it.
Lambert pretty much hits the nail on the head with this one. We’re in year four of the Benning-Trevor Linden era, and there’s been zero indication they’ll ever fully commit to a full, tear-it-all-down rebuild.
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In Dec. 2016, Linden talked to Luke Fox of Sportsnet and said he couldn’t rebuild, because it wasn’t fair to the Sedins. Then, he says in April that the Canucks are finally rebuilding. That’s why the Nilsson, Gagner and Del Zotto signings don’t make much sense, or the fact Benning chose not to trade Erik Gudbranson at the deadline.
It truly does seem like the Canucks don’t want to rebuild fully, so long as the Sedins are on the team. If that’s the case, then it’s time for Benning and Linden to sit down with the twins and talk it over.
Tell them they have to simply move on in another direction, and encourage the twins to chase a Stanley Cup championship elsewhere.
The Sedins can still play; they are 40-50 point players. But in reality, the Canucks would be better giving ice time to younger players. And if they can’t replace the Sedins’ production? It at least helps them get better draft lottery odds.
Yes, it’d be hard for many fans to see the franchise bid farewell to Daniel and Henrik. But ask yourself this: How will the franchise get better in the next five years by keeping the twins? At the end of the day, Vancouver is at least five years away from realistically contending again, and the twins will be retired by then.
Following a dismal 2016-17 season, the Arizona Coyotes reset and told captain Shane Doan he wasn’t coming back. He would retire shortly thereafter. Surely, Coyotes ownership and management didn’t feel good doing it, but they know the NHL is simply a business. The Canucks need to learn it.
Sure, the Canucks can bring back the twins on one-year deals this summer. Then you shouldn’t be surprised if they sign another fading veteran to try and “find chemistry” with the twins. Then the Canucks will fail to hand out ice time to their kids in 2018-19. Rinse. Repeat.
That is why Benning and Linden have to consider a very difficult decision, and think about telling the Sedins it’s time to move on.