Vancouver Canucks roundtable: Thoughts on Trevor Linden’s departure

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 23: Trevor Linden talks with Tyler Madden reacts after being selected 68th overall by the Vancouver Canucks during the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JUNE 23: Trevor Linden talks with Tyler Madden reacts after being selected 68th overall by the Vancouver Canucks during the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Last week, the Vancouver Canucks announced that team president Trevor Linden was stepping down and leaving the organization. We’ve had a week to analyze the decision. Now, our staff discusses his departure and what it means.

Vancouver Canucks franchise legend Trevor Linden opted to leave the organization last week after four years as team president, and the news shocked the vast majority of the hockey world.

Well, Canucks fans have had a week now to stomach the sudden and unexpected departure. Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province reported rumblings that Linden and ownership had a heated meeting, which was “described as a final straw-like event.”

In short, it sounds like he and the owners weren’t seeing eye-to-eye in terms of what direction the team should take. It’s now up to general manager Jim Benning to get this rebuild back on track, without his boss of four years.

Of course, many loyal Canucks fans have to be disappointed in Linden’s sudden departure, simply given how much he’s done for the franchise and community. But perhaps it was the best for all parties that Linden stepped down.

In this week’s roundtable, Scott Rosenhek, Chris Faber and myself sit down and share our thoughts on Linden’s departure, and if it was the right move.

Chris Faber

It was a strange feeling when Linden stepped down as the Canucks president. That Jake Virtanen contract must have just pushed him off the ledge. I’m kidding, but if you listen to sources around the matter, Linden wasn’t kidding around.

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There are multiple reports stating that there was a power struggle between Jim Benning and Trevor Linden on how soon this team was going to be competing for a playoff spot. I’m not in the room and I don’t believe every story that’s out there, but whichever side was saying were close to competing, I’m with the other guy.

It’s a tough day to see Linden go and in my opinion it’s due to the Aquilini group, they are notoriously one of the league’s hardest ownership groups to work for.

The thing that frustrates me the most is that Francesco Aquilini couldn’t address the media and hold a press conference.

12 tweets is great, I guess. Actually it’s not, Canucks fans deserve answers. To me this is too weird of a time and I think there is a lot more that will be uncovered in the coming months about the departure of TL16. Enjoy your family and get back on the bike Trevor, we will see ya in the arena for 33 and 22’s jersey retirement, talk about awkward.

Scott Rosenhek

To clear the air, I believe some people think I hate Trevor Linden as a person. That’s not true at all. He was a fine player for this franchise, but all of my criticisms are based on his job as an executive. Linden hired Jim Benning, who promised to have a good team within four-to-five years.

They failed, regardless of this foolishness from the owner and Benning who think the team is close to the playoffs. I think it was for the best that Trevor Linden moved on for both parties. Linden realized that the team was going in the wrong direction too late.

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Things won’t change until we see the front office cleared out, and without Linden to act as shield, this can happen sooner rather than later. The blame can’t be shifted to the owner, the previous regime or the draft lottery.

The group established in 2014 bears the burden of the blame and pretending that Linden was suddenly this voice of reason the whole time is disingenuous. He didn’t know what he was doing; so much so that he was asking other NHL executives how to rebuild at the last draft. Linden will be fine. He needs to get away from the stress that this job caused and be with his family. And someone who can accurately assess this team and fix it in a timely manner must take his place.

Alex Hoegler

Even though Linden is one of the most respected figures in all of Vancouver, I don’t think he was qualified to take over as team president, not after the dismal 2013-14 season. I still maintain his hiring was a publicity stunt, as ownership was desperate to restore faith in the fans.

Linden never came across to me as someone who actually wanted to rebuild. Remember in Dec. 2016, when he said he couldn’t rebuild because it would be unfair to the Sedins. Well, the twins retired a year and a half later. So what purpose did that serve? Oh yeah, nothing

It would have been nicer if Linden left the Canucks on nicer terms, but there’s no questioning his departure was best for both sides. Linden has other expenditures outside of hockey, he has a young son to raise and will continue to live a happy, healthy lifestyle.

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As for the Canucks, the team is finally on the right path to rebuilding into a contender. Benning’s drafting is strong, and he’ll do things his way. Thus, I’m fine with Linden leaving the Canucks, and I think there are more goods than bads in the decision to part ways with the team.