Vancouver Canucks: 3 New Year’s resolutions for 2019

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3. Rebuild the blue line

If Alexander Edler refuses to waive his no-trade clause, the Canucks have no choice but to keep him for the rest of the season. However, they can get him off the books by letting Edler walk in free agency.

Knowing the Canucks, they’ll overpay to keep a defencemen who’s not exactly reliable in his own end (see Erik Gudbranson). Edler will be 33 this year, he’s always injured and well past his prime. The Canucks need to let him go in free agency and find somebody younger and cheaper. It shouldn’t be a hard decision.

The Canucks should also just trade Chris Tanev sometime between now and the offseason, because it doesn’t make sense to wait until the 2020 deadline — when teams will be hesitant to give up much for a pending UFA. Tanev is enduring a letdown season and is also injury-prone. Vancouver has to move on.

Letting both Derrick Pouliot and Michael Del Zotto go should also be easy calls. Neither have been able to produce at any side of the ice.

If healthy, Olli Juolevi can hopefully lock down a roster spot. Quinn Hughes feels like a sure-thing to make it next year as well. Let’s just assume they would replace Edler and Tanev in the top-four here. That means Benning just has two find a pair of cheap free agents to replace Pouliot and Del Zotto.

Next. Canucks: Top five reasons why I like Jim Benning. dark

But the main point is this: The Canucks haven’t had a half-decent defensive unit for a few years now. We know the definition of insanity. It’s time for Benning to change this unit up defensively and replace two to four of these guys. Otherwise, the Canucks will continue to struggle and make mistakes in their own end. Last time I checked, that’s not a recipe to win hockey game.