Vancouver Canucks: Lowering the bar for Jim Benning

VANCOUVER, BC - MAY 23: Vancouver Canucks new General Manager smiles during a press conference at Rogers Arena May 23, 2014 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - MAY 23: Vancouver Canucks new General Manager smiles during a press conference at Rogers Arena May 23, 2014 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Looking back on the Anders Nilsson and Michael Del Zotto trades, the Vancouver Canucks are finally moving on from some of their mistakes and acquiring picks in return. However, it’s sad how low the bar is set for Jim Benning.

I still can’t believe people are talking up that last game against the Oilers as this potential tipping point of the season. Seriously? The Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers are a pair of garbage teams in a soft conference. And that game, short of that incredible overtime was garbage. Give me a break.

Yet, you have the talking heads propping up the matchup and then we get a Ron MacLean quote that reminds me of the slimy snake that he is. Never forget the hit job he did on Alex Burrows in 2011. But his quote that was one part pandering and one part stupidity just makes you laugh.

"If Vancouver or Edmonton make the post season I would not want to play them. With how Markstrom has been playing and the upside the Oilers have, they could be dangerous."

I talk about setting the bar low, but this is ridiculous. Sportsnet has to keep eyes on their playoff coverage, but there are far better Canadian teams this year. Regardless, it brings me to the last two trades from general manager Jim Benning.

Moving Anders Nilsson for a pick and a roster spot is good, but by no means is it a “steal” as some would like to claim. The trade looks a little less great when they lost Mike McKenna on waivers since Utica wasn’t going to get the help they desperately needed. But, we are lowering the bar right? So, I guess we just chalk that up to details.

The interesting trade is the most recent one, involving Michael Del Zotto. The Ducks were dumping a disappointing player buried in the minors and for them the trade was essentially a 2020 7th round pick for Del Zotto.

Related Story. Vancouver Canucks trade Michael Del Zotto for Luke Schenn. light

What we forgot to mention in the linked article is that the Canucks pulled off the ol’ Jim Benning special. No, they didn’t toss in an extra pick (thank goodness). However, the Canucks retained 25% on Del Zotto’s salary. You could say that Anaheim was in a cap crunch and we had to. No we didn’t. Honestly, the team could have waited until the deadline since the cap hits are pro-rated for the remainder of the season.

Additionally, we have seen defencemen worse than Del Zotto go for fifth round picks. I mean some of these other defencemen don’t even have to play in the NHL to pick up a fifth. GMs are not smart and the desperate ones do foolish things.

Now, is the Del Zotto trade an egregious fail in asset management? No. But it is also not this incredible success. However, it is for Canucks fans since the team has been so stubborn to move on from their mistakes and acquire draft picks. I hated seeing Del Zotto on the team and I’m glad he’s finally gone. Better to get something out of him instead of nothing, but yikes.

We are at the point where acquiring sixth and seventh round picks is good because this hopefully opens the door to moving the bigger ticket assets on the roster. I’m doing this too. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt knowing full well they won’t take the leap. These players could be moved, but it’s doubtful since this team is trying to make the playoffs.

And why were the Canucks in such a rush to trade Del Zotto? Part of it was Del Zotto being unhappy, but the other part was so they didn’t have to place Tim Schaller on waivers. Who cares? How can the team know when to give up on one mistake, but double down on another? Schaller played five minutes in the Edmonton game. I don’t think he will be missed. He’ll probably clear waivers as well.

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Is it weird that we are propping up two minor trades in January? Yeah, it is. But the cold reality of it is that those two trades are Benning’s best since the 2017 trade deadline. Derrick Pouliot was a waste of a draft pick, Leipsic was lost on waivers, Motte is fine, but I would preferred to have a draft pick that was six years younger. And Leivo was just acquired to replace Leipsic. Funny how that scoring touch comes down once his shooting percentage settles. And it settled before he was injured. As Canucks fans, we should be raising the bar, not lowering it. The team should as well.