5: Two deals with the Flames
In his first couple of years as GM of the Canucks, Benning made two trades with the Calgary Flames that have had a very positive impact on the performances of this team. It’s a surprise he’s not been back to tap that particular well, because the Canucks have profited nicely from those two deals thus far.
In the first, he sent a 2015 2nd round pick to the Flames in exchange for Swiss winger Sven Baertschi. Then 22 years old, Baertschi was an inconsistent winger that had showed glimpses of his talent, but hadn’t yet been able to make a real mark at the NHL level. In the four years since his arrival, Baertschi has struggled to stay healthy, but has still produced 58-50-108 in 219 games.
On balance this was a perfectly good trade, although the breakout of Rasmus Andersson for the Flames this season (whom they selected with that pick) means that this trade has also worked out for the rivals.
The second trade was one that had Canucks fans raging at the time. In Feb. 2016 Benning sent former first-round pick Hunter Shinkaruk to the Flames, acquiring depth forward Markus Granlund in exchange.
I’m sure there are Canucks fans out there who are still angry at the apparent misuse of the team’s assets — but they shouldn’t be. Shinkaruk’s game has systematically unraveled, becoming a 10-point AHL player while watching Granlund become a solid 20-point NHL forward who could be used more effectively.
Both these deals were relatively low-key in their returns, but have produced good results for Benning. We could do with more of these trades over the next couple of years, because even apparent slam-dunk wins such as the Alex Burrows/Jonathan Dahlen and Jannik Hansen/Nikolay Goldobin trades haven’t actually panned out like we all thought.