The Vancouver Canucks are on pace to make it to the postseason for the first time in five years, so why isn’t this the year for GM Jim Benning to go all-in?
The Vancouver Canucks are playing their best stretch of hockey that the city has seen in years.
So far in 2020, the Canucks haven’t lost more than two in a row, and they’ve won their last nine home games. The team is first in the Pacific Division, and they’re on the verge of making it to the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
With the Feb. 27 trade deadline looming, the million dollar question is this: What should general manager Jim Benning and company do at the deadline?
While this team has proven to be competitive and capable of keeping up with the league’s best, this isn’t the year for the Canucks make a big splash in the playoffs.
The team is still young, and the front office has to make some more changes before they emerge as a legitimate threat for the Stanley Cup. Benning needs to remain patient and see this rebuild properly through. If he tries to cut corners, it will only negatively impact the team in the long run.
In the summer, Vancouver gave up a conditional first-round pick to acquire J.T. Miller from the Tampa Bay Lightning. As the team is still in their rebuild, they won’t want to give up any more picks just to get a playoff rental. Organizational depth is key for successful team,s and Benning will want to bolster the prospect pool so he can to keep the pipeline running as long as possible.
Staying away from this year’s trade deadline won’t be hard for Benning, as the names circulating this February aren’t that impressive. The players highlighting TSN’s trade bait board include Chris Kreider, Ilya Kovalchuk and Alec Martinez. If the Canucks want to acquire players that will actually move the needle for them, this is not the year to do it.
This summer, a lot of contracts are coming off the books, including six UFAs. The Canucks will have more cap space to make moves and thus sign more impactful players. Vancouver has a few years to go before they become a serious threat, and Benning should save his bullets for a marquee name when it matters most, and not for a rental during a rebuilding year.