Playoff hockey or not, the Vancouver Canucks made serious strides in the right direction. Here are three things Jim Benning did right for the Canucks this year.
With his job on the line, Vancouver Canucks general manaher Jim Benning reshaped the roster over the 2019 summer and claimed the hockey club suitable for playoffs in 2020. As it stands now, COVID-19 has the season halted and the playoffs uncertain for the Canucks and the rest of the NHL.
Playoff hockey is something that the Canucks haven’t experienced in five long years, but Benning got some good results from his squad as the campaign went on and for a while, it was starting to feel like the dance wasn’t too far off.
Overall the team was up and down, but sometimes Vancouver looked dominant. And how could they not with Elias Pettersson back for another MVP season, first-year Quinn Hughes taking the rookie class by storm, J.T. Miller rising to become the perfect player and Jacob Markstrom being an absolute wall in the crease?
Yes, they had some very skilled pieces, but as the games grew more stressful, the Canucks began to show signs of weakness, and a lack of experience playing hardnosed games in spring. A couple of injuries to key players, a tough string of opponents and suddenly Vancouver looked nothing more than a team with a good power play. It begs the question, “Did Jim Benning do enough to make this team a playoff contender?”
At this point, fans may never know if the 2019-20 Canucks would have been able to stay alive in an 82-game playoff race, so the answer may never be known. But, Benning did build a team that led the Pacific Division at one point, was in the thick of things all season long, and would be a tough first-round matchup for anybody. Let’s take a look at three things he did right this season!