The Vancouver Canucks will play the Minnesota Wild in a best-of-five qualifying round, but what will happen to the team if they’re ousted?
If the 2019-20 NHL season resumes, the Vancouver Canucks will square off against the Minnesota Wild in a best-of-five qualifying round.
The winner of that series will move on to the round of 16, where they’ll play one of the top four seeds in the Western Conference — either the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues or Vegas Golden Knights.
But if the Canucks are eliminated by the Wild, could that prompt general manager Jim Benning to make changes to the roster?
It’s safe to say that head coach Travis Green is safe, regardless of what happens. The Canuck Way‘s Jasmine Yen explained here why Green is the ideal bench boss for this group.
Now, let’s just imagine that the Canucks play poorly and get swept by the Wild. Benning could only read so much into that, because nobody is going to be at 100 percent when they return, given the circumstances.
But what if Jacob Markstrom played poorly throughout the series? The 30-year-old pending UFA is reportedly eyeing $6 million a season on his next deal. Would a bad outing by Markstrom prompt Benning to let him walk?
If the Canucks look overwhelmed by the playoff pressure, and if the Wild oust them with relative ease, it could also force Benning into making some more offseason upgrades — be it on the blue line or somewhere in the bottom six.
2019-20 marked a tremendous year of progress for the young Canucks, but the expectations are only going to grow from here. They’re unquestionably a better team than Minnesota, so Benning might not take a playoff defeat (especially if it comes in dominant fashion) so well.
Fair or not, losing to the Wild may cause Benning to make several changes to a roster that’s hoping to make the jump from playoff contender to Stanley Cup contender in the very near future.