Canucks: Get ready for what will be a chaotic offseason


The Vancouver Canucks are about to enter what will be one of busiest offseasons in franchise history.

Vancouver Canucks fans got to enjoy the franchise’s most successful season since the 2011 Stanley Cup run. Now comes the hard part for general manager Jim Benning.

Benning’s team fell just one game shy of a surprise appearance in the Western Conference Final. But rather than focus solely on potential offseason upgrades to get his team to that next level, Benning has to mainly focus on how much of the 2019-20 roster he wants to bring back.

Starting goalie Jacob Markstrom, veteran blueliner Chris Tanev and top-six forward Tyler Toffoli are all pending UFAs. Jake Virtanen and Troy Stecher are set to become RFAs, and neither of them are locks to return next season.

In short, this is shaping up to be one of the most chaotic offseasons in franchise history. And it’s perhaps the most pivotal for the sixth-year GM.

If he retains at least three of Markstrom, Tanev, Toffoli, Virtanen and Stecher? Benning will have to get creative in moving out some salary. Might he find takers for Loui Eriksson, Jay Beagle, Brandon Sutter or Antoine Roussel?

But what if Benning lets Markstrom walk in free agency? Well, he better dip his feet in the deep goalie trade/free agent markets. From Marc-Andre Fleury to Robin Lehner to Braden Holtby to Frederik Andersen to Matt Murray, there is no shortage of proven starting netminders.

If Benning loses Tanev in free agency? He’s going to have to land a top-four defenceman one way or another. Could he shop for one in free agency? Or will he try to pull off a pure “hockey trade” to land one? Alex Pietrangelo, Torey Krug and Matt Dumba are among the many big-named defencemen available.

And if Benning re-signs Toffoli, does that mean trading sniper Brock Boeser to acquire that much-needed top-four blueliner? If not Boeser, who could Benning trade?

One thing is for certain: Benning isn’t going to be quiet and unproductive this offseason. He’s either going to re-sign as many of his pending free agents as possible, or he’s going to be active in trying to replace them.

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Needless to say, Canucks fans need to brace themselves for what will be a dramatic offseason for the ages.