Canucks: Where does the team go from here in the offseason?

Vancouver Canucks Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Vancouver Canucks Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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vancouver canucks
Vancouver Canucks Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Expectations were sky-high for the Vancouver Canucks coming into the 2020-21 season, with the team was fresh off a gruelling, seven-game semi-final series against the Vegas Golden Knights.

However, that unexpected bubble performance accelerated the team’s overall expectations, which came crumbling down shortly after.

The team lost veteran players like Tyler Toffoli, Chris Tanev and Jacob Markstrom in free agency, and it has definitely shown this year. Fortunately, the goaltending has stepped up during the season, but the Canucks could have desperately used Tanev’s defensive presence on the back-end this year, along with Toffoli’s 28 goals in their top six forward group.

Instead, the Canucks chose to head in a different direction, a decision that was with much ire from the fanbase, a lot of it well-deserved.

The Canucks head into the final stretch of this season of turbulence with more questions than answers regarding the franchise’s future. The biggest of them: Is GM Jim Benning the right person to lead the team from here on out?

This topic has been exhausted daily among the Canucks fanbase for what seems like the past five years now and, once again, the Canucks find themselves in a familiar discussion.

It’s been yet another season where the Canucks head into the season’s stretch-run with nothing to play for other than pride and moral victories, and will likely be drafting in the top 10 because of their overall results. The re-occurring theme of mediocrity during the Benning era has gotten old, and the fanbase is restless, as it should be.

A good number of the fanbase has concluded that it is time the team moved on from Benning, and the noise got even louder when the New York Rangers moved on from one of the brightest general managers in the league in Jeff Gorton.

The fact of the matter is that the Vancouver Canucks are heading into a crucial offseason with question marks everywhere. The general manager role aside, the team is also dealing with a head coach that is less than a month away from hitting the open market, as well as an elite goaltending coach right behind him, both of whom are likely on their way out if contract extensions aren’t finalized soon. And how can we forget the restricted free agencies of young stars Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes, two of the most important players in the organization.