#3: The roster isn’t good enough
This was Benning’s all-in team after eight seasons on the job. He has been given the pink slip but the ramifications of his tenure are still hurting the team and will continue to do so for quite some time.
Benning’s final offseason saw him trade draft picks and three contracts set to expire this summer for Conor Garland and Oliver Ekman-Larsson and his albatross contract. This trade was one step forward, two steps back for the Canucks.
Benning also traded a draft pick for Jason Dickinson and handed out overpayments to Travis Hamonic and Tucker Poolman. While Hamonic was eventually traded for a third-round pick to the Ottawa Senators, Poolman’s contract is still very baffling and he has spent a chunk of the season out of the lineup and isn’t effective when he is in the lineup. Dickinson was brought in to be a penalty killing and shutdown centre but has not been a fit at all.
Garland had a nice start to the season but has no goals in 17 games. The Canucks acquired him to be a reliable top-six player who can put up points but lately, he hasn’t been good enough. OEL did start the year good defensively but has started to look shaky in his own end. Plus, he hasn’t shown a ton of offence and only has four goals and 21 points this season. At an 82-game pace, that is 25 points and that is not good enough for someone making over seven million dollars.
J.T. Miller has driven the offence and Elias Pettersson has returned to form after a slow start. Other than that, Garland, Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat have been inconsistent and that can also describe the offence as a whole.
Other than Quinn Hughes, the defensive core isn’t good at all and needs to be reworked. The Canucks have been bailed out numerous times by Thatcher Demko’s stellar goaltending and he is a big reason why they haven’t been mathematically eliminated yet.
This team is a capped-out middle of the pack team with a bare prospect cupboard and pretty much every analytics model predicted they wouldn’t make the playoffs before the season began. Turns out they were right.
Allvin and the new management group are going to have a big offseason to make sure the Canucks can get back into the postseason next season and for many seasons to come. But it is not going to be easy.