Vancouver is not in a “Win Now” Mentality
Last year, I wrote an article on how well things were looking in Vancouver under Jim Benning and Willie Desjardins. They acquired a good haul for Ryan Kesler, who likely wasn’t returning once he was a free agent. They picked up Linden Vey for nothing, along with shedding salary with trading Jason Garrison to Tampa Bay. Radim Vrbata was signed to a cheap deal and turned into an all-star. They made the playoffs but got knocked out in the first round, but now it’s turning into a big mess again.
The Canucks kicked off the offseason during the draft by trading Eddie Lack to Carolina for a third round pick and a seventh round pick. Lack is 27 and played in 41(!) games last year for Vancouver, posting a .921 SV% and 2.45 GAA. Along with that, he played in four of Vancouver’s six games during the playoffs. Lack was also a fan favorite, and the trade was criticized by many. This leaves Ryan Miller, who has faltered more and more as he’s gotten older, at age 35, and Jacob Markstrom to guard the net this upcoming season. Markstrom has had success in the AHL, but hasn’t been able to translate it over to the NHL just yet, but time will tell.
This all leads up to the most mind-boggling move of all.
The Canucks traded Nick Bonino, Adam Clendening, and a second to Pittsburgh for Brandon Sutter and a third round pick.
Yes, the Canucks somehow managed to give up a defensive prospect and an upgraded pick, just to move DOWN in quality from Nick Bonino to Brandon Sutter.
Bonino was a Canuck for just one year, being the main piece in the Ryan Kesler trade. Bonino had six more points in five less games than Sutter had last year, and Bonino’s advanced stats blow Sutter’s out of the water. Clendening also adds to a depleted prospect pool in Pittsburgh, but they’re set up to win now so it doesn’t matter. That second round pick could also wind up being in the 31-40 range at the rate Jim Benning is going.
When the dust all settles, it doesn’t appear that the Canucks have a “win now” mentality. Even before the season even started, Benning emphasized that by labeling Hamhuis and Vrbata as trade deadline bait. The Sedin twins turn 35 in September. The goal of this offseason — or any offseason for that matter — shouldn’t have been to downgrade, but rather upgrade and deal away some prospects to help the Henrik and Daniel get a Cup.
Things are looking bleak in Vancouver, but we’ll have to wait until October to see how it all shakes down.