The Vancouver Canucks Fan Twitter Guide

I’ve been getting more and more active with my Twitter monitoring lately, and it really is one of the best ways for anyone to get information on the things that they’re interested in. I looked around and didn’t see any recent Twitter guides for Canuck fans, so I thought it might be helpful to write one up.

 

Follow These Ten:

Rick Dhaliwal, @DhaliwalSports- Not only is Dhaliwal reliable for any and all roster movement news about the organization, he’s also broken a number of stories in recent years. Dhaliwal is one of the few credible sources for Canucks-related speculation on the internet. He’s also great at posting relevant quotes from interviews.

 

Ryan Biech, @RyanBiech- Biech is employed by a number of organizations, including CanucksArmy and The Athletic, but beyond that he’s by far the best source of information related to Vancouver Canucks prospects on all of social media. Following his feed means getting daily updates on prospects all over the world, usually with accompanying highlights.

 

Canucks Army, @CanucksArmy– Canucks Army are one of the most prolific publishers of Canucks content on the web, and they’re particular adept at providing “fancy stats” and putting them into context for ordinary fans.

 

Utica Comets, @UticaComets- Those who want to follow the Comets closely, but don’t have time to actually watch the games, would be fine just following the Comets on Twitter. They post a ton of content each day, and engage in plenty of fun banter with other AHL franchises. Best of all, during games, the account posts nearly instant highlight GIFs of anything significant that happens.

 

Jeff Paterson, @patersonjeff- Paterson is one of the quickest sources of information related to the Canucks, in addition to being a strong writer and reasonable pundit. You can always count on Paterson for info direct from practice and game day skates.

 

Dan Murphy, @sportsnetmurph- Murph travels with the team, so he provides a level of access that others simply aren’t able to. Murph tweets about pretty much everything, but his snapshots of John Garrett eating is his feed’s best feature by far.

 

Ihaveyuidonttouchme, @ihaveyuidonttou- One of the weirdest handles on Twitter actually belongs to popular Canucks social media presence Kid Roll, and his feed is almost entirely content-driven. If you want highlights of Vancouver Canucks prospects and little else, this is the feed for you.

 

Elliotte Friedman, @FriedgeHNIC- If you’re going to follow one “league-wide” source on Twitter, make it Friedman. This is a man with his finger on the pulse of the league, and although his speculation isn’t always sound, he makes clear when he’s speaking factually, in which case he is always credible.

 

Wyatt Arndt, @TheStanchion- Thought of by some as Botchford’s backup, Wyatt is actually the superior source of Canuck-related hot takes and humour on Twitter. Always good for a laugh.

 

Strombone, @strombone1- The mystery of Strombone’s identity has long since been solved, but Roberto Luongo remains a funnier and more rewarding follow on Twitter than any of the current Vancouver Canucks.

 

 

Don’t Follow These Five:

Vancouver Canucks, @Canucks- That’s right, I’m advising against following the Canucks’ official account on Twitter. This only really applies for those who PVR their games, like I do. I can’t count the number of times I’ve accidentally spoiled the score for myself whilst trying to check Twitter and see if the world is currently ending. Better to just avoid this one altogether.

 

By Extension, Almost Anyone Seen Replying To @Canucks- Those who insist on replying to the official Canucks account should also generally be avoided, but for a very different reason. Twitter and Facebook comments tend to be the most toxic places among any fanbase, and the Canucks are no different. Get ready to be incredibly frustrated if you dare dip into these threads of conversation.

 

Hockey Buzz Eklund, @Eklund- In general, all alleged hockey “rumour” accounts should be avoided. They rarely traffic in legitimate information, and they specifically target Canadian markets with their most salacious rumours. Eklund is the granddaddy of these rumour-mongers, and he continues to be a daily source of absolute bologna.

 

Tanbir, @TRana87- An old frequenter of Canuck radio call-in shows, Tanbir From Surrey is playing the shtick of stupid Canuck fan that stopped being funny a long while ago. Tanbir’s habit of claiming insider information is also an annoying trait.

 

Jason Botchford, @botchford- This is my hottest take on the list, for sure, but that’s appropriate for the master of taking hot himself. Botchford has close connections with the team and remains popular among the fanbase, but he often seems like a TMZ-style journalist masquerading as a sportswriter. Botchford has falsely reported things before, like the Bo Horvat bridge deal, and he’s made questionable ethical decisions, such as when he made a big deal out of Joe Thornton using the word “cock” off the record. Botchford’s desire to find the next big story or controversy makes his coverage more toxic and negative than most, and it can really take away from the fun of following a team.

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Three Easy Steps To Loving Gary Bettman

Gary Bettman is easily one of the most reviled figures in the sport of hockey. Don’t take it from me, take it from the thousands of fans who boo his every public appearance. Compared to Bettman, Sean Avery is a cherished fan favourite. However, it is my contention that most of the hatred aimed at Commissioner Bettman is the result of an inherent misunderstanding about the man’s role within the league, and that once said misunderstanding is cleared up, there’s a chance that one might actually find themselves a fan of the man they call Buttman. That leads us to Three Easy Steps To Loving Gary Bettman.

 

Step One: Realize What His Actual Role Is

As an NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman is truly unique—he’s the only person to hold that title in league history. Before him, the league was normally run by a President. The NHL’s constitution describes the role of the commissioner as, “6.1 Office of Commissioner, Election and Term of Office: The League shall employ a Commissioner selected by the Board of Governors. The Commissioner shall serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the League and is charged with protecting the integrity of the game of professional hockey and preserving public confidence in the League. The Board of Governors shall determine the term of office and compensation of the Commissioner. The Commissioner shall be elected a majority of the Governors present and voting at a League meeting at which a quorum was present when it was convened.”

In other words, Gary Bettman is the employee of the NHL’s Board of Governors, which is made up of the league’s ownership. Bettman does not do anything without the approval of the Board, and he’s specifically charged with “preserving public confidences in the League.” At no point would it be fair to suggest that Bettman is “running the league,” but that’s how he is consistently portrayed in the media. A different interpretation of Bettman’s job leads to a more favourable reading of the man himself.

Gary Bettman is the public face of the NHL’s Board of Governors, itself dominated by large personalities like Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, who are the real powers behind the league. Or, perhaps more accurately, Bettman could be described as the ownership’s lightning rod, meant to draw negative attention away from the individuals who control—and financially benefit from—the league’s operations. It’s a job he does very well.

Whenever the Board of Governors makes a decision that would likely be unpopular with the fans, you can be sure that Gary Bettman will be present to announce “his” decision to the public with an irritating smile on his face. All the while NHL fans are booing the earnest commissioner, they’re ignoring that his actions require the approval of the same ownership group who sells them tickets, jerseys, and inflatable noise sticks. That allows fans to live within the cognitive dissonance of “hating the league” while still regularly lining the pockets of their local owner.

 

Step Two: See How Well He Plays the Villain

Gary Bettman has put himself front and centre for every unpopular move the NHL has made. The best example of this might have been the various lockouts, each of which was portrayed in the media as a battle between Gary Bettman and the NHLPA. Heck, Bettman was so hated for his role in the league’s first lockout that Chris Chelios threatened his family! However, those more in the know lay the responsibility for the lockouts squarely on a cabal of old school owners like Jacobs, who simply give Bettman his marching orders.

The issue of the NHL’s participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics has been similarly portrayed, with headlines constantly decrying “Bettman’s opposition” to NHLers in Pyeongchang. It’s as if the fact that Bettman is only publicly representing the stance of the owners who actually own the rights of the players in question is being wilfully ignored. When would-be owner Jim Balsillie tried and failed to purchase an NHL team, it was depicted as a conflict between Balsillie and Bettman, instead of Balsillie’s inability to ingrain himself in the “old boy’s club” of the Board of Governors.

The ongoing Calgary arena debate, which is actually less of a debate and more of a blatant display of corporate greed, is a perfect example of the “Bettman factor.” In a conflict that was clearly between Flames ownership and Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Bettman appeared to thrust his Oswald Cobblepot-like visage into the mix, threatening Nenshi’s chances at re-election. It’s not Bettman who doesn’t want to pay for a new arena, it’s N. Murray Edwards and his partners, but that’s not what it looks like when the National Post publishes headlines like “This Nenshi Guy Sure Knows How to Get Under Bettman’s Skin.”

bettmanjpg

 

The Islanders, a team also suffering ongoing arena-related difficulties, provided another recent showcase of Gary Bettman: Human Lightning Rod. When addressing the possibility of the team returning to the once-beloved Nassau Coliseum, owner Jon Ledecky said, “The commissioner said it’s not viable, and absolutely I agree with the commissioner.” Apparently, Bettman moonlights as a building inspector when he’s not busy commissioning sports leagues.

 

Step Three: Look How Much Fun He Has With It

Once one has accepted that Gary Bettman’s job is to absorb all of the public hatred that should rightfully be directed at league ownership, it’s hard not to notice how much fun he has with the role. This is where mere tolerance of Bettman gives way to actually being a fan of the guy. Observe the sheer glee on his face as he saunters up to the podium to say, “We have a trade to announce!” knowing that the legion of fans booing him are about to hang on his every word. This is a man who doesn’t mind being the villain.

Lesser commissioners might wilt under the thunderous boos hurled in his direction, but Bettman almost seems to enjoy them, smiling throughout the onslaught and frequently commenting on the “warm welcome.” You can see it on his face—Bettman is fully aware that every boo directed at him ensures the fan hurling it will continue to be a paying customer of Bettman’s bosses. The constant derision, along with the financial health it represents, ensures that Bettman will be employed as commissioner as long as he wants to be. When he retires, the NHL is going to have a tough time finding another individual as good at attracting and absorbing hatred as Gary Bettman.

The Case For Carrying 14 Forwards

With a maximum of 23 spots on an NHL roster, two of which are occupied by goaltenders, teams are usually forced to choose between a configuration of 14 forwards and seven defensemen or 13 forwards and eight defensemen. That is, unless they’re one of those weirdo teams that carry three goalies!

In recent years, the Vancouver Canucks have often chosen the eight D option, due to the heavy minutes logged by that position in conjunction with the brutal travel schedule the Canucks always endure. However, the particular circumstances of this preseason might make it a better idea to go with 14 forwards this time around.

 

The Battle For Forward Spots 

The competition for forward positions on the Vancouver Canucks has been intense this year, and has already claimed the roster spot of the beloved Reid Boucher. With nine of those positions occupied by sure-thing veterans (Sedin, Sedin, Horvat, Baertschi, Eriksson, Vanek, Gagner, Sutter, Granlund), the Canucks only have four spots left under the 13 forward configuration, but five under the 14 forward model.

The play of Brock Boeser and Jake Virtanen in the preseason has most fans clamoring for them to make the team, and its hard to argue with the results. With those two occupying spots, and veterans Derek Dorsett and Alex Burmistrov more than likely to join them, that adds up to 13 forwards. That means no room left for any of Anton Rodin, Scottie Upshall, Nikolay Goldobin, or Brendan Gaunce when he returns.

Injuries can, and will, occur, but a 13 forward model would require Rodin to be put on waivers and Upshall to be cut loose, and both are likely to find homes with other NHL teams. By carrying 14 forwards, however, the Canucks would be able to hang onto whichever of the two they preferred. Rodin likely has the most upside of the two, but Upshall comes with the potential to return draft picks at the deadline, so it’s a tossup.

 

The Relatively Uninspiring Selection of Depth Defensemen

The risk of carrying 14 forwards is losing one or more defensemen on waivers, but the Canucks don’t exactly have an inspiring bunch back there. The top six defense is locked in, but beyond that Vancouver has a choice of Patrick Wiercioch, Alex Biega, Andrey Pedan, and Philip Holm, with Olli Juolevi and Jalen Chatfield almost certain to be sent elsewhere for increased icetime.

None of Wiercioch, Biega, or Pedan are all that likely to be snagged on the waiver wire, and none of them would be a major loss if they were taken. Holm is waiver-exempt, but hasn’t looked like an NHL talent. The Canucks might be better off picking their favourite of the quartet as a spare d-man and then looking to youth to fill in for any injuries.

 

Call-Ups

If both Boeser and Virtanen start the year with the big club, there will be no particular forward prospects in dire need of a call-up, except for perhaps Nikolay Goldobin, who will get a chance when injuries first strike. Jonathan Dahlen should spend most of the year in the AHL.

The Utica defense, on the contrary, will feature two defensemen in particular who most fans would like to see called up at some point this season—Jalen Chatfield and Jordan Subban. Chatfield is this season’s blueline revelation, and has forced himself into consideration for NHL playing time. Subban is reaching a make-or-break point in his development, and a little big league experience could go a long way.

By carrying 14 forwards and seven defensemen, the chances of Chatfield and Subban getting into the lineup sooner rather than later increases.

 

The Potential Opening Roster

Sedin-Sedin-Gagner

Baertschi-Horvat-Boeser

Eriksson-Sutter-Vanek

Granlund-Burmistrov-Virtanen

Dorsett-Rodin/Upshall

 

Edler-Tanev

Hutton-Stecher

Del Zotto-Gudbranson

Biega/Wiercioch

 

Markstrom
Nilsson

2017-18 Vancouver Canuck Training Camp Battle Preview

The beginning of the 2017-18 NHL season is already shaping up to be a competitive one for the Vancouver Canucks. While the team itself may not be competing for the Stanley Cup, there will be plenty of internal competition in training camp, preseason, and throughout the regular season as players young and old jockey for position on a roster that is loaded with depth.

 

Forward Locks

Henrik Sedin

Daniel Sedin

Bo Horvat

Sven Baertschi

Brandon Sutter 

Sam Gagner

Markus Granlund

Thomas Vanek

Loui Eriksson

Each of these players will be on the roster, barring trade or injury. That means that it is possible that all top-9 forward positions are already filled.

 

Approximate Lines:

Sedin-Sedin-Granlund

Baertschi-Horvat-Vanek

Eriksson-Sutter-Gagner/BLANK

BLANK-Gagner/BLANK-BLANK

 

If both Sutter and Gagner play at center, there will be a single top-9 wing position left open for one of the following candidates, most likely at right wing:

Top-9 Wing Candidates (Pick a maximum of one)

Brock Boeser, RW

Nikolay Goldobin, LW/RW

Anton Rodin, RW

Reid Boucher, LW/RW

Jake Virtanen, RW

Boeser, Goldobin, and Virtanen are all waiver-exempt, meaning they do not need to clear waivers to be sent down. This probably gives Rodin and Boucher the edge if this job does end up being available.

 

If one of Sutter or Gagner plays on the wing, it will mean the team is in need of someone at the 4th line center position.

4th Line Center Candidates (Pick a maximum of one)

Alexander Burmistrov

Michael Chaput

Jayson Megna

Ryan White

Griffen Molino

Burmistrov is the leading candidate here, but don’t count out a veteran presence like White, who could add some needed grit to the lineup. Chaput and Megna are always in the mix due to their versatility, and Molino is listed as a center despite probably having a future on the wing as a pro.

 

The above centers are all also candidates to fill one of the two vacant 4th line wing positions, as well as to fill in as the team’s extra forward(s), along with the following players:

4th Line Wing/Extra Forward Candidates (Pick a maximum of four, minimum of three, including above list)

Derek Dorsett, RW

Scottie Upshall, LW

Anton Rodin, RW

Reid Boucher, LW/RW

Jake Virtanen, RW

Joe LaBate, LW

Derek Dorsett is almost guaranteed to take one of these spots if he has fully recovered from his neck surgery. Scottie Upshall looks like a strong candidate on a PTO, as does Ryan White. Brock Boeser and Nikolay Goldobin are not listed as the team would likely prefer them in Utica rather than on the 4th line or in the press box. Brendan Gaunce is not listed as he will be injured until November and then will likely complete a conditioning stint for the Comets. Jonathan Dahlen is not listed as he will almost certainly start in Utica after contracting mono.

 

Defense Locks 

Chris Tanev

Alex Edler

Troy Stecher

Ben Hutton

Erik Gudbranson

Michael Del Zotto

 The top-six defense is completely filled out for the Canucks, barring any trades or injuries. The pairings will be shuffled around, but it is these six players that will be making up those pairings.

 

That leaves between one and two spots left for extra defensemen, depending on whether the team wants to carry seven or eight defenders

Extra Defenseman Candidates (pick maximum of two, minimum of one)

Patrick Wiercioch, LD

Alex Biega, RD

Philip Holm, LD

Olli Juolevi, LD

Jordan Subban, RD

Andrey Pedan, LD

Evan McEneny, LD

The Canucks have a variety of middling defensemen to choose their extras from. Fans will want to see Jordan Subban and Olli Juolevi given opportunities, but it is likely that both will be sent elsewhere to start the year. All of Wiercioch, Biega, Pedan, and McEneny will need to clear waivers to be sent down. Philip Holm, a signing out of Sweden, is an intriguing option and a bit of a wildcard.

 

Goaltending Locks 

Jacob Markstrom

Anders Nilsson

The goaltending is all locked up. As long as no injuries occur, Markstrom and Nilsson will be sharing the Vancouver net while Richard Bachman and Thatcher Demko compete for starts down in Utica.

 

Powerplay Considerations 

Of the ten spots available on the two powerplay units, at least five are clearly spoken for:

Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi, and Troy Stecher

That leaves five remaining spots, which will be competed for between:

Thomas Vanek, Sam Gagner, Loui Eriksson, Brandon Sutter, Markus Granlund, Brock Boeser, Nikolay Goldobin, Anton Rodin, Reid Boucher, Jake Virtanen, Alex Edler, Ben Hutton, Michael Del Zotto, Jordan Subban, Olli Juolevi 

In other words, there will be quite the battle to get a powerplay spot this time around.

 

Bonus- My Predicted Opening Night Roster: 

Sedin-Sedin-Granlund

Baertschi-Horvat-Vanek

Eriksson-Sutter-Gagner

White-Burmistrov-Dorsett

Boucher/Rodin (inj.)

 

Del Zotto-Tanev

Edler-Stecher

Hutton-Gudbranson

Holm-Subban

 

Markstrom

Nilsson

The Possibility Of The Canucks Losing A Player On Waivers This Season

The well-known glut of forwards on the Vancouver Canucks just got gluttier with the addition of Thomas Vanek and, potentially, Ryan White. Due to the crowded offense and a defense that is loaded with “tweeners,” the Canucks are actually at a real risk of losing a player or two on waivers as the 2017-18 season commences. The following players are not locks for the roster, would have to pass through waivers to be sent down to the AHL, and may draw attention from other teams. The listed forwards are quality players, with decent upside, while depth defensemen are seemingly always in demand and even moreso after the Vegas expansion.

 

Reid Boucher-

Probably the forward in this group that is most likely to hit the waiver wire. Boucher has been snagged from waivers multiple times, and looked good at the end of last season, so there’s a good chance he is plucked again.

Alexander Burmistrov-

Burmistrov is a bit of an enigma for the Canucks this season. His 26 games in Arizona last year, which yielded 14 points, were impressive, but that’s the only quality NHL play Burmistrov has provided since 2012. Centers are generally more in demand, upping his value.

Brendan Gaunce-

Gaunce is a former first round pick, but he seems to have a very limited upside at the NHL level. Still, he has the size, smarts, and general skill to be a solid 4th liner for a long time, and other teams could be looking for that.

Anton Rodin-

Rodin is a total question mark at the NHL level, but he looked great in the last preseason, and has that whole Swedish Leage MVP thing going for him. Likely that another team would take a shot at him, but unfortunately there’s an even likelier scenario.

1vhgim 

Alex Biega-

Biega has been a good soldier on some bad bluelines, but he’s probably not a genuine NHL talent. However, a veteran presence who can provide barely competent defense through sheer willpower could be attractive as a temporary fix on an injured blueline after the preseason.

Evan McEneny-

McEneny is a real longshot to be picked on waivers, but he showed his first real pro potential last season, earned a callup, and is only 23. It’s not inconceivable that a team lacking blueline depth or suffering injuries could take a chance on him.

Andrey Pedan-

Fans were a bit worried about losing Pedan on waivers last year, but probably shouldn’t be as worried this time around. He has a chance to stick with the Canucks if they carry eight defensemen, but he had an awful AHL season and hasn’t been the same since this brutal concussion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWiwXzuklxM

 

Patrick Wiercioch-

Wiercioch is the new guy with the strange name, and he’s a bit of a wild card. Wiercioch showed potential in his first two seasons with Ottawa, but has been in a steady decline since then, including a brutal season with the Avalanche last year. Still, it was Colorado, a historically bad team, so there’s reason to think he can still

The Vancouver Canucks’ Forward Glut

This is meant to be in response to recent comments regarding the possibility of signing Tomas Vanek or inviting other veteran forwards to training camp on PTOs. While PTOs are risk-free, I think that actually signing another forward would be a mistake at this point. The Canucks already have a glut at forward, and it’s going to result in some promising players not getting a chance this year. Let’s take a look.

There are either 13 or 14 forward jobs available on the Canucks this year, depending on whether they carry seven or eight defensemen.

 

Forward Locks (These players will be on the team, barring a trade or injury)

Henrik Sedin

Daniel Sedin

Bo Horvat

Sven Baertschi

Markus Granlund

Sam Gagner

Loui Eriksson

Brandon Sutter

 

That’s eight of a maximum 14 jobs taken up already, with it also being extremely likely that

Derek Dorsett

is on the team if healthy. That would mean nine of 14 spots are covered.

 

(The remaining five jobs will be fought over by the following) Bubble Players

Brock Boeser

Nikolay Goldobin

Brendan Gaunce

Anton Rodin

Alexander Burmistrov

Reid Boucher

Michael Chaput

Jayson Megna

 

That’s eight players battling for four or five spots. While fans won’t be disappointed to see Chaput or Megna sent down, that’s still one or two of Boeser, Goldobin, Gaunce, Rodin, Burmistrov, or Boucher not making the team, and all are promising players. Personally, I think it’s starting to look increasingly likely that Boeser starts the season in the AHL, unless he absolutely destroys training camp.

 

(This is already a glut, and it doesn’t even consider the) Longshots

Jake Virtanen

Griffen Molino

Jonathan Dahlen

Joe LaBate

 

And all of this is as it stands now, without adding any other forwards. I seriously hope that Vanek does not sign with the Canucks, nor do any PTOs make a serious bid at making the team. It’s time to let more of the kids play.

Competition in training camp is a positive thing, but the Canucks finally have the prospect depth to provide that competition from within. No need for further bodies gumming up the works.

Jim Benning’s Retroactive Report Card: Year One

With the insanity of another Entry Draft and Free Agent Frenzy in the rearview mirror, we are again reminded of the media’s proclivity to rate teams as “winners” and “losers” before any of their recent acquisitions have actually hit the ice. As fans of the Vancouver Canucks, we’re all pretty familiar with being on the “loser” side of that prognosticating, especially since the media appears to have a fascination with belittling Jim Benning. Canuck fans must bear the slings and arrows of hockey “luminaries” like Jeff O’Neill, who proclaims the Canucks as “losers” because he doesn’t understand what they’re doing, despite a lack of evidence that Jeff O’Neill has understood anything, ever.

However, more seasoned hockey fans realize that drafts, free agency, and trading are not the sort of things that can be judged instantaneously. We must wait a number of years before actually determining whether a GM’s roster movements were positive or negative. Three years seems like the bare minimum waiting period before serious assessment can begin and, coincidentally enough, that’s exactly how long Jim Benning has now been on the job.

We’ll be taking a look at Benning’s first offseason as GM of the Vancouver Canucks, and trying to assess how well his various moves worked out, with the benefit of three years’ hindsight. The picks, signings, and trades will be graded based on how they turned out relative to expectations. For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to ignore purely AHL moves, like the signing of Cal O’Reilly or the trade of Kellan Lain for Will Acton.

 

At The Draft:

In Jim Benning’s first draft with the Vancouver Canucks, the franchise selected seven players.

Jake Virtanen, RW, 6th Overall

Grade: C-

Virtanen still has a few more chances to burn before he is considered a total bust, but early returns are not exactly promising. Virtanen’s accomplishments are especially suspect when compared to those drafted shortly after him, like William Nylander and Nikolaj Ehlers.

 

Jared McCann, C, 24th Overall

Grade: B+

McCann isn’t an absolute steal at 24th Overall, but anytime a player can step into the league shortly after being drafted late in the First Round, it has to be considered a win. McCann might be playing for a different organization now, but it looks like he’ll be an NHL player for a long time.

 

Thatcher Demko, G, 36th Overall

Grade: A

Goalies progress slower than other prospects, so it’s hard to call the drafting of Demko a total success yet, but the early indicators are that he will be very, very good. Demko is considered one of the top goaltending prospects in the world.

 

Nikita Tryamkin, D, 66th Overall

Grade: A+

Russian defections aside, Tryamkin has already demonstrated the ability to play top-four defense at the NHL level, and he brings some truly unique physical attributes. That’s quite a valuable player to pick up with a 3rd Round Pick.

 

Gustav Forsling, D, 126th Overall

Grade: A+

Forsling is already a solid, if unspectacular, NHL defender. Unfortunately, he’s doing that defending for the Chicago Blackhawks, but that doesn’t change the fact that he represents excellent value for a 5th Round Pick.

 

Kyle Pettit, C, 156th Overall

Grade: F

It looks as though Pettit isn’t even going to earn an AHL contract, making him an outright bust. That’s not unexpected with a 6th Round Pick, but he’s still this draft’s biggest failure.

 

Mackenze Stewart, 186th Overall

Grade: D

Stewart at least signed an NHL contract and spent some time in the AHL, which is more than plenty of 7th Round Picks can say. However, that signing does seem to be a case of Benning being overly generous, so it’s hard to call this a good pick.

 

At Free Agency:

Signed Ryan Miller, G, to 3-Yr Contract @ $6mil cap hit-

Grade: B

Miller’s contract was a fair one, which isn’t always true for UFA deals. Miller was paid exactly what he should have been as a mid-calibre starting goaltender, and he played that role consistently in his three years with Vancouver. Miller gave some terrible teams more of a chance to win than they deserved, and was a good signing.

 

Signed Radim Vrbata, RW, to 2-Yr Contract @ $5 mil cap hit

Grade: B+

If this signing were graded after only one year, it would be an easy A+. However, Vrbata’s excellent first season with the Canucks was followed by a disappointing poutfest. Still, signing a top-flight UFA for only two years, and having one of those years turn out to be fantastic value, is a better result than most GMs get on July 1st.

 

Trading:

Traded Jason Garrison, D, and Jeff Costello, F, to Tampa Bay for 2nd Round Pick in 2014

Grade: B

Time has shown that Jason Garrison’s contract was not a great one, with Tampa Bay having to pay Vegas to take it during this year’s expansion draft. Therefore, getting a 2nd Round Pick in return for Garrison wasn’t a bad deal at all, even if it seemed a bit cheap given his performance level at the time.

 

Traded 2014 3rd Round Pick to New York Rangers for Derek Dorsett, RW

Grade: C

Dorsett has never performed as anything more than a fourth liner for the Canucks, which means that a 3rd Round Pick is a little rich for his acquisition. However, Dorsett has also been a valuable character asset that has been a big part of the team culture for the past three years. Without his contract extension, which would come later, Dorsett was an ideal fourth line presence.

 

Traded Ryan Kesler, C, and a 3rd Round Pick in 2015 to the Anaheim Ducks for Luca Sbisa, D, Nick Bonino, C, and 1st and 3rd Round Picks in 2014-

Grade: C+

The context is important in this one. Benning was put into an extremely tight spot by Kesler’s incredibly specific trade demands, so getting any sort of value out of this trade was a win. Sbisa was not a great asset despite some okay performances, but Bonino sure was. Unfortunately for the Canucks, Bonino’s best years would come as a Penguin. The addition of a 1st Round Pick makes this trade more even, but Kesler remains an elite talent in the league, and it would have been nice for the Canucks to cash in more on him.

 

Traded a 2nd Round Pick in 2014 to Los Angeles for Linden Vey, C-

Grade: D

Taking a gamble on Vey was a reasonable move, given his AHL success and history with Willie Desjardins. Unfortunately, that gamble did not pay off, and Vey doesn’t look like a player with a future in the NHL. He definitely wasn’t worth a 2nd Round Pick, especially given Benning’s talents at the draft table.

 

Traded Alexandre Mallet, C, and a 3rd Round Pick in 2016 to New York Islanders for Andrey Pedan, D

Grade: C

Mallet was a complete bust, but a 3rd Round Pick in 2016 was a considerable price to pay for someone in Pedan who has yet to crack the NHL. Pedan has shown glimpses of potential, and remains a valuable AHL asset, but the Canucks probably would have been better off with the draft pick.

 

 

Overall Grade: B

Excellent drafting, minus the first pick, and great value free agent signings help boost Benning’s grade against mostly mediocre trades. Not a bad first year for a team looking to add youth and restock barren prospect cupboards.