It’s been a rough season so far for the Vancouver Canucks. Being one of the bottom three teams in the standings is not a place where any team wants to finish the season, but that’s exactly where the Canucks are headed. Injuries, inexperience, and inconsistent goaltending have all played a role in the downfall this season. Several steps need to be taken within this franchise to get back to being winners and, eventually, Stanley Cup contenders.
First of all, the Canucks need to get younger. Trades need to be made for draft picks and young prospects, ultimately leading to the departure of veterans. That includes the Sedins.
Realistically, it is unlikely that the twins will be moved prior to next season. But in order to speed the process, it must be done. Some argue they are Canucks for life and should stay for the rest of their careers, but in the end, it’s a business. In order to be successful, they must get out with the old and in with the new, bringing the opportunity for the future of this team to grow and develop.
Part of the process of rebuilding a franchise includes the concept of ‘tanking.’ The Canucks have to lose games, and a lot of them. The more games they lose, the better the chance they have at acquiring the number one pick in the draft. Riding a nine-game losing streak with less than 10 games left, they seem to already be on the right track.
This is important especially in this year’s draft class because this year’s projected first overall pick, Auston Matthews, is a highly touted, talented goalscorer, who can seemingly turn a franchise in the positive direction singlehandedly.
Finally, a change in management is necessary. General Manager Jim Benning has made more than his share of mistakes in his tenure as GM, most notably in his inability to deal two of the top free agents at this year’s trade deadline. Dan Hamhuis and Radim Vrbata are two veterans who will be on the free agent market by the end of the season, and because of Benning, the Canucks will be getting nothing out of them.
However, the one move Benning made had Canucks fans scrutinizing his actions. He dealt away a former first-round pick in Hunter Shinkaruk. This came as a shock and angered many because Canuck fans feel that it’s time to rebuild. Ultimately, trading away the top prospect isn’t going to help the cause.
This team needs to become younger, and Benning doesn’t seem to recognize that. He needs to go, too.