While there are still some holes in the Canucks’ roster, and it is too early to say whether recent moves will pan out, general manager Jim Benning seems to be making the right moves so far.
In an ideal situation you don’t trade Ryan Kesler. He was arguably the best player on the team and often the hardest working. Any trade you make, you are not going to get a better player, and could only hope for quantity to add up to similar quality.
However, there’s not much a GM can do when a player asks for a trade, which Kesler did. One could hope that he would do the right thing and play the following year, regardless of whether he was traded. Even if he did, though, he would likely play half-heartedly, and perhaps be a detriment to the locker room.
Kesler allegedly only wanted to go to two teams, too: the Chicago Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks. This handcuffed Benning even further, as the GMs of these teams were accordingly given a chance to lowball their offers.
Bonino appears to have a good offensive touch, and perhaps has not yet reached his peak.
With that being said, Benning pulled off a pretty good deal with Anaheim. For Kesler and a third round pick in 2015, the Canucks got center Nick Bonino and young defenseman Luca Sbisa, as well as 24 overall pick, which they used to select Jared McCann, and a third round pick this year, which was traded to the Rangers for Derek Dorsett.
Bonino actually had more points than Kesler last year, and will slot in to replace Kesler’s role as a second center, though in an ideal world he probably should be third. However, he appears to have a good offensive touch, and perhaps has not yet reached his peak. His age (26), and the fact that his first full season was the last one raises some questions, though.
Luca Sbisa was originally picked 19th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2007. He was a regular roster player for three seasons until the most recent one during which he only played 30 games. Despite this apparent regression, he is only 24, and a change of scenery may impact his game for the better.
Derek Dorsett should help contribute to a legitimate fourth line, rather than one made up of simply whomever is leftover on the roster.
Benning also traded defenseman Jason Garrison plus the rights to Jeff Costello (who?) and 2015’s seventh round pick, for a second round pick this year, which was traded to LA for Linden Vey, who had a pretty good season in the AHL and is projected to be a roster player.
It was a trade for cap space, and I agree with that, although it is questionable if he needed to throw in more with Garrison, who is a top four d-man.
The free agent frenzy was a bit slower for the Canucks than I had anticipated, however, they made a solid addition in signing goalie Ryan Miller to a three year, $18 million contract. He should provide solid goaltending while mentoring Eddie Lack.
The Canucks still need a top six forward at least, having just missed out on Jerome Iginla, who decided to go to Colorado. Perhaps they will add via a trade, having missed out on potential free agents. However, with Benning’s moves, the pieces seem to be coming into place and things are not looking as dire as they were a month ago.
(A)side jab: Boston Bruins have no cap room, which rendered them unable to re-sign Iginla. Ha! Could this be karma?