By Andrew Chernoff May 28, 2016
The Vancouver Canucks have been busy trying to “rebuild”, or “retool” the team as they prepare for the upcoming 2016 NHL Draft and later the 2016-17 season.
CANUCKS OFFSEASON WHEELING AND DEALING
Canucks General Manager Jim Benning has been adding youth to the already formidable youth movement established by the Canucks since he has been the Canucks general manager.
- The Canucks in April signed free agents Troy Stecher and Michael Garteig; and 2014 draft pick Thatcher Demko.
- On April 26, Vancouver signed 23 year old centre Markus Granlund to a two-year contract extension.
- On May 16, Vancouver signed free agent Yan-Pavel Laplante, and on May 26, the Canucks signed free agent Tom Nilsson.
On May 25, Benning demonstrated he was not shy about pulling a trade, if he felt it could help the club, when Vancouver acquired 24 year old defenceman Erik Gudbranson and Florida’s 2016 fifth round pick (NYI) in exchange for Jared McCann and the Canucks 2016 second and fourth round picks.
Benning has received criticism about the trade and questions about an apparent philosophical change to acquire Gudbranson, in trading away McCann and the Canucks 2016 second and fourth round picks.
Gudbranson is a 6-foot-5, 220-pound defenceman who will play in the team’s top four next season, according to Benning, and felt the deal was too good to pass up at this stage of the offseason.
It was a steep price to pay, but this past season Gudbranson came into his own for Florida, as he ranked third on the Panthers in hits (150), fourth in blocked shots (73) and fourth in average ice time per game (20:06). The 2010 3rd overall NHL draft pick ranked second on the Panthers and led Florida defencemen in average ice time in the 2016 playoffs (26:54) in addition to ranking second on the team in blocked shots (8).
Earlier in March, the Canucks signed 2009 draft pick, 25 year old right wing Anton Rodin to a one-year, one-way contract on March 22; and on March 9, signed their fourth pick (third round, 66th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft, defenceman Nikita Tryamkin, to a 2-year entry-level contract.
Tryamkin was able to play in 13 games for the Canucks this past season after signing, registering a goal and an assist (1-1-2). He registered a career-high five hits, Apr. 1 at ANA…Notched a career-high three shots and 21:01 TOI, Mar. 27 vs CHI…Recorded four hits and a career-high four blocked shots, Mar. 19 vs STL…Appeared in his first NHL game and recorded his first NHL point, Mar. 16 vs COL. He collected his first career NHL goal, Apr. 7 at CGY.
2016 NHL DRAFT
Vancouver will enter the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, currently owning the 5th, 33rd, 63rd, 93rd, 153rd, 183rd and 193rd overall picks, potentially giving the Canucks a great opportunity to add to an already impressive collection of young talent, that Vancouver is hoping will payoff in an optimistic future for the team.
Since the Canucks reorganization in 2014, the Canucks drafts have yielded the following:
Round 1, 6th overall pick: Jake Virtanen
Round 1, 24th overall (from Anaheim): Jared McCann
Round 2: Thatcher Demko
Round 3: Nikita Tryamkin
Round 5: Gustav Forsling
Round 6: Kyle Pettit
Round 7: Mackenze Stewart
Round 1 (23rd overall): Brock Boeser
Round 3: Guillaume Brisebois
Round 4: Dimitry Zhukenov
Round 5: Carl Neill
Round 5 (from Rangers): Adam Gaudette
Round 6: Lukas Jasek
Round 7: Tate Olson
THE NEXT CHAPTER
According to Trevor Linden, President, Hockey Operations, the Canucks are developing their next core—the next generation of the team.
“We’re getting younger and faster. There’s nothing like seeing a young core group come together, right from the start. It’s an exciting time to be a Canucks fan.”
General Manager Jim Benning, echos the same thoughts, as the Canucks strive to build a winning team, assuring Canuck fans alike, it’s happening.
“We are accelerating the development of our young players by surrounding them with the best NHL leadership, character and talent. There are no shortcuts. No one says this will be easy. What it will be, is what you’ve come to expect from Canucks hockey at its best: Exciting. Energetic. Emotional. You’ll see the future of the team emerging in front of you, every night.”
And Coach Willie Desjardins is just as psyched about the Canucks future, and his expectations are crystal clear and unambiguous.
“Every time we hit the ice I want our guys to play hard, with energy and speed. It’s about competing every shift with passion, whether you’re a veteran or a rookie. That’s what we’re trying to teach here: a relentless belief that a Vancouver Canuck is going to do things the right way, for his teammates, every single day. That’s what makes great teammates, and that’s what makes great teams.”
Marketing is one thing, and well and good. The Canucks need to make it happen.
Make it happen, and the sell outs will return for all home games.
Make it happen. Winning makes believers, is infectious, builds, is good for the bottom line, provides stability.