By Andrew Chernoff July 1, 2014
Since the trading deadline in the 2013-2014 season much has happened concerning Canucks management and player personnel with the Vancouver hockey club, and as demonstrated on their webpage, with the promise of “Change Is Coming”, that change has come and continues this offseason.
I have resisted jumping to opinions and have let the process develop the way it has before taking the time to comment on my thoughts with the Canucks hockey club and whether the organization seems to be taking positive steps in making tweaks and changes to make the club not only competitive in their division but also provide excitement, security and stability for the many loyal, long serving and Stanley Cup hopeful Canuck fans.
The addition of Trevor Linden, who played 16 seasons as a Canuck and earned the nickname “Captain Canuck”, as President of Hockey Operations for the Vancouver Canucks by team owner Francesco Aquilini on Wednesday, April 9, 2014; the hiring of Jim Benning on Wednesday, May 21, 2014, a former teammate of Linden, to be the Canucks 11th general manager; the announcement of Willie Desjardins as the 18th coach of the franchise on Monday, June 23, 2014, who led the AHL’s Texas Stars to a Calder Cup championship on Tuesday, June 17, 2014—demonstrated aggressive leadership by Canucks ownership and new management to put the club right and demonstrate to the media, fans and the league, that the Canucks are not dead or dying and are prepared to be competitive, relevant and put the pieces in place in the off season to make the playoffs in Spring 2015 after missing them this past Spring.
The trading of Ryan Kesler, before the start of the 2014 NHL Draft, ensured that Kesler would not be an issue with the Canucks moving forward and the moving of Jason Garrison which freed up cap space, continued the theme of “Change Is Coming” and reinforced my confidence in the sincerity and faith in the Canucks to do as they talk.
Linden and Benning also knew they needed to address the acquisition of a veteran goaltender that would fit the organization and the plan the Canucks are rolling out for the start of the 2014-2015 season.
And acquire they did with former Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller becoming a Vancouver Canuck on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 on a 3-year deal for 18-million dollars. A proven starter, and a veteran for Eddie Lack to learn from, without the pressure Lack faced last season when he played twenty games in a row and faced considerable attention after Roberto Luongo was moved at the trading deadline.
The 2014 draft choices the Canucks made were: left wing Jake Virtanen sixth overall, centre Jared McCann 24th overall, goaltender Thatcher Demko 36th overall, defenceman Nikita Tryamkin 66th overall, defenceman Gustav Forsling 126th overall, centre Kyle Pettit 156th overall and defenceman MacKenzie Stewart 186th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Right wing Linden Vey from the Los Angeles Kings was also acquired in exchange for Vancouver’s 50th selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
I am excited by left wing Jake Virtanen being a Canuck. Hopeful this BC boy will be a Canuck for years to come and be to Vancouver what a former Canuck and BC boy was to Boston: Cam Neely.
The Canucks said change was coming, it definitely has, and remains to be seen how it will continue and shape the team and its fortunes for the coming season.
Whatever happens further this offseason with the Canucks, I will continue to support the Canucks as I have for over 45 years. As the Sam Cooke song, “A Change Is Going To Come”, says:
There been times when I thought I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gon’ come, oh yes it will