The Vancouver Canucks' fan base was finally hoping their team would begin looking at a complete rebuild of their organization, but that doesn't sound like it's going to be happening.
While the moves from general manager Jim Benning at the trade deadline certainly seemed to be pushing the team in that direction, Canucks insider Ben Kuzma is now reporting that he believes Benning want to remain "competitive," something that will prevent him from making some of the bigger moves towards a rebuild.
According to Kuzma, Benning intends to hold on to 37-year-old veteran goaltender Ryan Miller by convincing him to re-sign with the Canucks, this despite 27-year-old Jacob Markstrom waiting in the wings presumably as the goalie of the future. And to make matters worse Benning won't be trading two of his top assets, and the two assets that would likely fetch him the biggest return for a rebuilding project.
However, the Canucks general manager rationalized his goaltending plan — and a reluctance to trade the coveted Chris Tanev or the aging Alex Edler — by playing the competitive card.
Benning believes you can’t throw youth to the wolves and that competent goaltending and stability on the back end will ensure there’s a product worth watching next fall.
That’s somewhat debatable.
There are a huge number of teams that would give up a premium package for a player like Tanev, and we are talking at minimum a first round draft pick, however it sounds like Benning or someone above him continue to struggle with the idea of fielding a bad team on the ice as they horde assets for the future.
Unfortunately for some fans in Vancouver, this will be viewed as merely prolonging the inevitable, and potentially as missing some very good opportunities in the process.