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NHL insider predicts that Canucks may make shocking expansion decision

Will Benning give up on one of his biggest acquisitions?

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While live on the air with TSN 1040 radio in Vancouver, The Hockey News’ Matt Larkin, made the case for the Vancouver Canucks  to expose forward Brandon Sutter in the upcoming NHL Expansion Draft. Larkin specifically says the team would be wise to protect 23 year-old Brendan Gaunce over Sutter, given his age and the team’s trajectory.

The move, should it happen, would mean that general manager Jim Benning would essentially be giving up on a forward that was at one point considered a “foundational player” for the team. When Sutter was first acquired by Benning from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Nick Bonino, the proud GM compared him favorably to stars like Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews. Well… that hasn’t worked out.

Still, despite two mediocre seasons in Vancouver, it’s hard to imagine the Canucks walking away from Sutter at this point. The 28 year-old centerman still fills a crucial role on the team’s second and third line and is arguably their top penalty killer. While he may not be Bergeron or Toews, he’s certainly a more effective NHLer than Brendan Gaunce.