The 2020-21 season has been a disaster so far for the Vancouver Canucks.
Despite pushing the Vegas Golden Knights to Game 7 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals last season, the Canucks have taken a giant step back this season and no longer look like a team on the rise. Sure, they still have superstars in the making with Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes doing their thing and the supporting cast of Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser have been solid, but without Jacob Markstrom holding down the fort in goal things have fallen apart quickly for the Canucks. Thatcher Demko has been average to good, while Braden Holtby has been mediocre at best. The team's depth is woefully overpaid and fantastically mediocre. Loui Eriksson, Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, Tyler Myers, Brandon Sutter... all mediocre players on big ticket contracts who have made life difficult on GM Jim Benning.
Now, Benning is ready to offload some contracts and shake up his team. But... can he make a deal?
TSN's Pierre LeBrun reports that Benning has literally spoken with every team in the NHL in the past few weeks in trying to make a deal, but he's come up empty handed. From LeBrun's most recent 'Insider Trading' segment on TSN:
"He certainly has been busy, there hasn't been a result yet but I can tell you from talking to teams around the league that their isn't a single GM who hasn't heard from Jim Benning in the past couple weeks. And really this is more about doing his due diligence and knowing what's out there ahead of April 12th. But right now there are so many teams in LTIR and it's so difficult to make an apples to apples trade. But if he can, what he's looking for is a top 9 forward to fit into that young core."
Hmm.... a top 9 forward who can fit into your young core? How's Tyler Toffoli sound, Jimbo? Oh right... you let him walk away as a free agent for nothing because of the awful contracts you handcuffed yourself with... right...
Honestly, Canucks fans should feel very apprehensive about Benning's next move. The unpopular GM has no contract for next season and is the biggest example of a "Lame Duck GM" that we've had in the NHL for years. In other words: This is a desperate man in desperate times. His next move could be absolutely earth shattering. Stay tuned.