All things considered, the Vancouver Canucks have been overachievers this season.
The Canucks sit just six points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot, quite the accomplishment considering last year's sixth-place division finish.
Despite the surprising state of the team's record, GM Jim Benning should begin his franchise's much-needed rebuild at this season's trade deadline. And that rebuild should begin with the team moving on from forward Alex Burrows and goaltender Ryan Miller.
"We're going to see where we're at,” Benning told The Province on Tuesday. "I'll have individual conversations with those players and their agents, but we're hoping we can stay in the (playoff) fight."
Although many fans will say that a playoff birth is attainable, the Canucks must ask themselves how far they can truly go, and at what cost to the future.
Landing a top-three divisional spot seems all but lost with the12 points out of reach at the moment. Vancouver can make an attempt for a wild-card spot, but would have to pass the , , and one of the or
However. the Canucks aren't a young team and don't seem to have the pieces to grind their way through a playoff run. This is why they need to consider striking a deal for Burrows and Miller, both unrestricted free agents by this season's end.
Now that his team has started to play well, Benning has a chance to sell high on his veterans, particularly Miller.
The 36-year-old goaltender's .918 save percentage is tied for the second-best of his career, and he's fresh off recording his third shutout of 2016-17, against the Columbus Blue Jackets no less.
Burrows hasn't been spectacular by an means, though his seven goals and 16 points through 48 games are head and shoulders above his numbers from last season.
The longtime Canucks winger is considered a valuable playoff player, having racked up 34 points through 70 career playoff appearances.
It's fair to assume Benning could find suitors for his two veteran stars, as plenty of clubs would likely line up for Miller's netminding services, and Burrows remains a decent depth winger.
Vancouver's brassto go down the rebuild route out of respect for and . But finishing 2016-17 without a meaningful playoff run and with zero assets attained for their two star free agents-to-be would do little for the franchise-leading duo.
Selling high on their veterans and building around