Don’t confuse the final message of this season by the Vancouver Canucks as being mixed. It is not.
Trevor Linden outlined that the work will still continue to transition this team into a newer, younger better version of itself. He also said that despite the retooling, the expectation, that’s right, the expectation is to still be a team that contends for a playoff spot every year.
For some people, that will be a mixed message, as there are many out there that believe that you can’t rebuild on the fly AND contend for a playoff spot. That may be the way the Canucks of old have thought, that is not the way Linden and Jim Benning think.
It doesn’t mean that they are right, the proof will only be measured by the results, but in the hockey business, half of your goal is preparation, the other half is execution.
If you prepare yourself to miss the playoffs, you likely will miss them. Some say you can’t have both, the Canucks say why not?
The path for the Canucks is clear; at least it is for them. Now comes the hard part, and that is to separate themselves from the personnel who will not be taking the next step with them and maximizing their value.
Again, this comes down to the sales pitch, but it also is hinged on finding the right buyer of these pieces, and that is where Jim Benning comes in.
Benning doesn’t just have a board of his players, he has a board of every player on every team, and a book on the players to boot. You need to have intimate knowledge of your trading partners assets in order to make a deal. Benning will now need to prove that he not only has that information, but that he knows how to use it.
The off season stands to be another interesting one for Vancouver. They have emerged from the crater that was last year with a new sense of purpose, let’s see if they can make some of that traction stick.