Jim Benning Broke The Canucks; Maybe He Should Go

The 2016 NHL Trade Deadline was the final straw for many Canucks fans; Jim Benning is no longer capable of steering the Canucks ship in the right direction, he has taken a page out of James Cameron’s book and sunk the Titanic. I have been a pretty even keel guy and have given many of the Canucks leaders the benefit of the doubt. Not this time though, I’ve had enough. Its pretty clear Jim Benning broke the Canucks and I think his time is up.

Maybe a little harsh to start but when you start breaking down the moves Benning has made, possibly John Weisbrod as well, he isn’t fit to be in charge. I had an interesting conversation with a good friend of mine recently about the blatantly obvious situation the Canucks find themselves in; going from Assistant GM to THE GM is kind of like riding shotgun for a long time and then being told you have to drive now.

Benning sat in the passenger seat for a number of years before being given the keys to a very, very expensive machine. You can wikipedia his resume because I don’t feel like letting you know what he’s done, you know too much already. Jimbo was the right hand man for 8 years before making the transition to all powerful.

When you’ve sat shotgun for 8 years, helping make important decisions is basically old hat, but when YOU’RE the one making the final decision, you hope the guy assisting you has done his work as well. He’s basically been the passenger long enough he has seen how to drive a car and it looks very doable; and then he starts driving and realizes its not the same thing.

Analyzing every move Benning has made would be redundant and not all of them have been bad. Jim has proven he’s an excellent scout and maybe one of the top ones out there, but do you really want a scout running your hockey club? I don’t.

I’ve talked about the Kelowna Rockets many a time and they have a jedi scout in Lorne Frey. He’s unearthed the likes of Shea Weber, Duncan Keith and my personal fave Nick Merkley; but I couldn’t imagine him taking over Bruce Hamilton’s job as GM. Nothing wrong with that its just they excel in different areas.

There’s always talk of the next deserving GM when one gets canned but why can’t teams see these guy’s strengths AND weaknesses? Of course, you can’t always find everything you’re looking for; Mike Gillis was very much out of the box thinking and had never had a job like that before so you can’t paint them all with one brush.

It’s entirely possible Jim Benning has architected the future Canucks with his shrew draft strategy but he’s also shooting himself in the foot by pawning off available picks for players that really have no business being acquired or leaving extra picks on the table when he waives players that could warrant a valuable return.

Once the trade deadline passed, it was quite clear the Canucks were not in it to win it. What we see before our eyes is the Canucks team that will finish out the season, plus or minus a few AHL callups. With no one coming or going this year, it’s a real head scratcher as to what management and potentially ownership is thinking.

All the focus on Monday was if Dan Hamhuis would waive his NTC and accept a trade to what we later found out, the Blackhawks or the Stars. That never happened and with all the focus shifting that way, players like Radim Vrbata and the #GarageSale7 were left in limbo. Another eye opener was that Alex Burrows name was left completely off the radar.

Was there any demand for Burrows’ talent this year? Just because someone isn’t on the block doesn’t mean he’s not available. Burrows has had a terrible year and is a shadow of his former glory. His career seems to be running its course but would he not be an asset for a team needing a 3rd liner on a well balanced Cup contender?

These are questions that should have been asked.

So should Benning actually be fired? In a word, no. We’ve seen teams like the Oilers, Flames, Leafs and even the Blackhawks keep former GM’s around, some just to appease the “old boys club”, some to eventually set to pasture. But if I’m the Canucks and more importantly Trevor Linden, I keep Benning around.

He isn’t the guy for THIS job but his knowledge and prowess of the development side of the game can’t be ignored. Re-package his role into VP of operations/scouting/Assistant GM, kick Weisbrod to the curb because clearly his ideas are awful (Granlund, seriously?) and put someone in charge who actually knows what they’re doing.

Sure, he’ll be mad and maybe sad or even sad/mad but he’s still being paid and I’m sure being 2nd in command for the Bruins Stanley Cup wasn’t the worst feeling. The worst feeling was trading away Tyler Seguin……and there it is.

A competent GM would not have given voluptuous contracts to Luca Sbisa, Derek Dorsett, Ryan Miller, Brandon Su…you know what, you get it. You know how I learned to save money? My parents showed me how and they guided me along so I wouldn’t go out and blow my savings on useless toys or beer.

They got half of that right – let’s be serious I was 10 when I got a bank account and I didn’t know beer yet.

Did no one stop Jimbo when he had the ol’ wallet out to sign these guys? Like anyone? His decision making is just atrocious and there’s no way this team should be run this way.

Going back to the deadline, was there really not a trade to made either way? You need picks, you need prospects and its evident you need 18 players a night. After the game against the Islanders, they did not have any of those things.  Mr. Benning has waived Adam Cracknell which he didn’t need to do, Frankie Corrado, again something he didn’t need to do and trading Hunter Shinkaruk.

I need a moment.

Hunter Shinkaruk on the surface, was the best player not on the Canucks. He was then traded for Markus Granlund who is not the best player on the Canucks, he’s not the best player not on the Canucks; what he is, is the best trade the Flames made until trade deadline day when they got potentially 2 first round picks for Kris Russell.

Listening to Tony Gallagher on Tuesday helped open up the wounds that almost healed. Why trade Shinkaruk who the Canucks felt wasn’t going to be a Canuck in the end for someone who won’t be a Canuck past July 1 IMO? It’s like showing your hand in poker and then driving the pot up to eventually still lose.

That’s not how it works. What COULD have been done was they could have just not traded Hunter Shinkaruk OR…….at least driven his price up until they got literally anything more valuable than less than a happy meal…minus the toy.

Thinking how this has all happened and how nothing has been fixed yet, Trevor Linden and the AQs need to do some serious brainstorming as to how this situation can be remedied. This rebuild is humming along and the coach can only work with what he’s given but now Benning is taking things away from him and that’s not fair to WD or the fans.

I don’t believe Benning knows what he’s doing most days when it comes to anything in front of him. Give him the scout job with all the perks and patch up this mess before it gets worse.

Even Mike Keenan got things going and we hated his guts.

Fix this Trevor because this has gotten way out of hand.

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