The Jim Benning Effect And Why We MIGHT Need To Chill Out

The title alone will probably make many a person mad and I’m cool with that. On Friday night, round one of the NHL Entry Draft completed and the Canucks picked Olli Juolevi at the 5 spot.

It probably wasn’t the exact guy everyone wanted and many feel Jim Benning reached to get him at 5 when he could have landed him at 9; moot now. Anyways, what basically happened was the Canucks didn’t lose any roster players, he didn’t give up any current prospects and he still has the minimal stash of picks he started with on Friday. Many of us would consider this a win.

Jim Benning has definitely divided the Canucks fans and media alike with his consistent inconsistency. The funny thing is, that is pretty much the Canucks in a nutshell. They never fully deliver on really anything but they never slump out to the point where the absolute bottom falls out. This is where we’re kind of caught in the middle with Jimbo.

We’ve blasted his every move as they’ve happened including at the draft this year. I know I was pretty steamed last year when my personal fav, Nick Merkley of the Kelowna Rockets, was passed over and Brock Boeser was taken at 23. Looking ahead, it was a phenomenal pick! A future star in the making for sure. His handling of young prospects and what we deem as bogus talent has been ever questioned but somehow, he’s slowly turned this team around.

Hear me out; the Canucks aren’t winning any trophies any time soon (team ones) and the building process takes time. Benning has put his stamp on this team and there are days where I’m sure Trevor Linden has to show Jim what stamp to use but he’s doing it. As a GM, Benning looks like he’s still learning on the job which is scary but as a scout he’s drafted some of our best talent.

So why do we continue to kick this guy out the door?

This is where the message boards blow up but is he really that awful? I actually feel like he might be on to something. Remember the episode of Seinfeld called “The Opposite”? George did everything the opposite and his whole world turned around. Maybe we need to start just accepting what Jim is doing (not completely though) and see some of this out.

Erik Gudbranson for Jared McCann and the pick maybe wasn’t the best deal to make but Florida always has Benning in his Fab 5 contacts. It is a shame the pick had to leave as I think that trade happens straight up but it happened, it’s over. Gubby (pronounced GOOBY) hasn’t played in a Canucks uniform and depending on who he’s paired with, he could become a stud on the back end; we just don’t know.

I’m willing to see how he pans out. At the very least, he HAS to be better than Luca Sbisa. I mean, he just has to right?

Back to the opposite theory, Benning seems to befuddle us with his dealings and he hasn’t exactly been flat out wrong on much. He got Sven Baertschi for a 2nd and they just re-signed the guy. He’s had some big misses don’t get me wrong and we all know which ones those are but his current stop gaps on the big club might just put the Canucks in the position to blow up at both the July 1 Free Agent frenzy and next season’s decision days.

I think we all just assume the Canucks will go FULL JIM BENNING on every move and we all know you never go full Jim Benning. It just feels weird that despite his glaring ineffectiveness to make a proper REAL trade, he is building this team from the ground up. It feels like his focus is 5 years from now and so what if there are problems today?

The Jim Benning Effect hovers on every move that’s made and unless its a home run every time, its considered a failure. This might not be all Jimbos fault. Weisbrod isn’t exactly a prince. The Assistant GM is just as important as the big guy, which is why when Benning was #2, when Nonis was #2 and when Gilman was #2, the GM could have the final say (kinda like a dentist when he walks in to finish up) and as a “team” proper deals were made.

Benning still operates IMO as an Assistant GM and his assistant does as well. No one is really in charge. So is he the one to blame? We would all love to be in charge of a team and have access to the resources and secret GM message board websites but you’d still have to pull the trigger. We have no clue what deals have fallen through, which ones never got offered and the like but we just assume that what we see as obvious…actually is.

It may all end up burning to the ground and that’s entirely possible but for now The Benning Effect has actually made the Canucks a slightly better team, even if we don’t want to believe it.

I found it tough to even type those words. He’s not Rain Man, he’s not a genius but he hasn’t lost his job so something must be going right.


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