Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
When the Vancouver Canucks were able to augment their centre position through the Brandon Sutter trade this week, they hit upon one of the proven formulas of improving a team in the NHL.
The difficulty in pulling this off more often, of course, is getting yourself into the right position and then finding a team which has the assets you covet, and having stumbled into same the position the Pittsburgh Penguins found themselves in before this trade.
Positioning yourself to take advantage of teams that are over the salary cap and must pare down before the start of the season is something the Canucks have done successfully in the past, and other teams as well have found this a winning formula.
After all, when you are making a trade with a team that has to make a trade, the odds are very much in your favour that success will be forthcoming.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
For the first time since the Vancouver Canucks originally picked up Adam Clendening, the team finally made a trade where the immediate reaction isn’t to tear out one’s own hair.
Not that this deal is by any means one which will put the Canucks into the playoffs for sure, because at this point that’s looking to be a long shot at best. What it does is get them some insurance at the second-line centre spot in case Bo Horvat can’t seem to make anything happen with his expected promotion — a strong possibility given the wingers he’ll be playing with bear no resemblance to Mike Bossy.
Brandon Sutter gives the Canucks a right-handed centre to take all the key defensive draws on the right side of the ice, which can be handy, and it makes them a little bigger and tougher down the middle, which is certainly an asset in the Western Conference. Canucks general manager Jim Benning considers Sutter a fellow who will be the leader of the young group of players he hopes to assemble here, being slightly more experienced yet still within hailing distance in age of the likes of Horvat, Jake Virtanen, Sven Baertschi, Brendan Gaunce, Jared McCann and the rest he hopes will adorn the roster.
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired forward Nick Bonino, defenseman Adam Clendening and a 2016 second-round pick from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Brandon Sutter and a 2016 third-round pick, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
The second-round draft pick acquired by Pittsburgh is Anaheim’s 2016 second-round selection.
The third-round choice that Pittsburgh is sending to Vancouver is the compensatory pick awarded from Buffalo for hiring Dan Bylsma as head coach earlier this summer.
Bonino is signed through the 2016-17 season and carries an average annual value of $1.9 million. Clendening is signed through the ’15-16 campaign.
added 11:39am, Vancouver release is below...
“We can’t control that Edmonton drafted Connor McDavid and Calgary got Dougie Hamilton and L.A. got Milan (Lucic). We have to stick to the plan of drafting and developing and we have to be patient. That’s going to be difficult in this market but that’s our plan, and we’re going to stick to it.”
-Trevor Linden, President of the Vancouver Canucks. More from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province.
from Jason Botchford of the White Towel at the Vancouver Province,
The Canucks could have traded Ryan Miller. They passed. This stunner was dropped at the team’s raucous Summer Summit with season ticket holders.
It wasn’t exactly greeted with a warm hug.
Trevor Linden and Jim Benning took on a series of pointed questions from fans still riled up over recent moves.
None more controversial than the Eddie Lack trade. It took all of nine minutes before we got our first post-Lack era “Eddie” chant. Just wait for that the Hurricanes visit this year.
Up to now, most believed the Canucks didn’t have many options when it came to their goalies. Turns out, they had all the options.
“We could have moved Ryan Miller,” Benning revealed matter-of-factly. “There were teams calling on Ryan Miller.” Benning was cut off by boos. Something that happened a couple of times.
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
The Canucks are set to start this season with five players on expiring contracts, four of whom would be valuable trade assets around the deadline.
But if the Canucks are in the mix for a post-season spot, are they really going to risk it at the deadline and by trading a regular or three?
You could make the case they should have done it a few months ago. With no intention of signing Shawn Matthias, the Canucks could have explored acquiring a pick for him around the deadline.
It would not have changed the way the season ended, or the playoffs.
Radim Vrbata is one of the players on an expiring contract. His signing is seen by many as one of GM Jim Benning’s best moves.
The team had a chance this summer to sell high on Vrbata, which would probably have been a shrewd, long-range move....
Yannick Weber, and Brandon Prust are others who could get mid-round picks at the deadline. So, too, is Chris Higgins, who does not look like a player who fits the long-term plans of the Canucks.
But no other player will have the value Dan Hamhuis could have around the deadline.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
We understand we set impressive new standards for back flipping last week — give Jim Benning a chance; he did what? GAWWWKKKK — but there was something about the cumulative effect of the Canucks’ moves that didn’t exactly inspire confidence.
There’s no need to recap them here. But, one after the other, it seems the team was either trading assets for 70 cents on the dollar or firing capable and devoted Canucks. It could be Benning is right in all his judgments. It could be this is the start of a newly imagined organization. But sitting here in July 2015, it’s hard to see where this is the start of anything except more disappointment.
Two things stand out after all the dust has settled. The four most influential positions in the hockey department now belong to Trevor Linden, Benning, John Weisbrod and T.C. Carling.
Of those four, Linden has held his position the longest.
There’s also something troubling about the construction of that front office. Loyalty is one thing but you wonder who’s going to stand up and say, “This is a bad idea. Let’s think about this.”
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
“Did I have any idea I’d be traded? No, no. I had no clue. I know on July 1 there’s a lot of action and I’m going into the last year of my contract. But after the playoffs I had (a postseason career-high goal and three assists in 12 games, and some industrial-strength work), I didn’t think there was any way they’d trade me.
“A few of the boys texted me,” Prust said of his now former Canadiens teammates. “Their reaction was quite the same for everybody – they were in shock. ‘What the hell?’ that was basically the reaction.”
There was more pragmatic feedback coming from Prust’s parents, Kevin and Theresa.
“Their first reaction was, ‘Oh man, now we have to stay up late to watch all your games,’ ” he said with a laugh. “They don’t miss a second of a game. People were telling them, ‘PVR it and watch it the next day,’ and they’re saying, ‘Yeah, right, like we’re going to do that.’ ”
Some observers were suggesting that Prust was on thin ice with the Canadiens the minute he ran afoul of referee Brad Watson in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinal vs. Tampa Bay.
He was thrown out of the match, then fined $5,000 for having alleged in post-game comments that Watson had insulted and sworn at him, remarks for which he later apologized.
Wife Noureen DeWulf credited with one too.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Benning is apt to be judged by how well many of the young prospects the club has and continues to bring in under its umbrella do as their careers unfold. Certainly, the early reports on him as a negotiator and as a trader are not particularly good, although there’s no way any of his trades can be fully judged yet.
But the dismissal of Laurence Gilman Thursday seems to be yet a monumentally bonehead move for two reasons.
First, the contract negotiation work in which Gilman had a massive hand during the Mike Gillis years was infinitely superior to the couple of early samples of contract work we’ve seen from this regime. If ever there was a clear strength from the old crew it was in this area, both in negotiating the hard ones and getting guys to take less to stay here. Yet they kiss off the guy largely responsible. How the owner can sit there and watch this happen is anyone’s guess.
Second, Gilman had an outstanding relationship with the powers that be in the NHL’s head office. Losing that longevity of rapport for the money they paid Gilman makes no sense, even if they decided that the wizard who signed Derek Dorsett and Luca Sbisa should continue in that role and Trevor Linden will forever be listed among Gary Bettman’s favourites.
It’s not that we didn’t know it was coming, given Gilman had no hand in negotiating anything other than dinner reservations for these guys, but the stupidity of it hits home when it happens.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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