Kukla's Korner Hockey
Jim Benning, GM of the Vancouver Canucks, talks with the guys from Sportsnet and discussed their draft and plans for free agency among other topics.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
As for the Kesler trade, the more we think about it, the more we like it for Vancouver. There are a lot of hard miles on Kesler, who may never again be the guy who dominated Nashville and San Jose, then limped through the rest of that Stanley Cup Final in 2011 like the consummate thoroughbred. Surgical procedures have robbed Kesler of the ability to be that guy anymore — at least for prolonged stretches — and perhaps his medical file is the primary reason for a return from the Ducks that came in a tad short of what many of us expected.
And we forget that a player of Kesler’s experience has a long track record, which in this player’s case would hurt the Canucks’ position almost as much as his short list of destinations did.
Here’s the deal: Kesler wasn’t well liked by many of his teammates, and Anaheim GM Bob Murray’s intelligence would have taught him that. We’re willing to say that on the record, even though NHL players do not go on the record with confirmation of something like that.
The guy is prickly, and by my contacts within the Canucks organization, that attitude went well beyond his dealings with media and stretched to team employees, few of whom will be sad to see this transaction finally get made.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Judging by all the cap room the Canucks are generating, it’s becoming increasingly clear that a goaltender is going to be included on the shopping list of general manager Jim Benning.
The difficulty here is that by moving Jason Garrison for nothing in the deal with Tampa, Benning will need one, and a good one. What the strength of this team was, that anyone could always count upon when it was playing right, was the back end. They were solid back there, with a great top five that was threatening to become a solid top six with Frank Corrado getting better. But with Garrison’s departure for nothing but cap space, there probably is going to be a need now to get more depth in goal, given the way the back end looks at the moment. Yes, Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa, Chris Tanev and Dan Hamhuis comprise a very solid top four, but after that the depth drops off quicker than the Marianas Trench.
added 3:26pm, Tampa Bay press release is below...
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The Canucks had been targeting the Ducks’ other first-rounder, 10th overall in Friday’s draft, a pick that originally belonged to the Ottawa Senators but went to Anaheim last year in the Bobby Ryan deal. The Ducks held firm there, believing that they can get a quality prospect at that early juncture in Friday’s draft.
From the Canucks’ perspective, it is a good starting point for new general manager Jim Benning. Sbisa has the potential to be a top-four defenceman in the league, but is mostly known for his defensive work. He was limited to only 30 regular-season games this season because of injury, which paved the way for Lindholm to emerge. The year before, he played almost 20 minutes a game for the Ducks.
Bonino was Anaheim’s third-leading scorer last season, behind Getzlaf and Corey Perry and was second on the team in power-play goals with seven. He generally played on the first power-play unit, but in the playoffs, was used mostly as the team’s fourth-line centre at even strength, coach Bruce Boudreau flipping him and Mathieu Perreault frequently up and down the depth chart, depending upon the match-ups he was looking for.
With an extra pick in Friday’s draft, the Canucks could theoretically use it as a means of moving up from the No. 6 spot in the draft order, which they currently hold.
Kesler is the best player available in Philadelphia, a point driven home every time you hear someone suggest Jason Spezza is a backup plan.
The idea of Spezza leading a Western Conference team through the playoffs is laughable, which is probably why both Chicago and Anaheim have continued to pursue Kesler.
-Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province where you can read more on the Canucks trying to trade Ryan Kesler.
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
Not exactly thrilled with offers the Canucks have seen so far, general manager Jim Benning sent a rather strong message that his team is willing to wait out the draft, and beyond, before trading Kesler.
In fact, Benning suggested it may be more beneficial to sit on him and hold out until this season’s trade deadline.
“When you’re dealing with a player of his stature, at the trade deadline is when you can really do well because (there are) those teams that feel they’re one player away that makes a difference to win,” Benning said.
“You could possibly get more (then) than you can in the middle of summer when they’re not playing hockey.”
So if Kesler wants out so badly, he may have to expand that precious list of teams to which he’s willing to go. With a no-trade clause in his contract, he has some say.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
If you believe the reports the Vancouver Canucks have contacted the agents for Dave Bolland and goalies Jonas Hiller and Ryan Miller, you have to wonder what the green brain trust of the Vancouver Canucks is thinking these days.
Not sure whether it escaped their notice, but only the Buffalo Sabres scored fewer goals than their team last year — and if the goal is to produce uptempo, entertaining hockey, perhaps looking at goaltenders and an overpriced checking centre with a concussion history might not be the highest priority.
Perhaps marshalling the forces toward producing some offence by way of getting some top-six talent and leaving the coach to rehab the lame performance of the back end last year might be a more efficient way to go....
What Benning, Desjardins and perhaps even Trevor Linden don’t seem to be fully grasping here, if this is in fact the direction they intend to take this team, is how genuinely boring the games were last year.
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