Ever since Jim Benning was named general manager in 2014, the Vancouver Canucks have been reluctant to embrace an aggressive rebuild.
“I think that’s where we’re at as an organization,” said Benning, per The Province. “I think I’ve been patient with a lot of these players. They kind of went through and were part of those real good Canuck teams. Now, we need to shift our focus and get this next group of players up and going that we’re going to be competitive and win with.”
For trading Burrows and Hansen, the Canucks received a couple of talented prospects in forwards Jonathan Dahlen and Nikolay Goldobin. Those two will join a system that already included first-round picks Olli Juolevi, Brock Boeser and Jake Virtanen.
Vancouver, currently sitting 28th overall, is also in the running to draft a center like Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier, or Gabriel Vilardi. Combine one of those three with 21-year-old Bo Horvat and the Canucks could have a pretty promising one-two punch down the middle.
To be sure, Vancouver may still be three or four years from being competitive again. The Sedins, 36, are only signed through next season and can’t carry a first line anymore. The way things are trending, veteran d-men Alex Edler and/or Chris Tanev could be traded to further stock the rebuild.
So, there will be growing pains. And lots more losing.
But these last few days have been encouraging for all the fans in Vancouver who’ve been pleading for management (and ownership) to stop trying to make the playoffs and start being realistic.
The future for the Canucks is looking a little brighter today.
It’s pretty far away, but it’s brighter.