CHICAGO — Three months ago, Jim Benning might’ve considered trading defenseman Chris Tanev.
“I’m going to look at all our options, but for us to move [Tanev] off our blue line, we’d have to get a good defenseman back,” Benning said Thursday.
Among Vancouver d-men, only Alex Edler logged more ice time than Sbisa in 2016-17.
“He provided physicality on the back end,” Benning said of Sbisa. “He was a good penalty killer for us. I thought last year, on a game-to-game basis, he was one of our better defensemen. So we’re sorry to see him go. It’s going to be a new opportunity for him and it gives us a chance to kind of reshape our blue line.”
Of course, Benning’s reluctance to deal the 27-year-old Tanev is bound to make people wonder if the Canucks are truly committed to a long-term rebuild. When they traded veterans Jannik Hansen and Alex Burrows, that appeared to be the direction they were finally headed.
Shouldn’t a rebuilding team be less concerned about next year, and more concerned about four or five years down the line?
“That’s a good point,” Benning said, “but I think we’re going to have a lot of young players in our lineup next year, and we want to be competitive in the games. Chris Tanev is still a relatively young player for a defenseman. We’re going to have him for the next seven or eight years. But like I said, if something makes sense and we can get a player back that can play on our blue line, we’ll look at it.”
The Canucks will draft fifth overall tomorrow at United Center, and most expect them to select a center like Cody Glass, Gabriel Vilardi, or Casey Mittelstadt.
But don’t be shocked if they go for a power-play defenseman like Cale Makar or Timothy Liljegren.
“Anytime you can get a high-end offensive defenseman in today’s game, that drives the play for your team, I think that’s something we’re going to look at,” said Benning.