The Vancouver Canucks intend to stay the course. Their goals for next season remain making the playoffs while developing their prospects in a “winning environment.”
That’s not to say the Canucks don’t recognize the need to get younger, because they do. There will be opportunities in 2015-16 for the likes of Jake Virtanen, Sven Baertschi, Frank Corrado, and Adam Clendening.
Just don’t expect a massive roster overhaul this offseason — even after the Canucks lost their fourth straight playoff series, this time to a younger, faster Calgary squad.
“We are committed to our plan,” president of hockey ops Trevor Linden said today. “We started that last year. We’ll have difficult decisions to make this year, as every team does.”
Some of those “difficult decisions” may include approaching veterans with no-trade clauses and asking them to accept a move. GM Jim Benning reiterated his willingness to do that, which won’t do anything to quell speculation about Kevin Bieksa, Chris Higgins, and a handful of others.
But Benning also provided a caveat there: “It’s tough. When you go to a player and you approach him to do that, they have all the leverage and they decide which teams they want to go to. You have to try a figure out a deal with those teams.”
Moreover, Vancouver management has no interest in developing its prized prospects in a losing environment.
“You end up with a team full of real good players that never wins anything,” said Benning. “We want to draft and develop well, but we want our young kids to learn how to play in a winning environment, so they learn the right way to play.”