The Vancouver Canucks still have a hold on a playoff spot, but after losing three straight games and 10 of their last 15 contests, their position has become tenuous. If the Canucks are counting on reinforcements to help them out though then they might be disappointed. While a trade is always a possibility, GM Jim Benning cautioned that there are significant limits to what he will do for the sake of a short-term upgrade.
“I talk to other general managers in the league and have a feel for what’s going on,” Benning said, per the Vancouver Sun. “But if we decide to do something, we’re not giving up future prospects or draft picks. We’re going to do everything we can to give this team a chance to compete for a playoff spot and once we get in, try to win. Our focus there hasn’t changed — but with an eye to the future, too.
“We’re not going to be moving any more picks.”
The Canucks’ recent decline can be tied to their offensive woes. They have scored just 20 goals in 12 of their last 13 contests, with the omission being a 7-1 outburst against the Arizona Coyotes on Dec. 22. That contest didn’t provide the Canucks with any sustained success and is now firmly in the rear-view mirror.
Benning has become concerned about Vancouver’s recent struggles when it comes to finishing off scoring chances, but at the same time he’s encouraged that those opportunities are being generated in the first place.
“We’re playing the right way,” the general manager added. “We play hard, play a 200-foot game.”
In light of that, he passed on the opportunity to criticize his players over their recent record.
“This is not unexpected,” Benning said. “If we’re working hard and competing and doing the things we’re capable of doing, I still believe we can be a playoff team. Going into the season, our expectation and plan was to compete hard every night and get back to competing for a playoff spot, and develop our young players along the way. So far, we’ve lived up to that.”