One year after finishing second in the Pacific Division with 101 points, the Vancouver Canucks fell apart in 2015-16.
The Canucks finished with the third-worst record in the NHL last season and exposed plenty of weaknesses on the ice, behind the bench and in the front office.
GM Jim Benning has come under fire for some of the moves he’s made and some he failed to make.
The way the roster is constructed certainly doesn’t help. The Sedins still had solid years, but they’re production dipped last season. Daniel and Henrik, now both 35, are closer to the end of their careers than the beginning. But they’re far from being the problem.
After the Sedins (Daniel had 61 points, Henrik had 55 points), no other player had more than 40 points and only Daniel and Jannik Hansen surpassed the 20-goal mark.
Benning made a couple of big moves via trade and in free agency.
The Canucks shipped Jared McCann to the Florida Panthers for Erik Gudbranson. McCann had just 18 points in 69 NHL games, but when you consider he was only 19-years-old last year, you have to wonder why the Canucks would make this move. Although Gudbranson is a former third overall pick, it looks like he’ll be a physical, defensive defenseman in the NHL.
To make matters worse, Vancouver also gave up a 2016 second-round pick and a 2016 fourth-round pick, while only received a 2016 fifth-round pick from Florida.
At the draft, the Canucks took some heat for selecting Finnish defenseman Olli Juolevi fifth overall. That might not be such a bad pick if he can develop into the impact defenseman the Canucks have been missing for years.
On July 1st, Benning opened up the checkbook and signed 31-year-old forward Loui Eriksson to a six-year, $36 million deal. That’s probably not the wisest move for a team that should be rebuilding. Eriksson’s a solid player, but locking him up through his age-37 season seems like a quick fix.