I cannot make any comments in any Nucks Misconduct comment sections because I lost a bet to Smoboy41 in the Ducks-Kings series. But that won't stop me from voicing my opinion in a post. No sir. That was not part of the bet.
THE HIRING OF JIM BENNING
Oh hell yea! I love this hiring by Trevor Linden. I had posted Benning's resume here on May 10th. It's impressive. The guy has been through all the scouting ranks and service as an assistant General Manager. He's good to go as a GM. Now, I hate to bag on Mike Gillis, because he did some good things. But the constant rumors of ego and other GM's not wanting to do business with him did concerned me. Hell, his track record of dealing with Panthers' GM Dale Tallon were big warning signs, right? Anyway, it's quite clear that Jim Benning will be far more personable to all, or a vast majority of the other GM's, as his past track record shows.That is exciting! You gotta have more options.
I liked Benning's attitude, as seen in the Canucks' introductory press conference. He just seems like a guy who comes across as: "yea, my hair is greased back sideways like this. F*ck you". No sense of humor...ALL BUSINESS. I love that he talked about working with the current Canucks' scouting staff (instead of firing them) and will even scout games in person. Pro-active! Love it.
I liked hearing about Benning sticking with the majority of the Canucks' core players. He talked about their character and let me remind you....that's why Mike Gillis signed them to those deals. Was there ever a word that Gillis said more than "character" or "leadership"? But good God, there are to many no trade clauses on the Canucks team. And speaking of that...I can't rosterbate on Thursday's rosterbation post so Imma doin' it here.
Here is my 2014-15 Canucks roster:
D. Sedin ($7 million) - H. Sedin ($7 million) - Ryan Callahan ($5 million)
Burrows ($4.5) - Kesler ($5 million) - Kassian ($1.1 million)
Higgins ($2.5) - Santorelli ($1.5) - Booth ($4.25)
Matthias ($1.75) - Richardson ($1.15) - Hansen ($2.5)
Archibald ($725,000), Sestito ($750,000)
Hamhuis ($4.5) - Bieksa ($4.6)
Orpik ($4.55) - Edler
Tanev ($1.5) - Stanton ($550,000)
Jonas Hiller ($4.5) Must be signed short-term, but here to push Lack.
Eddie Lack ($1,150,000)
Cap space left: $1,082,389
No major changes.
See who's missing? Jason Garrison. I used a compliance buy out on him. Can I even do that? I think so. I just don't like Garrison's play. I know he was injured for a time there but I wanted more grit and more scoring, so, contradictorily I signed a UFA named Brooks Orpik, who I hate generally, but he is a defensive specialist. The guy is a cruel, shot-blocking penalty-killing machine. I put Hammer back with Bieksa and Orpik with Edler, Tanev with Stanton. That puts most of the offensive onus on Juice and Edler. All lines (defence and forwards can be tweaked day to day of course). Which means:
I kept Booth because he is now in a contract year. He's healthier, and perhaps ready to show us what we have been waiting for. A gamble on my part? Hell yes!
Many want him outta here. I generally do too after sucky seasons. But I want to see what the next coach does with him before writing him off. I know the potential is there. Somebody needs to instill some confidence in him. The new coach will, I am confident in that. Remember, Tortorella said in his last interview that he regretted not working more with E-Money. Edler needs to take the reins and become the top dog on D. He has the skills to do it. If I was boss I would give him one more chance.
Hell yea. With the Sedins? Hell yea! And remember, the coach can tweak the lines and put Kassian or Burrows there if the Sedins-Cally combo shits the bed. Then Callahan moves down to Kesler's line? SURE! Some might say: "well what about Paul Stastny?" Eck.....he's a center, like so many other unrestricted free agents. I don't want to put him on wing and I don't want to pay super-big dollars for him. I want more grit.
Benning suggested that Lack will be ready to be the #1 when the trainers work with him. I am not so confident in Lack's abilities to be the #1 goalie without getting pushed, again, by another goaltender who can be #1. Jacob Markstrom is not that guy yet. Do we want to spend oodles of $$$ on UFA Ryan Miller to be that guy that pushes Lack? NAH! Let's spend less on Hiller, who I think got shafted in Anaheim and is better than given credit for. Whenever Lack is fully ready, we can trade away Hiller and hope by then that Markstrom is ready to rock.
-Shawn Matthias was a big piece of the Luongo trade. I really like his size and drive. He can fluctuate anywhere in the bottom 6.
-Santorelli: Well, he's a center but more diverse than that. I want him signed for nothing much more than $1.5 million on a short-term contract and he can move up and down on lines 2 and 3. Santa can be an integral part of the Canucks' offence. We saw it earlier in the season.
-Hansen is likely never to be a top 6 forward anywhere except on a shitty team. Let's call a spade a spade. So I want to slate him on Line 4, or I want him traded.
-Higgins is line 2 or 3 material, depending on how hot he is. I love the Higgster. I can't shit talk a guy that works his ass off. But....streaky is streaky. It is what it is. On a team that wants to go deep into the playoffs, you want Higgy on line 3 with the possibility of moving up if injuries occur. If Higgins is your bonafide top 6 guy...you're fucked. You lack depth.
I am done with Tom Sestito. Who's with me? I would rather have UFA Shawn Thornton on the Canucks than Sestito. Any goon on the squad has to play better all-round game than Sestito. Sorry Tom. Benning mentioned that he wanted to roll 4 lines and the bottom 6 guys to at least forecheck in the opposing zone and keep the puck there.
Benning and Linden want an up-tempo attack this coming season. I think my lines provide that. I think they provide a balanced mix of skill and grit with any of the lines providing some offence, so I will stick with the 4th line I wanted (above).
Are goons like Sestito even necessary anymore? Nope. Not the way the current NHL is headed. I would even venture to say the goon era is dead. We now only put the retributions for heinous acts in the hands of the refs and NHL disciplinary board. Yay?!
Mike Santorelli was the shiz this past season. Please bring him back, Benning.