Of course President Trevor Linden and General Manager Jim Benning were going to have to answer tough questions from season ticket holders at Rogers Arena today. The non-eventful trade deadline would likely be the biggest fuel to the fire.
Omar A at Vancitybuzz.com provides a lot of the most important quotes here, and I'm going to "steal" some of those...or quote from his quotes...you know what I mean. These quotes are not in chronological order.
This management team is not going to tank on purpose.
"We want to stay competitive while we’re transitioning our young kids, our next group of core players.
We don’t want our fans to come to the game and get blown out every night so we can get a top-five pick every year. We want to be competitive and have our kids develop in meaningful games, so we’re trying to walk the fine line of being competitive and drafting and developing our players to get them up and going."
On acquiring Derek Dorsett Linden said:
"(Dorsett) is a foundational piece who supports what we’re trying to do," he said.
"He comes to play every night and battles his ass off. We’ll have that in our dressing room any time."
On trading Zack Kassian and a pick for Brandon Prust:
"......you do understand what we traded and why we did that, right? We were trying to alleviate ourselves some money we knew was going to be a problem.
"Last summer there was so much criticism for those three moves (Lack, Bieksa, and Prust), but looking back at those moves, as much criticism as we took, I would do any one of them again. We had to give a fifth round pick for them to do that (trade Kassian for Prust). We wanted to get out of that situation."
Remember, that Kassian situation was crap. Canucks players were surprised that Benning even got Prust in return for the controversial Kassian. I think Kassian's actions and destinations since speak volumes to that.
In regards to stories of management getting in the way of deals at the trade deadline, I'll just quote Omar from his piece:
Linden said he talked to ownership one week before the deadline, indicating the best deal on Hamhuis may be with Dallas, and he was told to do whatever was right for the team.
Linden said none of the ownership group was in the building on trade deadline day, he didn’t talk to them about the trade, and he had full autonomy to make any decisions.
On not trading Dan Hamhuis to Chicago and Elliote Friedman's reporting, Linden said:
"I talked to Elliotte and I challenged him on that because Chicago wanted Andrew Ladd plain and simple. If they wanted Dan Hamhuis they would’ve traded for him. I don’t think you can dispute the fact teams have a priority list."
With approximately $17 million more spending money for free agency this summer, this is where we'll see some big changes. Benning addressed this:
"We’re not going to overspend. We’re going to offer deals in free agency we think are fair at the term we like. We’re going to be prudent with our money but we’d like to add some players to complement the young group we have."
There is so much more coverage in Omar's article in regards to why Jannik Hansen was not traded, the difficulty of finding a top 4 defenceman, other behind the scenes comments about the trade deadline and more. Be sure to check it out here.
So much distrust and hate going on for Benning and Linden....I find it annoying. They had talked about the difficulty of moving some key players like Hamhuis and Vrbata because of the no trade clauses negotiated into their contracts. Yea, that is a problem for sure. Benning said:
"Going forward, we’ll move our assets before they become diminishing assets. We have to be careful giving out no trade contracts because then they become harder to move."
That, in a sense is an admittance of error by Benning. Gillis negotiated Hamhuis' contract. Benning gave Vrbata the NTC. It was only a 2-year deal, mind you. Vrbata was excellent in year 1 and has been lousy this season.
A couple things come to mind right of the bat when I read that:
1. It's so easy to judge Canucks' management now, in tough times. Vrbata WAS gold last season. How in the hell were they to know he would be so bad this season?
2. Vancouver has rarely been able to attract super free agents to this market. Gillis had to offer Mats Sundin 2 years at $10 million per season to play here. For many reasons, top talents don't want or choose to play here unless management overspends. Judging by the Vancouver crap climate and the fanbase all over the web....can't say I blame them.
I wonder what happens with him now. He is likely going to free agency if not traded at the draft. I still think he re-signs here for less dollars on July 1.
Can you really see a guy like Trevor Linden accepting the concept of crapping the bed on purpose just to get the first overall pick? You now, the guy the always gave 100% on the ice? The always-competitive Trevor Linden? KAMAN! I am sure Benning is the same way. I'm gonna take them at their word on their refusal to tank. I know, Linden accepted the fate of going from team legend as a player to a shit-on scapegoat as the team president, but I am more inclined to trust the words that come out of Linden's mouth when he speaks.
Linden spoke about fans needing patience at the end of the meeting. It is the truth. These guys are crafting the team in their image. The are rebuilding or retooling on the fly., (the wording doesn't really matter.) I'm down with that. I'm seeing the results with guys like Markstrom, Horvat, Virtanen, McCann, Hutton and more making impacts on this team. Looking pretty good to me! The youth cupboard is being refilled on the fly, which is just what this management team has stated that they wanted to do since they took over.
So what did season ticket holders think of the meeting? Check out Jeff Patterson's report here.
What the?? A Canucks-Friends mashup? I'll leave you with this: