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The Detroit Model

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As we wait for the other shoe to drop on spending a bit more of the Cap to get a top six left winger, and before the Young Stars kicks off the cycle of another season, let's revisit some old narratives. First up, The Detroit Model...

Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

I do think reset is a better descriptor for what Jim Benning and Trevor Linden are up to.  Perhaps "refresh" might be better.  And I am perversely enjoying the pearl clutching from the various media types of "why are you signing Eriksson, WHY???!!  Aren't you REBUILDING?"

Linden and Benning get that the market they are in is not known for their patience.  We may talk a good game on "strip it down and get the top pick", etc, etc, but not only is that not an absolute with the vagaries of the lottery, but it forgets one very salient point.  Like our fans, our owner likes to win.

There is nothing wrong with that.  Not if you can scout well, and get good players with your picks.  For all the whining and kvetching some quarters of Canuck Nation, ( sorry Jim, we seem to hate all out GM's. Well, except for Pat Quinn ), JB has definitely got a great head start on having a very deep system.  Kind of like a certain franchise from Michigan.

It was Mike Gillis who professed to be following "The Detroit Model". ..Twenty five times in the playoffs buys a lot of credence, because the system is obviously doing well.  You can leave a player in the minors too long ( according to some ) to season them.  You get trusted on trades.  No one is ever continually questioning your mix of youth and veterans.  Sure, they may not be Cup challengers every year, but the potential to be one is what waxes and wanes, not making the playoffs, or whether you should trade the 5th pick, or your best defenseman for "scoring".  It seems our media is always trying to "better deal" players out of here, instead of just, you know, reporting!

Two examples on the current team, ( though, I bet if you go back to the media coverage at the time, everyone loved the Cam Neely deal ). The first one, you can make the "age argument" on, one Jannik Hansen.  After the best season of his career, after showing that just playing up and down the lineup, and after developing into more and more of a leader on the team, what does the media do, relentlessly, since before the trade deadline?

Exactly.  I have never gotten that.  Sure, I get the making an asset more valuable and trading up ( though trading "up" is always relative, most the time. ) , but this guy was a 9th round draft pick, and all he has done is become a valuable, self made NHL player.  Why now, on the cusp of that, do we better deal a guy that truly wants to be here, deserves to be here, and has earned it ?  Detroit would never do that to ( guy that got face smashed ).

The other is more recent.  Botchford made the point in this article right here.  ( Yankee Canuck posted on it here ) Trade Christopher Tanev ?  Again, consider that.  Hansen's deal is pretty good.  In the new NHL, as an advanced stats Jedi and a freaking awesome defenseman already, ( check here how much the Canada teammates loved him ), Tanev's deal is very, very good.  I get that you could trade him for something VERY good too ( Botch intimates Tanev and the 5th would have gotten Subban.  I am going to insist they would have asked for one more pretty good prospect or player as well ), but, again, why not just let the guy grow here.  He just signed not so long ago.

Sure, puck media needs something to talk about.  And the same thing happens in a hockey mad market like Detroit as well.  Winging It to Motown gets just as passionate as Nucks Misconduct, I am sure.  And perhaps it is just the  inferiority complex we "No Cups" fans have in comparison to an Original Six franchise.  Heaven knows the origins of Canucks Tea Party types can be found on a direct line to that one simple fact.

And maybe Jim Benning has not earned the space to operate that the Detroit braintrust has. ( Holland, Nill, etc deserve respect for their accomplishments.  ) But he has started a pretty good base, and there is more here to be excited about than not.  The fact that they want to be competitive and make the last Sedin Years be ones with as much winning as possible is a good thing, not a bad one.  Those reasons I have outlined before, but it basically boils down to the fact that this city probably could not handle a total "tear it down" rebuild".  ( never mind that they are, arguably, already on their path without having to trade anyone of value for prospects.  That kind of thing can change, of course.  Get back to me next March, if they are 16 points out, and we can talk better then... ).  Look at how many empty seats occur at Rogers with just a little losing.  Our owner does not like spending to the max and getting empty seats.  Plus, they want to win, badly.

Again, not a bad thing.

So, yes, the Detroit Model was a nice way to encapsulate a Gold Standard, and perhaps in the cycle of the team building that occurs, it is now obsolete.  The Canucks of Gillis were way more successful as far as records go.  But they also tried to draft better than their predecessors, for what that is worth. Obviously they were not successful enough to keep doing it.  Jim Benning is better for a team at this stage anyhow, where scouting is needed.  And yeah, I am guilty right here of just pumping out a little content in a slow time.

But just consider this when the next trade happens, of the next pick that you don't agree with is broadcast.  Our GM is a lifelong scout, who has done more to create the conditions for "The Detroit Model" than Mike Gillis, or any other recent GM.  There are prospects on the team, in the system "overcooking", ( both in Utica and the NCAA ), and there is a big picture at work here.  Let it happen.  The Canucks are not the Red Wings right now.  But the same "having a plan" credo is in play.  The same emphasis on drafting is there.

This is going to be a season of change, and one that no one really knows what will happen.  One only need listen to the national media and their "WHY YOU NOT TEAR IT DOWN,WE DONT UNDERSTAND!!" hysteria about wanting to make the playoffs to get that.  But isn't wanting to "win" always a good thing? The Oilers went the other way ( and maybe this is finally the year they make "the step" ), and we all saw how that worked for them.  There is no blueprint there.  Sure you can lose a helluva lot, but you are not even guaranteed the top pick for it.

Be like the Red Wings.  They like to win while they rebuild, retool, re-whatever.  That's a good thing.