Jim Benning recently gave a detailed interviewed to Thomas Drance of The Athletic which was published earlier today. I’ve read the article and here is the important information Benning disclosed to the fan base.
- He is more likely to use internal players in the organization who’ve earned NHL looks this season for depth rather than trade for new depth players at the Trade Deadline. He cites Justin Bailey, Zack MacEwen, Taylor Graovac, Kole Lind, Brogan Rafferty, Olli Juolevi, Guillaume Brisebois, Ashton Sautner and Jalen Chatfield as players who’ve earned NHL playing time this season. He also mentioned that Reid Boucher, Sven Baertschi and Nikolay Goldobin have played well and are also depth call-up options.
- He is not afraid to make moves at the Trade Deadline but he won’t trade any of his good young players away in a deal. If he makes a move it will be a lateral move of some kind. He is also concerned that if he makes a move he could ruin the excellent chemistry the team has right now.
- He says the franchise is well-positioned under the Salary Cap going forward. They have no long term anchor contracts and a large number of contracts will be expiring in the next couple of years.
- He states that there are five young prospects he would like to get signed this summer and get them started in their professional careers in Utica next season. The plan is to have young developed Utica players replace veteran Vancouver players as future seasons go by.
- He predicts that every season from now on going forward one or two prospects will make the NHL roster replacing current players on the NHL roster. While he doesn’t explicitly say it, it sounds like spending big money on free agents on July 1st from now on is a thing of the past.
- He says the team wants to sign Jacob Markstrom. They want him back. The young players on the team see Markstrom as a leader. He will do everything he reasonably can to re-sign him. But Markstrom is an unrestricted free agent and if they can’t do it they have Thatcher Demko and would then decide whether to replace Markstrom either internally or externally.