Daren Dreger dropped an interesting nugget on TSN Radio in Winnipeg on Wednesday afternoon.
Dreger: Benning isn’t fully sold on keeping the 5th overall pick & could move it to get back into playoffs. #Canucks https://t.co/yMGJJQLncV
— Grady S (@GradySas) June 8, 2016
Canucks Nation has been buzzing ever since.
Morning Poll Q: Should the Canucks trade the 5th overall pick to make a playoff push? Yes or No @TSN1040 @karen_surman
— Satiar Shah (@SatiarShah) June 9, 2016
The idea of trading away the fifth pick to make the playoffs next season is lunacy. The Canucks need to keep a long-term vision in mind, particularly with their most valuable young assets and the fifth overall pick will represent their most valuable young asset.
Here’s the full quote from Dreger:
“Vancouver is similar. Vancouver likes fifth overall. They know they’re getting a very, very good player, but Jim Benning did not like being part of the non-playoff picture in the National Hockey League. He’s going to do whatever it takes to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
‘Whatever it takes’. Uh oh.
Some of the quotes coming out of Canucks management group are beginning to sound eerily similar to that of the Brian Burke-led Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I think we’re good enough with a couple of additions,” Burke said at the end of the 2009-10 season. “The playoffs are a reasonable goal.”
The Leafs finished with 74 points that season, the second worst record in the NHL. This year, the Canucks finished with 75. Burkie’s Leafs did improve the following season, earning 85 points, but they were still 8 points out of a playoff spot.
Toronto was kidding itself in 2010. They tried to speed up a rebuild and failed miserably.
Burke famously dealt two first round picks and a second rounder to acquire Phil Kessel in 2009. Kessel has blossomed into a very good player, but Toronto would have been better off being patient, keeping the picks, and drafting Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton.
A year earlier, Burke traded a first, second, and third round pick to move up in the draft and select Luke Schenn.
Needless to say, neither trade worked out well.
If you’re going to move draft picks as a rebuilding team, it often comes at your own peril. The Canucks need to be careful or else they’ll be doomed to follow in the Leafs’ footsteps.
That’s the challenge in Vancouver. If you’re trading draft picks, especially high ones, they had better be for the right building blocks. Once you have your building blocks, then you can begin to think about sacrificing young talent for the here and now.
The Canucks should explore all options with regards to the 5th overall pick, including trading it. The question is, what comes back the other way?
Trading a high pick for a player in his late 20s would be a monumental mistake for the franchise. But trading down in the draft to acquire some more future assets? Maybe that’s not so crazy.
That’s what the New York Islanders did in aforementioned Luke Schenn deal in 2008. They traded down from #5 to #7 and were given a second and third rounder from Brian Burke. Then they turned around and dealt the #7 pick to the Nashville Predators in exchange for the #9 pick and a second rounder.
Moving down four spots in the draft got the Islanders three valuable draft picks. That’s quite a haul.
If Benning makes a move like that, you can sell it to fans. But making moves for the sake of making the playoffs next season simply isn’t going to fly.