With the NHL’s trade deadline just over a month away, it appears Vancouver will be looking to add a goal scorer to its roster.
Canucks GM Jim Benning told TSN 1040 (listen to full interview here) about this desire Wednesday evening, with the explanation:
“We work hard every night, but sometimes we have a hard time finishing off our chances.”
In case you’re worried he’s delusional, Benning said he knows scorers are hard to come by. So what if he can’t get one from another team?
“Nick Jensen’s played real well for us in Utica it looks like he’s taking the next step in his development, so maybe we have a guy in our own backyard.”
Benning, who has a strong scouting background, has sounded impressed with Jensen’s play for over a month now. Don’t be surprised to see Jensen called up and given a chance with some strong linemates if someone gets injured.
What happened to Kassian filling that role?
Before the season, many hoped Zack Kassian would help the team score. No need to go into the stats to tell you it hasn’t happened so far.
Benning had nice things to say about him, but given his vacant/invisible play since returning from injury it felt more like a sales pitch for a Q-ray wristband (give me money for this thing that does nothing!) than a vote of confidence.
“He’s working hard, he’s trying to play good defensively. He’s been a little snake bitten. He’s getting scoring chances but the pucks aren’t going in for him. So he’s just going to have to keep working hard and keep playing his game and the games will start coming.”
He’s a big kid, he can handle the puck. He’s a good skater. He can get in the forecheck, use his speed. He can knock guys off the puck and when he gets the puck he can make plays.
The most honest thing Benning said on Kassian was the same complaint he and the coaching staff have had about him all year:
“With the young players, the hardest thing with them is finding consistency in (Kassian’s) game, so I think he’s trying to find that consistency so he plays hard every night and plays the game he’s capable of.”
Unlike his comments on Jensen, Benning sounds unimpressed with Kassian.
Who will the Canucks trade?
Back to the trade deadline stuff – Benning said he’ll be looking to upgrade the team but with an eye on the future – he won’t be trading prospects or draft picks.
Basically any trade will likely involve a Canucks roster player.
Wondering who might go? This tidbit might give a good indication of who won’t be traded:
“At this time all our players with no trade contracts are playing real good and we’re not looking to move any of them.”
One rumour that has been growing all season is the Canucks will look to move a goalie. Benning didn’t shut the idea down. He said if the team could add “a really good young prospect” in a trade for Markstrom or Lack, he’d look at it.
He doesn’t know which goalie he’d move yet.
Quick Bieksa update
For the Kevin Bieksa fans out there (You’re alive! Bieksa’s injury has been like rubbing a magic lantern, causing all of you to appear) – Benning said his injury is a big loss to the team because he’s a leader and one of the “glue guys in the room.”
Bieksa has a broken hand that will require surgery, the Canucks reported Wednesday.
“We’ll get him back at some point,” said Benning, mentioning how Victor Hedman broke his finger earlier this season and was out for six weeks.
Feature Image: Joel Auerbach , Getty Images