If you’re holding out hope that the Canucks will continue juicing up their rebuild by trading Chris Tanev, don’t hold your breath.
In speaking with Daily Hive, along with a number of other reporters at the NHL Draft in Chicago on Thursday, GM Jim Benning agreed that trading Tanev would be very unlikely.
“I’d say three months ago, we had some depth on defence,” Benning said.
Losing Nikita Tryamkin was clearly a big blow to the organization, and the loss of Sbisa also affects the team’s depth on the back-end, according to Benning.
“[Sbisa] provided us a physicality on the back-end, he was a good penalty killer for us. I thought last year on a game-to-game basis consistently he was one of our better defencemen. We’re sorry to see him go. It’s going to be a new opportunity for him and it gives us a chance to reshape our blueline.”
Benning said the team will look at free agency as an option for replacing Sbisa, although he also referenced young defencemen Philip Holm, Olli Juolevi, and Andrey Pedan as possibilities to step up.
Benning didn’t close the door completely on dealing Tanev, who’s limited no-trade clause kicks in in nine days, but it’s clear that it will take a special trade to pull it off.
“For us to be moving [Tanev] off of our blue line, we’d have to get a good defenceman back.”
“I think we’re going to have a lot of young players in our lineup next year, and we want to be competitive in the games and I think Chris Tanev is still a relatively young player for a defenceman. So we’re going to have him for the next seven or eight years. But if something makes sense and we can get a player back that can play on our blue line, we’ll look at it.”
Apart from the decision regarding Tanev, Benning spoke about Ryan Miller’s future, saying that discussions are still ongoing with his agent, as well as who the Canucks may select in Friday’s NHL Draft at fifth overall. Benning said the team is still looking to add a “playmaking centre” or a “power play defenceman.”