This is my guide to the Vancouver Canucks come opening night. Of course, come training camp things can change, but as it stands, this is how I see it. Below I will give explanations on why I think this is a solidly built team and why I think we are headed for the playoffs and on our way back to being contenders under Linden and Benning. Also keep in mind the line combos are a mix of what seems to be most likely and what I would like to see. At the end I will explain what I think about the state of the franchise and what I would do going forward. So here we go.
My Roster/Depth Chart (As it stands now)
Daniel Sedin(A) - Henrik Sedin(C) - Loui Eriksson
Anton Rodin - Brandon Sutter - Jannik Hansen
Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Jake Virtanen
Alex Burrows(A) - Markus Granlund - Derek Dorsett
(Emerson Etem, Brendan Gaunce)
Alex Edler - Chris Tanev
Ben Hutton - Erik Gudbranson
Nikita Tryamkin - Philip Larsen
Top 5 Prospects
- Brock Boeser - RW: Future Top Six All-Star 2-way, Scoring Forward
- Olli Juolevi - D: Future Top Pairing All-Star 2-way, Offensive Defensman
- Thatcher Demko - G: Future Starting All-Star Goalie
- Jordan Subban - RD: Future 2nd or 3rd Pairing, Offensive PMD
- Troy Stecher - RD: Future 2nd or 3rd Pairing 2-way PMD
Lineup descriptions and explanation and analysis.
[Line 1] Daniel - Henrik - Eriksson: Our first line that will lead our offense. The Sedins are getting older and need a new linemate that can get the most out of them. That's Loui Eriksson. A lot of people think about him as a 1 dimensional soft scorer like Vrbata, but he's much different. His two way game will complement the Sedins on both ends of the ice and give them an NHL goal scorer to play with. I'm excited for what this first line can bring. If this line can maintain a solid scoring place, which I think they can, the rest of the team will follow suit with our depth. Leadership starts from the front, and this line can get it done.
[Line 2] Rodin - Sutter - Hansen: Sutter takes his mantle as 2c for now, with Hansen on the wing. Hansen showed that he can be a late bloomer and has the ability to play in the top 6 last year. the 2nd line seems to be a good fit for him, especially given his defensive two way prowess, with his relentless forechecking and backchecking. Anton Rodin similarly seems as if he would play best in a scoring role, which would be exactly what he's expected to do beside Sutter and Hansen and is needed. That's a fast line that can defend well, and has a scoring still. Rodin is the wildcard but I mean, he's a 25 year old player. We've seen other older 'rookies' come and perform well from Europe when given the right linemates.
[ Line 3] Baertschi - Horvat - Virtanen: Horvat takes his mantle as 3c, taking pressure of of him to defend against top lines and perform/develop to the best of his abilities. We saw last year that Horvat and Baertschi had beautiful chemistry, and their main problem was simply that they should be playing third line rather than second. As third liners they would be incredible, rather than on the second line when they were just good. They're developing still, and need some pressure taken off. Virtanen adds a speedy imposing forechecking and backchecking presence that can add scoring off the third line. This line is very diverse and has the potential to be extremely impactful if they click. Those three should start building chemistry now. They could be one of the best third lines in the league if they click. I want to see this line in action the most.
[Line 4] Burrows - Granlund - Dorsett: Burrows and Dorsett provide an effective defensive presence of the fourth line. This is a very dependable fourth line that can defend against other teams when used, and not be a liability. This allows us to roll four lines as Willie D wants us too. Granlund is the wildcard on this line, hopefully providing an offensive spark in-between these two. Burrows doesn't think his offensive produciton is finished, if he can pass something on to Granlund and get him going, he will have really done his job for us. (I see Burrows being used more on special teams than on 5 on 5.) Granlund and Burrows are also two guys that can comfortably jump up a line or 2 without feeling out of place when injuries occur.
[Depth] (Etem, Gaunce): Two excellent depth players. Depth players tend to play 60+ games every year Both of these players provide muscle, grit, and two way ability, as well as being very versatile. Etem can play left or right wing anywhere from 2nd to fourth line, and Gaunce can play left wing or center anywhere in the bottom 6. They will get minutes and games quickly once injuries start coming in, and then they will get their opportunity to stick. These two will actually be very important for us when injuries occur as they are definitely not liabilities, but rather bring something different.
[1st Pairing] Edler - Tanev: Our top pairing duo. They've shown they can handle the responsibilities of being the first pairing and leading the defence, all they needed was a little more help against top competition. And they needed more help on special teams so they could focus on their strengths. Edler ont he PP with some PK time, and Tanev on the PK. But by in large, a good group to lead the team into the season when healthy. The biggest thing for this pairing is staying healthy, and having a solid group behind them who can take pressure off. Well now the pressure is coming off, I think they will flourish.
[2nd Pairing] Hutton - Gudbranson: A new revitalized 2nd pairing. Gudbranson is going to do a lot for both Ben Hutton and Chris Tanev. He will provide Hutton with a reliable stay at home, and body bruising presence so he can play more freely and utilize his puck moving ability. Tanev will also in turn have another option who can match up against bigger, stronger forwards like a Lucic in EDM. Hutton will deliver solid crisp passes to up to the forwards to initiate the play and join them on the rush. I'm PUMPED for this pairing. This line together takes massive pressure off the top line being upgrades from what we've had in the past. (Also, Gudbranson helps Jacob Markstrom out a lot being a goalie with little NHL experience. He needs a crease clearing presence he can depend on. Just saying, Gudbranson adds A LOT to this team.)
[3rd Pairing] Tryamkin - Larsen: The second part of Benning's revitalized defensive core. Larsen will most likely get that bottom right spot so we can use his abilities on the powerplay. Tryamkin and Sbisa will battle for who gets that last spot to offer Larsen help in the defensive end. I think Tryamkin will beat him out so I put him here. Larsen get's limited minutes going in and powerplay time, and Tryamkin gets limited minutes and PK time. They can be very useful on special teams, as well as an effective third pairing. This is exactly what you want in a third pairing. Two guys that can play and contribute in other ways. You want guys that still bring something to the team no matter where they play. It's good for moral.
[Depth] (Sbisa): Sbisa is in this spot not because I think he's bad. I think he get's a lot of flack, but is a good player. Not fantastic at anything, but he's a solid third pairing guy that can play either side. I also think he is the most likely guy to get traded before the season begins, and Benning has stated he wants to upgrade the forward group with one more 2nd line winger. If he does pull the trigger on someone, Sbisa is likely going to be the candidate.
[Starting] Miller: Miller will start the season out as the starting goaltender. He is playing with something to prove that he can still go. And I think that with a well balanced and solid defensive core, he can play the way eh did for us when he first got here.
[Backup] Markstrom: Markstrom will get his fair share of games. Miller is getting older, and although can still play well, can't do it for as long of stretches as he used too. Markstrom will get a solid number of games and gear up to take the reigns next season.
Notes about the Lineup
- Our middle 6 will bounce off eachother and act more of a 2A and 2B rather than a 2nd and 3rd line.
- A lot of youth in the lineup led by a few quality veterans. Enough with the tanking comments. We have a lot of youth.
- Benning has completely revitalized and revamped our defensive core.
- Granlund and Burrows provide scoring on the fourth line, but also provide the ability to jump up in the lineup and allow Gaunce and Etem to take their place as well.
- That is a team that can roll 4 lines.
- Third pairing defensmen have important roles, which is a signifier of a good team. You want everyone on the team to feel like they are important and their contributions are needed so they can play at the best of their abilities.
Sedin - Sedin - Eriksson
- Sedins work their magic with Eriksson. They will be responsible for most of the offence generated being first liners and PP guys only. But with Eriksson, as a trigger man, and Larsen as a PP QB alongside Edler, they can be effective. Eriksson will be getting primetime treatment to produce offensive numbers. I think in this situation he can score 30 goals. Eriksson is more multidimensional than Vrbata and is more of a fit with the Sedins. This powerplay can be effective.
- Larsen has the potential to actually be huge for this team if he can show to be a good PP QB. I think Larsen will come to show that he is a quality QB, and might just be our best one. Benning realized the powerplay needed something new and fresh, and he went out and got 2 guys that bring a lot. Larsen helps Edler by being another option and makes space for the Sedins.
Baertschi - Horvat - Granlund
- Horvat Beartschi and Granlund should get the start on the second PP. Baertschi and Horvat showed they were effective on the 2nd PP unit last year. Benning and company believe in Granlunds creativity and offensive ability, especially on the powerplay. Well, if he's going to be a fourth liner, at least give him second PP time. It's a very young powerplay group, but it could be dangerous and more importantly, look completely different from the first group to make it difficult for other teams to prepare for.
- I get bold when I look at the backend. I think Hutton should almost be a lock for the 2nd PP with his puck moving skills. I also think however, Gudbranson, Tryamkin, and Tanev don't bring that much. Tanev would bring the most and add a calming influence, but I think we should be bold. Put someone like Virtanen or Hansen on the point. Both of them have mean clappers. Let them use it off the one timer. Virtanens shot for example, would be deadly if there is a broken play, or a good pass over to him. I'm sure he's working on his accuracy right now. He also has the speed to catch himself and get back on D if anything happens.
Penalty Kill 1
Horvat - Hansen
Tryamkin - Gudbranson
- Horvat pairs up with Hansen on the PK. The two know eachother, have played with eachother, and have showed to excell on the PK. I feel like they are our two best defensive forwards, and would make a good speedy group.
- Tryamkiin and Gudbranson would be the best defensive pairing on the PK. Why? It gives Edler and Tanev a second to catch their breath after playing top line minutes. Two big hulking, mean defensmen to block shots, backcheck, muscle people out of corners, and protect the goalie and crease. It's the spot they both excell at, let them excel, and by doing so, take massive pressure off Edler and Tanev giving them a second to rest.
Penalty Kill 2
Sutter - Burrows
Edler - Tanev
- Burrows won't be happy that his responsibilities dropped to mainly a 4th line and 2nd PK presence. But he will get his minutes when injuries occur and his versatility allows him to hop into any line. But with a full lineup, he is still most likely our second best pure defensive PK winger presence after Hansen. If Sutter is playing second line, then he would do best to play 2nd PK. Sutter and Burrows could be an effective duo, which will add a lot to making our special teams deep.
- Edler and Tanev are both manning the top line. Letting them be the 2nd PK presence allows them to again, catch their breath before they head out there so they can defend better, and play harder. This is especially important for Edler who would most likely also be getting PP time. But also another thing to think about is, they will likely get more second team lineups, and less top lineups on the PK which will go to helping them a lot. They could be fantastic if matched up a little easier.
Penalty Kill 3
Virtanen - Dorsett
Hutton - Larsen
- Now this is where it get's tricky. Sometimes in games you will simply have a long 3 or 4 minute penalty kill. You can't recycle the same two groups or they will get exhausted and exposed. This group is deployed in those situations. The problem is we don't really have a center for the draw. Jake Virtanen has played center before and wasn't terrible on the draw but he could be an answer, providing speed, tenacity, shot blocking, and grit in situations where we are desperate. Dorsett would be the leading veteran presence on the line to get them through the PK.
- Hutton and Larsen would be deployed in these situations due to necessity and not often. They are the last ones and would have to hold down the fort. It won't happen that often but when it does, I think they can handle those limited minutes.
Notes about Special Teams
- A lot of guys can potentially play a role in special teams such as Rodin and Burrows. That second team is wide open for whoever earns it.
- This team has much more specialists than in times of past.
- Different players find themselves in valuable roles.
- Doug Jarvis will also be huge in our powerplay getting better next season. That's 3 new additions to the first unit of the Sedins and Edler. That could really turn things around.
Pro Tweeners. (AHL/Deph Call up players)
- Andrey Pedan (LD): 8th in the depth chart right after Sbisa. Sbisa is the most likely candidate to be traded which could make him the 7th man which I think would be perfect for a guy like him. Speed, physicality, grit, and a whatever I have to do mentality. Great qualities for a depth defensman.
- Alex Biega (RD): Our 9th defensman, who could be 8, provided Sbisa is traded. Plays much bigger than his size which is aways good to see. Can play on the NHL level, but not consistently and for long stretches Perfect guy to lead Uitca and set and example, then hop up for some games.
- Ronalds Kenins (LW): Showed a couple seasons ago that he can be a valuable 4th line presence. Valuable as in actually game changing when playing a 4th line role with other forecheckers. He only has one style, locomotive mode, and when he strays from that, he becomes much less effective. It's hard to maintain that engine and not get injured, which he consistently has done, but if he can play like that in stretches, he can be useful, say at the end of the season when the team needs just a little more juice and spark to get them going.
- Mike Zalewski (C/W): Going to spend most of his time in the AHL. But he is very versatile and can play all 3 forward positions. Plays a good 2-way game and is defensively conscious. Good big body gritty guy that can step into a bottom pairing role if called up.
Notes about Tweeners
- We have a good amount of depth call up guys that can get minutes on a limited role.
- Subban and Stecher could also be players that get call ups in times of injury.
- Richard Bachman is likely to be the goalie call up when injuries occur.
Our very Impressive prospect list.
Top 5 Prospects: A Level Prospects (Potential NHL impact players)
- Brock Boeser (RW): Our number 1 prospect, due to his incredible freshman NCAA season. Last year, Brock Boeser had 60 points in 42 games with north Dakota, making him the highest scoring freshman in the schools history. That puts him in the same conversation as, and actually ahead of other NHL stars such as Travis Zajac, TJ Oshie, Zach Parise, and even Johnny Toews. All doing so while still putting up a plus minus of +40! He has a very effective 2 way game and excells in most facets. When it comes to offense he's the total package, able to score from anywhere, able to make plays, and evidently, abel to defend. He was the best player on the team, as a freshman, and led them to an NCAA title. Even The other guys on this list like Oshie, Parise, and Toews couldn't even do that. Brock Boeser arguably had the best freshman season in the schools history. He is showing day by day that he has serious top 6 and all star potential, and is following the path of other all star NHLer's before him, in fact he's doing better. Next year he will get to wear the A for North Dakota, which nobody has done since Johnathon Toews. He's on a good path. If history is any guide, he will spend one more year in college, dominate and then make the jump. Next year North Dakota will be losing a lot of seniors and quality players, Boeser will be challenged to still lead that team into battle and show his leadership skills. If he can even maintain the same pace without help, he will have shown great improvement. I think Brock Boeser is going to be a household American name one day, and a serious impactful force on our right side along with Virtanen.
- Olli Juolevi (D): A beast 2-way defensman with real offensive abilities and instincts. Great playmaking, shooting, and offensive skills, coupled with great stick work, outlet passing, and defensive skills, combined with excellent skating ability and a 6'2 190 pound frame. It's a common problem with prospects, but the one thing Juolevi needs to do to be a star in this league is put on pounds of lean muscle to his large frame. If he can hit 200 pounds or so, I don't think it's far off to see a player similar to the combined style of a Olli Maata, OEL, or even a Roman Josi. His IQ is his best quality, far and a ways outshining all other defensman, and most forwards in the draft allowing him to cerebrally dissect the play even at high speeds. He was one of the best, if not the best defensman at the world juniors, a tournament that is dominated by 18, 19, and guys turning 20. Benning said in all his years, he has never seen a defensman at his age dominate like he did at the world Juniors, largely due to his IQ and smarts. He also won the memorial cup with the London Knights while playing the role of number 1 defensman. Everyone looks to Marner, Dvorak, and Tkatchuk for their super line, but in order to be that effective, you need a defensive beast, and outlet passing machine like Juolevi. Je didn't look out of place at all, but rather made a major impact scoring 21 points in his last 22 games. He can be a all star defensman for the years to come. He is good enough skillwise to make the league as early as next season, but he's going to need to add on pounds. When he arrives, if partnered with a guy like Gudbranson, he could be an absolute beast.
- Thatcher Demko (G): NHL starting, and possibly All-Star potential. In his junior year at Boston College he crushed all of Cory Scneider's old records, which is a great sign. His size, athleticism and style are almost a carbon copy of Cory Schneider in College, as that is the successful model goaltender BC looks for and Demko may be the best of them. It will take him a while as goalies tend to take a long time to develop and make it to the big dance. But all signs are showing that when he does, he can be a real all star leading between the iron pipes. If you want to win, you have to have a top goaltender, Demko in time looks like he will be just that. Also seems to be a great attitude kid which is huge when you need leadership from the backend. Remember the leadership Loungo brought? we need that again. I would also like to give a lot of credit to Benning for drafting him with our second round pick. Goalies are tough to find, and get in the right spot, and he seemed to snag one as good as any who comes out of the draft. A+ pick if you ask me. No questions asked.
- Jordan Subban (RD): One of the smallest players in the Canucks system, yet one of the most skills. Subban is always shocking people with how god his skating ability is complemented by his impressive offensive skills. Although undersized, his offensive intelligence, shot, playmaking ability etc, are top notch. He may be small but he is incredibly strong, including in his lower base, which helps him play against bigger players. Still very committed to playing defence and to his own end. Could be the next undersized impact defensman in the NHL. Next year he will likely spend one more year in the AHL to get his game at it's top level. But you can tell, he is just itching to get into the NHL. He has the same passion and fire that his brother PK plays with. I would love to see that in the lineup.
- Troy Stecher (RD): Signed as a free Agent, Stecher gets to come home and hopefully make his mark in Vancouver. Skilled offensive PMD with strong two-way skills and intensity. Played the role of number 1 defensman for North Dakota and wont the NCAA title with Brock Boeser. He was a top college free agent on the market, some put him at number 1. This year he will get to play a major role in the AHL and look to develop his pro game. I think he has a chance to be like a Ben Hutton and shock everyone with his skills, even if he doesn't make the team. Overall, a slightly undersized, but effective two-way defensman with puck moving and offensive abilities. Linden has spoken about how he has impressed him so far. Ben Hutton shocked last year, but we also had a lack of capable defenders. By some accounts so far, Stecher seems to be impressing the higher ups and raising his stock. I love a good hometown story, but he looks like he can make an impact as well. We could see him in blue and green soon.
Notes about top 5 prospects
- All of them seem to be close to NHL ready, with the exception of Demko, the goaltending.
- Our top 3 group look like they can be future ALL STARS
- Subban and Stecher are capable defensmen, who one will probably replace Larsen by next season.
- (I didn't include guys like Gaunce, Etem, Granlund, and Tryamkin, because I consider their spots almost already guaranteed.)
- That is a solid group of kids to incorporate. Finally we can see see the collection of talent we have to build a team, with a lot of leadership personality type of guys.
Honorable Mentions: B Level Prospects (Possible NHL role players)
- Guilliame Brisebois (LD): Another year as captain for his team, but has been traded to a better team for next season. Leadership personified, is willing to do anything he has to do to help the team win. Not a big scorer from the blue-line, but a solid 2-way presence with great IQ to be an impact. It's hard to gauge him when looking at stats, but the eye test and coaches will rave about his two-way ability. This year he will be on a better team, and then we will really get to see what he can do.
- Dmitry Zhukenov (C): The Russian born Center who finally made his debut in North American pro hockey. Played well, although not fantastic. But well. Solid offensive instincts and motor to never give up on any play. He could be a top 9 scorer if he adds muscle to the frame as well as continue to work. Next year he should come in fully adjusted, so we can really see what he can do.
- William Lockwood (RW): Speedy player who plays bigger than his size. Plays fast and hard. Shows offensive instincts and ability, but excels more in the work ethic type of game. Similar to a style of a Jannik Hansen or so. A few years in college could do great things for him. Great shot though, which will be a big part of if he can make it. Speed, scoring, and grinding off the wing, he can make it.
- Cole Cassels (C): One miserable season doesn't undue all of Cassels ability that he's shown or take away from his previous accomplishments. Coming off of injury and thrust into the pros, he didn't get a fair shake to adjust properly. This year will be huge, and might be make or break in his development. He still has a chance at becoming a bottom 6 shutdown center.
- Jakob Stukel (LW): I think Stukel has real stealer pick type of potential. Eye popping elite blazing speed mixed with the skill to handle it at that level. What hands. Seems to be an energy offensive spark and a hometown product. Let's go. Needs to add muscle and defensive game, but can potentially still be a speedy scorer. (CDC stop crying, Benning got a high volume CHL elite speed scorer, from Vancouver!)
- Tate Olson (LD): Picked in the 7th round, JB knows how to draft people, Olson is turning heads as someone who could beat the odds and become an NHLer someday. Seems to take large strides in his development every year. Already a competitive two-way force who loves to win. Will play whatever role is needed and plays it well. Good overall game but needs more volume.
- Michael Garteig (G): Quality goaltender and hometown product. One of the top goaltenders in the NCAA last year closely behind Demko. Led his school, Quinnepiac to the championship game.... Where they proceeded to get demolished by Boeser and the North Dakota.... But still, he showed that he has talent in being able to get them there. He could be a quality backup behind Demko for the future.
I think that Benning has built an incredible group of young kids. The only thing he needs to solidify this group in my opinion is a impact center prospect in the 2017 draft. There are a lot of choices for us all throughout the first round. Yes, Nolan Patrick would be awesome, but I am not interested in tanking this season at all with the team we have. To name a few quality centers already turning heads, Gabriel Vilrardi, Kailer Yamamoto, Maxime Comtois, Sterio Mathews, Scott Reedy, Casey Mitelstadt or my favourite, hometown boy, 6'5 200+ pounds already, Michael Rasmussen. That's just to name a few. Benning knows how to draft. Keep our first round pick no matter what, and pick the best center you can. In the meantime, I would not be opposed to Benning using picks to upgrade the team in different aspects, namely the one area we need: a second line left winger.
But all and all, this team is in great shape. The NHL club is good enough to be a playoff team if you ask me, and our group of young kids is definitely one of the best in the league. Our top 5 prospects all look like they will be capable NHLers so far, and our next group of second tier guys look as if they have legitimate shots at making the league as well. Our top 3 group is also very diverse giving us a future all star goalie in Demko, number 1 defensman in Juolevi, and All star winger in Boeser. Subban and Stecher also seem to be capable PMDs as well. That's a fantastic top 5 to be in the pipes with a playoff worthy team.
Overall, I give Benning an A with what he has done with this franchise. He's been a great GM so far. Some notable moves on the team he's built, that he's altered from acquisition.
- Signing Eriksson (He should go a long way in helping the Sedins, and our top 6.)
- Trading for and Signing Brandon Sutter (He's going to be huge for Horvat and this team playing anywhere from Center, and wing from the 1st line to the 3rd line.)
- Signing Rodin (Although he was not drafted by him)
- Trading for Sven Baertschi (Second round pick well spent)
- Drafting Jake Virtanen (Some still question the decision, but we need his strong forechecking, speed, power game on this team. The offence will come. Mark my words Jake Virtanen will be a top 6 scorer.)
- Trading for Markus Granlund (Where would Hunter Shinkaruk fit in this lineup? Markus Granlund is a fit for this team because he has two-way ability, and can play center with his versitility. Then can play special teams, or move up in the lineup in case of injury. I believe in Granlund. His actual track record holds up quite well to Shinkaruk's if not better; and Weisbrod who has saw them both play and worked for them on a daily basis, and has shown he along with Benning are pretty good at evaluating talent. I think Granlund will be pretty much just as good as Shinkaruk, but time will tell.)
- Trading for Derek Dorsett (Expensive trade but as you can see, we need some leadership back there and a fourth line presence who brings leadership every night.)
- Trading for Emerson Etem (Nicklas Jensen wasn't going to play for us. Emerson Etem provides us with a good player than can play either wing and provide a needed presence. And he has the skill to not just play 4th line, but third, or occasionally second.)
- Keeping Brendan Gaunce (for two-way ability. Could be a dependable bottom 6 guy.)
- Signng and Calling Up Ben Hutton (Although he didn't draft him)
- Trading For Erik Gudbranson (McCann was a steep price. And arguably could have been that impact center we need to finish off our prospect pool. However, getting McCann at 23, and Boeser at 23, tells me one thing. Benning can pick early, or late in the first round and come out with a stud. I have 100% faith he will turn that first round pick next year into an impact center to help Horvat... that's if Granlund isn't that impact center himself... Just saying. But as you can see and probably already know, Erik Gubdranson brings a lot to this lineup now and into the future. I see him one day paired with Olli Juolevi on the top pairing, but one can only dream...)
- Drafting Nikita Tryamkin (In the 3rd round! What a steal. In his 10 games with us, he looked like a first round talent. Let's see if he can keep it up.)
- Trading for and Signing Philip Larsen (We needed help on the blue line for our powerplay. He went out and got a guy who can play bottom pairing minutes, and run the powerplay possibly better than any of our other guys. I think Philip Larsen is going to be huge. He rounded out his defensive game in Russia
- Signing Miller (Been a solid veteran presence for Markstrom as he has gotten into the flow of things. That's good for his development. He will play out 1 more year before Markstrom takes the reigns.)
- Calling up Markstrom (Or more importantly, sending him down to the AHL to dominate before calling him up. He let him get high focus minutes, develop his game for another year, then brought him up, and it seemed to have worked.)
- Drafting Boeser (With he 23rd overall. A lot of people, me included said Konecny. Benning stuck to his guns and Boeser looks like a homerun)
- Drafting Juolevi (With our highest pick in a long time, Benning took the best defensman in the draft. Potential to be a OEL, Roman Jose, Olli Maata, type of player with major impact. We lost out on PLD, but you can see just how valuable top defensmen are in this league.)
- Drafting Demko (In the second round. Secured a potential all star starter with our 2nd round pick with good timing to match up with the rest of the group.)
- Signing Stecher (Hometown boy with NHL regular potential.)
- The rest of his drafting with star players who aren't in our top 5. (Man this guy knows how to draft...)