MJDDawg Posted May 26, 2017 Share Posted May 26, 2017 Hmmmmmm, I guess he's counting on our existing picks to draft the quality this team still needs. But I do understand the mentality of not wanting to become the pre-McJesus Oilers too. Jim Benning believes he can sell unrestricted free agent Ryan Miller on returning to the rebuilding Vancouver Canucks. The general manager’s tougher sell is convincing a polarized populace on the merits of a 37-year-old goaltender backstopping a team that’s years away from being an annual National Hockey League playoff participant. Especially with the 27-year-old Jacob Markstrom embarking on a three-year, $11 million US contract extension and pining to play more than 25 games next season. There would be numerous backup options and prize prospect Thatcher Demko gets another development season in the American Hockey League. Makes sense, right? However, the Canucks general manager rationalized his goaltending plan — and a reluctance to trade the coveted Chris Tanev or the aging Alex Edler — by playing the competitive card. Benning believes you can’t throw youth to the wolves and that competent goaltending and stability on the back end will ensure there’s a product worth watching next fall. That’s somewhat debatable. The approach can be considered a small rebuild because a bigger one would mean moving on from Miller, trading Tanev for a first-round pick and a prospect and seeing what Edler might fetch. But suggesting there’s an appetite for bolder moves also means more vulnerability on the ice and that hasn’t been lost on the hockey operations department. “As we’re transitioning these young players into our lineup, I feel that if we have solid goaltending on a night-to-night basis, we can be competitive,” Benning said Thursday during a break in the club’s pro-scouting meetings. “There’s no worse feeling than trying to develop young players and get them up and going when you know you don’t have a chance to win. Ryan and Jacob have a healthy relationship because they’re competitive and respect each other. “We have something to offer Ryan that he already knows. We’ve got some positives for him and if that’s the route we go, that’s why we’re doing it.” That route is offering Miller a better overall environment here than in Anaheim, Los Angeles or San Jose. He is comfortable in the room and the city, can challenge for the starting job and probably bag better money and suitable terms — even a year-to-year consideration at between $3-$4 million annually — than the Ducks, Kings and Sharks. Those clubs have designated starters in John Gibson, Jonathan Quick and Martin Jones respectively, but some uncertainty with durability, backup options and salary-cap concerns. The Ducks have $2.3 million in space and because Gibson, 23, has had a run of soft-tissue setbacks and inconsistent play — and Jonathan Bernier and Jhonas Enroth are UFAs — Miller’s name has been mentioned. But would Anaheim pay Miller more than its starter to be a backup? Doubtful. And because Quick has six more seasons at an annual $5.8 million hit, the available $10.8 million in cap space has to be split between three restricted free agents led by Tyler Toffoli, who had 47 goals the last two seasons and was a $3.25 million cap hit. In San Jose, much of the $14 million in cap space could be eaten up if the Sharks commit again to UFAs Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. And for Miller, it’s going to be about the money, the opportunity and familiarity. “I like that he played in Buffalo and Vancouver essentially, and had a stop in St. Louis (2014 trade deadline),” said Miller’s agent Mike Liut, who will talk contract with Benning at the NHL draft combine next week in Buffalo. “The bouncing around is something you have to do if you want to keep playing, but he (Miller) draws an association (with a city) and wears it with pride. That’s kind of lost today.” What isn’t lost on anybody is why so many general managers call Benning to ask about acquiring the 27-year-old Tanev. http://theprovince.com/sports/hockey/nhl/vancouver-canucks/ben-kuzma-rebuilding-canucks-wont-shop-miller-tanev-or-edler Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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