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Jim Benning is counting on the kids to score for the Vancouver Canucks

July 14, 2018, 2:08 PM ET [386 Comments]
Carol Schram
Vancouver Canucks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
If you missed it, Jason Brough of The Athletic posted an article on Friday with quotes from Jim Benning about how he sees the makeup of forward group next season.

The article is behind the paywall, of course. Click here if you have a subscription.

Here's the quote that Brough excerpted on Twitter:




What I think we're dealing with here is another round of what I'll call "Frankie Corrado syndrome." Remember the concern three years ago when the Canucks didn't have enough room on their main roster for Corrado, then he was claimed on waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Corrado's career arc wasn't exactly helped by how he was deployed in Toronto—a frequent healthy scratch in 2015-16 who got into just 39 games. The following season, he saw action in just two NHL games. After an AHL conditioning stint in January, he was placed on waivers—and cleared—in early February before being dealt to Pittsburgh at the trade deadline.

Corrado got into two regular-season games with Pittsburgh in 2016-17, then five games last season—along with 13 healthy scratches—during three separate recalls from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Now 25, Corrado wasn't tendered a qualifying offer by the Penguins, so he's currently an unrestricted free agent. Seven years after being drafted, he has appeared in 76 NHL games.

I think we can now safely say that the Canucks did not significantly weaken their depth chart when they lost Corrado in 2015. Toronto and Pittsburgh have both been teams in need of defensive depth, yet he was unable to find a way to earn regular ice time in either city.

Let's keep Frankie in mind as we go into the new season, with the Canucks' crowded roster. If it turns out that a Brandon Leipsic or even a Markus Granlund gets put on waivers—well, hopefully it's because the team is upgrading and has better options available.

Also—the likelihood of a 26th-place team losing many players on waivers is pretty small. For example, Leipsic got a good opportunity with Vancouver after he was acquired at last season's trade deadline *because* the Canucks had holes in their forward group. Every team has guys at a similar level that they'll be looking to slip through to the AHL before the beginning of the regular season. There's never much movement.

Benning spells out to Brough that he wants to give his young, skilled players an opportunity to grow in situations where they can be successful—and that this summer's signings of Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel and Tim Schaller are designed to provide support for those players.

With the Sedins and Thomas Vanek out of the picture, that opens up a ton of top-six minutes and power-play time. Guys like Leipsic, Goldobin and Elias Pettersson will get their chance in training camp to earn Travis Green's trust and show that they have what it takes to light the lamp consistently.

Leipsic had three goals and nine points in 14 games after he was acquired by the Canucks last season—all at even strength; he saw very limited power-play time. This is always dangerous math, but that would project to about 18 goals and 53 points over a full 82-game schedule—which would have been good for third on the Canucks last season, behind only Brock Boeser and Daniel Sedin. Not bad!

Goldobin also started to find his form after his late-season callup on February 10. In Vancouver's last 25 games of the year, he was scratched just once and went 6-4-10, with two of those goals coming on the power play. That would project to about 20 goals and 32 points over 82 games, which would have put him fourth in goals on last year's team behind Brock, Daniel and Bo Horvat.

Beagle, Roussel and Schaller are not going to fill the spots left vacant by Daniel, Henrik and Vanek. They're going to to be the new Nic Dowd, Derek Dorsett and—take your pick—Brendan Gaunce/Darren Archibald...Markus Granlund?

Coming off a two-year deal that carried a cap hit of $900,000 per season, Granlund did get a nice raise when he signed his one-year "prove it" contract worth $1,475,000 on June 22. Now 25, he went from 19 goals and 32 points under Willie Desjardins in 2016-17 to just eight goals and 12 points under Travis Green last season and missed the last 28 games of the year with an ankle injury.

Granlund never really found his groove under Green, who used him mostly in a bottom-six role.




When all is said and done, Granlund could end up in Utica—or in the top six. He'll get his chance to try to earn it.




Granlund was acquired on February 22, 2016 in exchange for Vancouver's 24th-overall pick in 2013, Hunter Shinkaruk. After clearing waivers at the beginning of last season, Shinkaruk put up 17-15-32 in 63 games with the AHL Stockton Heat in 2017-18.

The Canucks sold high on Shinkaruk: his most productive stretch of AHL hockey came before he was traded, when he had 21-18-39 in 45 games with the Comets in 2015-16.

Shinkaruk has now played through his entry-level contract and is currently a restricted free agent with no arbitration rights. He'll turn 24 in October, and awaits a new deal from the Flames after receiving his qualifying offer on June 25.
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