It is no secret, the Canucks are nowhere near as good as they were when they won back to back presidents' trophies back in 2011 and 2012. They have done nothing in the past four seasons to make us think otherwise. Poor drafting and team management has led the Canucks to the inevitable. That is of course, the dreaded rebuild. The time frame for the rebuild falls in sync with the Sedin's remaining contract years. They are both signed until 2018-19, where they are set to become unrestricted free agents at the age of 37. They are still very talented and competitive guys, but they have not proven much in the playoffs. The core of the team appears weaker and weaker each season. Players like Alex Edler have fallen off the map and lost significant trade value due to recent struggles and lack of production. As it is now, the Canucks are likely going to ride out all these contracts and focus on drafting. The core of the team should keep them somewhat competitive in the West. Whether or not they make the playoffs is unsure, but the bigger picture is the future of the franchise. Hiring Jim Benning was a move in the right direction. Despite his lack of trading ability, he places significant importance on drafting and developing. With that mindset, he will only improve the Canucks over the long term. The trades he has made were a tad disastrous if you compare how much we gave up and how much we got back. Let's remember though, this is Benning's first year as GM and those moves will serve as a learning curve going forward. Nonetheless, moving forward the Canucks have some good young talent making their way through the system. For the first time in a while, the Canucks appear to be drafting properly. We wasted basically all of our picks from 2007-2012. We picked up Scroeder, Jensen, and Hodgson in that time; None of which have panned out into consistent NHL players. Since that time, things have looked up. In 2013 alone, we picked up Horvat, Shinkaruk and Jordan Subban. Horvat has already proved himself at the NHL level, and the others continue to improve. In 2014, they selected Virtanen, McCann and Demko; All of which should get a crack at the NHL roster in the next 2-3 years. If Benning keeps focused, he should be able to create a thriving farm system. Both he and Trevor Linden have made it clear that development of young talent will be at the forefront of the teams' success. As a Canuck fan, I expect some mediocre hockey for a few seasons. As arbitrary as it may seem, I think the success of the Utica Comets is far more important at this point in time. We have some serious talent coming up that needs to be properly developed. I believe that Jim Benning will make sure that the young guns playing in Utica have every opportunity to succeed.
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