As per NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, “Hearing VAN owner Francesco Aquilini to meet with GM Jim Benning this afternoon. Neither individual will comment, but from what I understand, this is a meeting to understand why the team is losing and address it, not to make a change at the position.” This comes after comments by Chris Johnston that something has to change in Vancouver after a slow start.
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The Canucks have been dreadful to start the year but it’s difficult to ascertain why. They’ve got their core in place and signed some key pieces this offseason with the expectation that they’d be competitive. Benning made a series of moves to dump some of the excess salary being taken up by depth forwards, added top-pair defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and picked up Conor Garland. The Canucks should be better than their 5-9-2 record.
Johnston noted during his latest podcast that he would be surprised if a big change isn’t coming. He said the obvious solution is to change the coach, even if he’s not sure that’s the right move or will actually fix anything. Still, “I have to feel some kind of change is coming,” he notes. One has to wonder if this meeting between owner and GM doesn’t include some answers and possible solutions, what changes are going to be made?
Johnston said “tune in” yesterday and it wasn’t even 24 hours before news of a meeting came down the wire. The Canucks are under serious pressure to do something and their dreadful special teams play, the stars not producing as expected and other issues are likely to be at the forefront of any discussions.
Acknowledging that they don’t yet have the experience in an executive role, Johnston suggested that the Canucks lean on the Sedins experience as Canucks and star players to help the team navigate their way out of this. At the very least, putting the Sedins in front of the fans will give loyal Canucks’ followers a reason to hold out hope that things can get turned around.
Next: Maple Leafs’ New/Old Plan: Keefe Separates Matthews & Nylander
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