VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — As the Vancouver Canucks continue to struggle through the first stretch of this shortened NHL season, there are growing calls from the team’s fan-base to shake things up in the front office.
The Canucks have lost five straight games following a disappointing six-game road-trip, and have lost ten of their first sixteen games overall, sitting fifth out of eight teams in the All-Canadian division. This, despite playing more games than anyone else in the division.
Adam Forsythe from Sportsnet 650 thinks the slow start could cost General Manager Jim Benning his job, especially after a less than impressive off-season that saw the team fail to re-sign coveted forward Tyler Toffoli.
The 28-year-old instead bolted to the Montreal Canadiens, where he’s contributed nine goals and 13 points in just 12 games.
“I think Benning is definitely on the hot seat,” says Forsythe. “His interview last week where he claimed the Canucks ran out of time to sign Tyler Toffoli was just another nail in his coffin. He said seven years to build the team into a contender. Instead, they remain somewhere in the middle ground between rebuilding and going all in. Now the team is in salary cap hell stuck with horrendous contracts, not just this season but beyond, while needing to sign Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes to new deals.”
However, Forsythe says Benning may hold onto his job at least through this season.
“The Canucks ownership isn’t exactly keen on paying two General Managers at once,” he says. “So I wouldn’t be shocked if Benning survives this season, but beyond that his future looks extremely cloudy.”
So, is this season just a write-off, or is it possible for the Vancouver Canucks to right the ship?
Forsythe says that’s a tough question to answer.
“Unfortunately for Vancouver, the team is right up against the salary cap, so the team is limited in what roster moves it can make, and it’s becoming clear the Canucks defensive depth is not good enough to compete with other teams in the North Division,” he says.
However, on the plus side, Forsythe says the team plays 12 of its next 15 games at home, a good opportunity to try and turn things around.