VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Canucks are finally through their torturous 56 game season, finishing in last place in the North Division with 50 points.
Thursday marks the official start of the off-season, one that’s sure to be busy. But whether or not that busy off-season includes changes to the front office remains to be seen.
Vancouver has failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in six of the past seven seasons, but Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman reported this week Jim Benning will be back for an eighth season despite making the playoffs just once in his tenure.
Not sure what to expect for a timeline of announcements from the Canucks, but word tonight is Jim Benning was given indication in the last 24 hours that he is to return.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 19, 2021
Head coach Travis Green has been terse this week when discussing his future. He’s out of contract in June, with several coaching vacancies now open around the league, including down the road in Seattle.
Benning has said multiple times over the past few months that he wants to keep Green in the fold. Green has been the Canucks head coach for the past four seasons.
What of the players?
Two big contract negotiations loom for restricted free agents Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson, who now are both represented by power agents J.P. Barry and Pat Brisson.
Those two are due sizeable raises from their entry-level deals. Both Hughes and Pettersson’s salary cap hits came in under $1 million USD this past season.
The Canucks hold the ninth-best odds (5.4%) for the upcoming NHL Draft Lottery, which falls June 2. Buffalo has the best chance of winning the first overall pick at 16.6 percent.
Vancouver is virtually assured a top-10 pick in this year’s NHL Draft, slated for July 23 and 24.
Speculation season is here, and like off-seasons past, it’s sure to be a wild ride.