We all know the flack ( and rightfully deserved) that Jim Benning has received on HF. It was the cool thing to do. Benning is a very polarizing figure in Vancouver, he has his supporters but there is also a large contingency of "haters" that want him fired.
My question is, has your previous opinion of Jim Benning changed recently.
Here are some factors.
1. The Canucks have a chance to have 3 consecutive Calder Finalists on their Team. All of which are drafted by Jim Benning and despite not having a top 3 overall pick. (Boeser, Pettersson, Hughes) when has the last time that has happened?
2. Makar is definitely the current front runner for The Calder this season but Quinn Hughes is right on his tail. Should Hughes win the Calder then the Canucks will go back to back Calder Winners, a feat that hasn't been achieved since 1966-1968 when Boston's Bobby Orr and Derek Sanderson achieved it. ( someone fact check me on this please)
3. JT Miller- The Canucks targeted JT Miller and gave up 1st rnd pick and a 3rd round pick to Tampa. Artemi Panarin is the only player in the NHL this year that has been more productive than Miller in terms of players on new teams. Miller has 46 pts in 49 games and is a top 3 leader in Faceoffs in the NHL. Ridiculous cost controlled salary of 5.25 mil for 3 more years after this year. If the Canucks make the playoffs then that 1st round pick is pick 17th or worse. Who wouldn't give that up for a top line player producing the way he is.
4. Tanner Pearson- 100% Benning goofed up in his early tenure when he trade JAred Mccann for Eric Gudbranson. However Benning then flipped Gudbranson (one of if not the worst Dman in the NHL) and was able to obtain Tanner Pearson from the Pens.
Fun fact, did you know Tanner Pearson has been the leading scorer for the Canucks from November 2019 (30 games or so) to now. Yes more than Pettersson, Boeser, Horvat, Hughes. Pearson has been a staple in the 2nd line and 2nd unit pp and has been relied upon in the closing minutes of the game to steer home victories.
5. Jake Virtanen- You wont find any educated Canuck fan that will argue that Virtanen is the better player to Ehlers or Nylander. However Virtanen has taken a major major step this year. Considered one of Benning's biggest mistake ( though there are lots of rumors indicating that the owner forced his hand in drafting the local boy) Virtanen has shown what his game could eventually become. The 23 year old is having a breakout year. Despite not playing on the Top PP or top 6 role for most of the season, Virtanen is on pace for 24 goals and is playing a very hard, mature, 2 way game to go with it.
6. Canucks are currently 1st place in the division a the All- Star Break
7. Utica Comets are currently 1st place in their division in the AHL. Young guns on the farm are excelling. Guys like AHL rookie Brogan Rafferty who leads the AHL in Dman scoring. 2nd Round draft pick Kole Lind 37 pts in 42 games, and even a major improvement from pronounced bust Olli Juolevi who has turned it on recently and now has 20 pts in 32 games while playing top pairing role. Justin Bailey 24 years old who is a Benning signing also has 3 hat-tricks in the last 4 games. Goalie Mikey Dipietro is 13-5 as an AHL rookie.
8. Prospect Pool- Once considered one of the best in the league, some of the recent graduates has left the prospect pool in the top 10-15 range. However, Benning has still managed to find some interesting gems.
* Tyler Madden ( top 5 in NCAA goals)
* Kole Lind
Recent Graduates: Hughes, Gaudette, Demko
Big picture, yes Benning has his blemishes on his resume, and so does all the other GMs but its tough to argue with those results. I'm curious to see the current perception of Jim Benning is.