One of the oft repeated claims from those that support GM Jim Benning is that the Canucks have used their draft picks to spot young, promising players. Benning’s background as a scout, the legend goes, has allowed the team to accumulate players that other clubs have missed out on.
And while the Canucks definitely have a strong pool of prospects, with youngsters like Elias Pettersson, who’s carving up the Swedish Elite League and goaltender Thatcher Demko, who’s doing the same in the American Hockey League, one must look at Benning’s full body of work with a critical eye.
It’s been almost four years since Benning was appointed GM of the Canucks, and in that time, the team has finished near the bottom of the league twice out of three years, with a third on its way this April.
The team has already drafted in the top six of the NHL Entry Draft three times under Benning’s tenure. It’s reasonable to expect that any team near the basement of the league for three out of four years is going to have