Canucks Trade Rumours Are Heating Up

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Image: Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

With the Canucks on a five-game losing streak, the rumour mill got churning yesterday on a possible trade with the Boston Bruins after TSN’s Darren Dreger threw out the possibility.

According to Dreger, Boston GM Pete Chiarelli and Jim Benning are talking (probably Skyping, because they miss each other), with Boston looking for a top-six forward.

Today, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman added some fuel to the fire, saying one possible name being discussed is Zack Kassian.

Considering how much both Willie Desjardins and Benning believe Vancouver needs a stronger “net-front presence” to help them score goals, trading Kassian doesn’t make much sense. His massive, immovable frame and soft hands are exactly what the team needs to plant on top of the opposition’s crease to help the power play. Still, Friedman, unlike a couple of older morning sports radio show hosts, doesn’t make stuff up.

So what does Benning have to say on all this? Well, he was on Scotty Rintoul’s TSN 1040 show last night.

“I talk to all the managers in the league weekly and biweekly just to find out what’s going on around the league, but we’re not close on any sort of deals around here. I’m happy with our group so we’re not talking trades with any of the teams.”

Of course, if Benning was close to making a deal you wouldn’t expect him to tell the media. “Not talking trades with any of the teams” is hardly even possible.

Scotty pressed, asking if Benning is exploring any ways to improve the team.

“I’m always going to have an open mind. If there’s something out there that I think makes sense that makes us a better team now and in the future that we can do, I’ll definitely do it, but there’s nothing like that going around right now.”

The other most talked about topic in Canucks-land these days is goaltending. At $6M a season, the Canucks are paying a lot for Ryan Miller’s .902 save percentage (his 16 wins are now tied for fifth-best in the league).

Benning addressed this too, with Rintoul’s prompting.

“Well, I think (Miller’s) played well for us… Sometimes with goalies you come to a new team and they play a different style than you’re used to – the shots and the opportunities against – you’ve got to get used to the style the team is playing. I’m not making any excuses for Ryan but I think our goaltending’s been good in most games…”

“To me the thing that matters is when the game is on the line, he makes big saves to help your team close out games, and for the most part he’s done that for us this year.”

For the most part? Sounds like Benning, even with his protect the players attitude, knows there’s room for improvement there.

Are the Canucks close on any trades? If they are, Benning’s not going to tell us.

Does he think Miller’s playing well? If he doesn’t, Benning’s not going to tell us.

Back to the rumour mill, I guess.

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Omar A has worked for 24 hours, the Canadian Press and TSN. He graduated from the Journalism program at the University of King's College
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