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article imageOp-Ed: Unwise Canucks GM Benning ignored offers on Miller to trade Lack

By Marcus Hondro     Jul 10, 2015 in Sports
Vancouver Canucks fans did not want Eddie Lack traded, period. There was a website devoted to begging GM Jim Benning to keep him and after Lack was traded there was anger. That anger has grown with news the Canucks could have dealt Ryan Miller instead.
Benning: offers on Miller
The "could have traded Miller" revelation came Thursday night at the NHL team's "Summer Summit" town-hall meeting. During the Q and A part of the meeting a fan asked if Benning and his brass had given any consideration to trading Ryan Miller instead of Eddie Lack or Jacob Markstrom (who they retained).
“We could have moved Ryan Miller,” Benning told the assembled. “There were teams calling on Ryan Miller." The GM, popular after his first summer with the team last year, not so much now though, did not say what those offers were or whom they were from.
Judging by the reaction it's clear the Canucks' faithful believe Benning fumbled the puck on this one. Boos rained down on the GM and an "Eddie" chant was taken up by the crowd. All of which should feel nice if you're Eddie Lack, who is now a Carolina Hurricane. If you're Benning, team president Trevor Linden or Ryan Miller — maybe not so nice.
Here's this: unbelievable. You have a goalie in Miller who has two years left on a $6 million per contract who was good, but not great. In Lack you have a goalie who, after a mediocre start, went 14-3-3 in the stretch to lead the Canucks into the playoffs when Miller was injured. Further, the much cheaper Lack has but a year left on a $1.15 million contract.
Miller v. Lack
Miller's save percentage was .911 over 45 games. Lack's was .921 in his 41 games, that including getting shelled in a couple of games on the road where his teammates were tired and played poorly. Further, Lack is 27, Miller 34 and Vancouver is in a transitional phase and have as much chance of making the playoffs next season, much less winning the Stanley Cup, as do the defunct California Golden Seals.
Or even the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The offers for Miller that Benning fielded surely would have included at least what he got for Lack, a third round draft pick this season and a seventh rounder next season. To shed that unpalatable contract and free up space for a skater who can help, and get to keep the cheap and ever-improving Lack, would have been just what the doctor ordered for Vancouver.
That Benning and his management team did not take advantage is unfathomable. It sets the franchise back. They could have grown their two young goalies together, Markstrom is 25, with the growing number of young players they have. The extra cap space would have given them the opportunity to sign a free agent who they could then deal for a prospect at the 2016 trade deadline.
That being said, they still have that chance to add draft picks and prospects at next season's trade deadline by dealing the likes of Radim Vrbata, Chris Higgins and Dan Hamhuis; doubtless most Canuck fans are hoping they do. Vancouver is a knowledgeable hockey market and will support a non-playoff team that is rebuilding as long as they see progress and the right moves.
Oh, there's one more player they could get something for at the trade deadline next season — Ryan Miller. This time Canuck fans will be hoping their general manager doesn't fumble the puck.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about NHL, jim benning, Vancouver canucks, Ryan miller, eddie lack
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