VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks' management team is committed to making the team younger during its second offseason in charge, but only if it makes the club better as well.
And even if it means a second straight summer of asking veterans to waive no-trade clauses.
Speaking for the first time being eliminated by the Calgary Flames in the Western Conference First Round on Saturday, general manager Jim Benning and director of hockey operations Trevor Linden reiterated their plan to supplement an aging core with younger players without sacrificing the goal of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We don't plan on taking any steps backwards," said Linden, who was hired last April and brought in Benning a month later. "We are trying to win. We are trying to make the playoffs, and we are going to do everything we can to do that. Having said that, we have to keep a firm eye on the future and we need to develop players. But we can't put players in the lineup that aren't ready to play."
Linden and Benning answered questions about the sustainability of an aging core that is 3-12 in the playoffs since reaching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2011. There was plenty of talk about turning over a roster that has eight key players who are 31 or older and two more who will turn 30 next season, but Benning and Linden made it clear that the youth movement will be a gradual process.