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Canucks Report: Crunch time

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
Jim Benning spent almost a decade with the Buffalo Sabres organization, so he’s familiar with the city and even the Canucks team hotel.

He isn’t familiar with the position his team is in at the 2016 NHL Draft.

This is Benning’s third draft with the Canucks and the fifth overall pick is the highest he’s held. Naturally he’s receiving a lot of phone calls about potentially trading the pick, but when he spoke with the media in Buffalo Thursday afternoon, Benning said he plans on keeping the fifth overall selection.

“There are six players we like, so one will be there for us at five,” said Benning, adding that it would take a lot to get the pick away from the Canucks. “We’re going to get a really good player, a player we’re hoping can be a part of this franchise for a long time.”

Of note:

-Benning said he’ll be touching base with Milan Lucic’s people after the draft and that he’s “interested” in the forward.

-Yannick Weber, Radim Vrbata and Matt Bartkowski will not be re-signed, therefore all three will become unrestricted free agents on July 1st.

-Three potential assistant coaches will be interviewed by Benning Friday morning.

PROSPECTS MEET THE MEDIA

A handful of NHL prospects met the media Thursday afternoon and to everyone’s shock and amazement, they’re all very excited to be here and it doesn’t matter what team they get drafted to, they’re just happy if they get drafted.

Laine, Tkachuk, Puljujarvi, McAvoy, Chychrun, Matthews, Nylander, Brown, Juolevi and Dubois all sat outdoors at the Erie Basin Marina as hoards of media members made their way from player-to-player asking them everything from what kind of sandwich they’d be if they were a sandwhich, to what colour suit they’ll be wearing Friday night during the first round of the 2016 Draft.

It wasn’t journalism at its best, but it was insightful to hear a little more than the status quo from the prospects.

Of note:

-Pierre-Luc Dubois and Matthew Tkachuk, both rumoured to be on the Canucks radar, handled the spotlight extremely well. They didn’t shy away from questions – whether tough or awkward – and genuinely seemed to be enjoy being there. Or they’re fantastic actors and bring more to the table than hockey skills. Double threats?!

-The prospects arrived in two groups of five, and while four podiums lined the bottom of the media area, one podium was above the rest. It was reserved for Laine in the first group and Matthews in the second.

-Logan Brown said watching old clips of Pavel Bure scoring in Game 7 against the Calgary Flames in Vancouver’s 1993-94 Cup run was what first sparked his love of hockey. And no, he wasn’t led to that answer by Vancouver media.

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