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Sticking to the plan?

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
“The decisions I’ve made prior to this and this week will really shape this organization’s future. I’m keenly aware of that and recognize all our Canucks fans back in BC watching what we do here. We’ve got to pick the right player.”

If Trevor Linden is feeling any pressure going into his first NHL Draft as president of the Vancouver Canucks, he isn’t showing it.

Linden stepped out of a team draft meeting Wednesday afternoon to provide some insight into what the Canucks are looking to do during the 2014 Draft, taking place Friday and Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Much of the team’s preparations involve varying scenarios and a plan on how they’ll react after the first five picks are made.

Unless Vancouver has one of those top five picks, that is.

“We’ve made an effort to move and I’m not sure that’s going to happen, so we’ll just kind of watch and see what happens,” said Linden, not tipping his hat about if the Canucks are attempting to move up or down from their sixth overall selection.

“I think we came away from Whistler with a real solid plan, I think we’ll go over that and tweak it, there may be a couple changes.”

If changes are made, GM Jim Benning is likely behind them.

Linden said Benning is becoming notorious for plastering his office with posters of ever-changing rosters and notes on players as he continues to work on building the best Canucks team possible.

”I like to write different line-ups out, then I stick them up on the wall and stare at them and decide if I think we can do something to make it work and if that’s a line-up that I think we can win with,” revealed Benning.

“That’s an ongoing process, every hour it changes, but we’re trying to buckle down here and get to what we need to do to make the team better.”

Improving the Canucks could come via trade and Benning said he spoke with 12-15 teams Wednesday about “moving up and moving down in the draft and different trade scenarios.”

There’s been more talk this year than usual according to various sources and while talk is cheap, the consensus seems to be that Florida would trade the first overall selection for the right pieces in return. Does Vancouver have those pieces and is moving up even their strategy?

Benning wouldn’t name names in terms of prospects who have made it up onto the wall in his office as part of the Canucks line-up, but he knows the intangibles he wants in incoming players.

”In our division there’s some really good teams and they’re big and they’re fast, so we talked about that going forward, about getting back to drafting good skaters with some size and speed.

”Today we went over our list again, first round and second round scenarios and what players we like later on in the draft, if we think we’re going to be there. So we’re going to keep at that, tomorrow’s another day, we’ll touch up on guys we really like and want to draft and be ready to go on Friday.”

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