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Canucks GM doesn’t dismiss possibility of signing veteran goalie

May 30, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT

Ducks Canucks Hockey AP

If new Vancouver general manager Jim Benning really does think the Canucks can be turned around “in a hurry,” he may want to seriously consider getting some insurance in goal.

As it stands, the Canucks have Eddie Lack, 26, as their starter and Jacob Markstrom, 24, as their backup. The two Swedish netminders have just 78 career NHL starts between them.

Today on Sportsnet 590 The Fan radio, Benning didn’t dismiss the possibility of signing a veteran goalie, one we assume would compete for starting time with Lack while Markstrom played regularly in the AHL.

“We’re going to look at every avenue we have to make our team competitive. Vancouver is a big-market city, we’ve got a passionate fan base, [and] our owners want to win,” Benning said (audio).

If Benning does decide to pursue a veteran goalie, Ryan Miller and Jonas Hiller are pending unrestricted free agents that could be a fit in Vancouver, if the price is right. (We’ve already written plenty on the limited market for the former.)

Or, Benning could roll the dice on the two youngsters in goal, while instead spending cap space on a scoring forward.

Of course, what happens with Ryan Kesler — will he be traded? and if he is, what’s the return? — may need to be decided before any goaltending decision is made.

  1. flyboystransport - May 30, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Hiller would be ideal if you’re gonna develope a younger goalie…maybe emery

    • phillyphanatic77 - May 30, 2014 at 10:59 PM

      Hiller would be a much better choice. Emery just doesn’t have starters ability anymore. He’s an OK backup but he’s got zero lateral mobility.

  2. canucks30 - May 30, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    Miller time?

  3. puckluckpost - May 30, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    Start pumping Timmy’s tires like it’s your job…

  4. matt14gg - May 30, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    It’s gotta be Miller. He and Benning have a history and Nucks fans are not going to be satisfied with a journeyman. Hiller’s a good choice also and maybe Reimer’s a possibility, though I don’t think he’s a starting caliber goalie.

    • 19to77 - May 30, 2014 at 6:48 PM

      Miller’s going to want a big contract with term and trade protection, which doesn’t match the Canucks’ needs at all. The only thing signing Miller would achieve is impeding the development of their two younger goalies. Throwing money at a guy like that is pointless because the rest of the roster isn’t Cup-competitive anymore regardless. He won’t put them over the top on his own, so why pay him just to buy them a couple more years of losing in the first or second rounds?

      • canucks30 - May 30, 2014 at 6:54 PM

        I agree with everything you said.

        However, the Canucks mandate from ownership and from Trevor Linden has already been stated: return to the playoffs next season at all costs. The primary concern seems to be make the playoffs and hope that Chicago, LA, Anaheim, San Jose, etc. run into injuries or have an off year. Canucks management has already indicated that they intend to keep their core group of players together.

        I don’t think it’s the best strategy in the long-term to win a Stanley Cup but it’s the one they are going with and Miller fits into that better than going into the season with two young, inexperienced goaltenders – neither of whom have played an NHL playoff game.

      • 19to77 - May 30, 2014 at 7:01 PM

        Very fair point, although it sounds like winning the battle and losing the war to me. Guess they’re all motivated by self-preservation to one degree or another, though, so it’s hard not to understand where that comes from. Still, bottom line is that they won’t win a Cup on the backs of a team whose top players are almost all 30 or older and slowly losing their edge. And isn’t that the ultimate point?

      • canucks30 - May 30, 2014 at 7:13 PM

        Considering the age of Toews, Doughty, Kane, Kopitar, Quick, Keith, Seabrook, Brown, Carter, Richards, etc. I have serious reservations of anybody other than LA or Chicago making it out of the West anytime soon.

        They have already appeared in 4 of 5 Stanley Cup Finals (including this year).

        Reminds me of Detroit, Colorado, and Dallas dominating the west from 1995-2002.

        Might as well make the playoffs and hope for the best while developing your young players at the same time in lesser complimentary roles.

  5. djshnooks - May 30, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    I could be wrong, but I think Jim Benning was with the Sabres when they drafted Ryan Miller…at least one of GM candidates they hired was the one who drafted Miller.

    I just can’t see him wanting to play in Vancouver…he said that he did not want to play for any Canadian team. Maybe that changed…but Anaheim has to be the favorite, with San Jose close behind.

    • canucks30 - May 30, 2014 at 6:57 PM

      Anaheim and San Jose have already publicly stated that they aren’t interested in Miller.

      If there is a small market for Miller (which I think there now will be) he will likely come relatively cheap.

  6. elvispocomo - May 30, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    I don’t know they can keep Markstrom if they sign a veteran backup. Markstrom would have to clear waivers starting next year to go to the AHL, and he’s still a good enough prospect I’d think someone would pick him up.

    • canucks30 - May 30, 2014 at 7:17 PM

      That’s an excellent point but also consider Markstrom and Lack are pretty much both the same age. Consequently, even if Markstrom develops, you’d still have to move him or Lack out eventually anyway as they would both want to be a #1 goalie. If they both have good seasons in 2014-15 this could become a problem as early as 12 months from now.

  7. hockeyflow33 - May 30, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    Trade for Budaj, he’s on an affordable deal with 1 year left and won’t take a lot to get.

  8. Wineshard - May 30, 2014 at 9:12 PM

    Hard to believe the Canucks are so thin at goal.

  9. desertfan - May 30, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    We need two more Keslers!!!

    So lets trade Kesler???

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