Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning. (Jimmy Jeong/The Canadian Press)

Canucks have to settle for acquiring players at NHL trade deadline

Vancouver gets forwards Tyler Motte, Jussi Jokinen from Columbus for veteran forward Thomas Vanek

Given a choice, Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning would’ve preferred to pick up some draft picks at the NHL trade deadline.

Instead, he had to settle for two young players and a 34-year-old veteran joining his ninth NHL team in Vancouver’s two deals Monday.

Vancouver acquired forwards Tyler Motte and Jussi Jokinen from the Columbus Blue Jackets for veteran forward Thomas Vanek. Earlier, the club sent defenceman Philip Holm to the Vegas Golden Knights for forward Brendan Leipsic.

Benning said the original plan was for the Canucks to stockpile draft picks.

“We pretty much talked to every team in the league,” said Benning, who recently signed a three-year contract extension. “We wanted picks back.

“They weren’t available to us. We had to do the next best thing. It’s just one of those things.”

READ MORE: Benning stands firm on Gudbranson, will keep him with Canucks until 2021

Motte, 22, has played 64 career NHL games and registered seven goals and five assists, since being picked in the fourth round, No. 121 overall, by Chicago in the 2013 draft. The five-foot-10, 191-pound American had three goals and two assists in 31 games with the Blue Jackets this year.

The Winnipeg-born Leipsic had two goals and 13 points in 44 games with the Golden Knights. The 23-year-old, who played his junior hockey with the Portland Winterhawks, was chosen in the third round, No. 89 overall, by the Nashville Predators in the 2012 draft. Prior to this year he spent most of his career in the AHL but did play six games for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2015-16 season, registering a goal and two assists.

Benning said both players fit into the Vancouver rebuild.

Heading into Monday night’s game in Colorado the Canucks are second-last in the Western Conference with a 24-37-7 record and are likely to miss the playoffs for the third consecutive year.

“Going forward, we want to be younger, faster,” said Benning. “We want to be harder to play against. I think both Brendan and Tyler they fit the mould of speed and skill and they are competitive guys.

“They are guys that aren’t maybe the biggest guys, but they are hard in the battle. They are going to add to our competitive group of young players that we have.”

Jokinen, 34, will join his fourth team this season having already played for Edmonton, Los Angeles and Columbus. In 937 NHL games that includes stops in Dallas, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Pittsburgh and Florida, the native of Kalajoki, Finland, has 187 goals and 366 assists.

“That’s part of the trade,” Benning said in explaining why Jokinen was included in the deal. “That’s a hockey trade.”

The Canucks signed Vanek as a free agent late this summer. In 61 games this year he had 17 goals and 24 assists.

The 33-year-old, who become an unrestricted free agent this summer, is used to moving. Since 2013-14 Vanek has played for seven teams. This is also the fourth time he as been traded in the last five seasons.

The Canucks signed Holm, 26, as an undrafted free agent in May. He had 11 goals and 29 points for the AHL Utica Comets. The native of Stockholm, Sweden, was called up last week but dressed for just one game, Friday’s loss in Vegas.

The Canucks originally touted Holms as a prospect, but Benning said acquiring defenceman Derrick Pouliot a week before the season started changed expectations.

Besides Vanek, the Canucks had little to offer at the deadline. There had been talk teams were interested in defenceman Chris Tanev, but he’s expected to be sidelined at least three more weeks with a broken bone in his leg.

“We had calls on lots of our players,” Benning said, “Those conversations are between me and the other general managers.

“I would say we didn’t get anywhere close on anything else.”

Players like Tanev, defenceman Alex Edler and forward Brenden Sutter will form the veteran core for Vancouver moving forward.

“These guys are going to help our young players, help them on the ice, help with leadership off the ice,” Benning said. “They are important players for us moving forward.”

Vancouver currently has six picks in this year’s draft.

“We are going to give some of these young players a good chance from now until the end of the year to play and see where they are at,” said Benning. “Maybe when we head into the draft there will be an opportunity to add more picks.”

Jim Morris, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

B.C. declares state of emergency as wildfires rage

More than 3,300 firefighters are battling more than 500 fires

Port Hardy Fire Rescue knocks down wildland fire

PHFR members responded to the scene, located the fire, and contained it to the immediate area.

Second annual Port McNeill & District Chamber of Commerce golf tournament

Golf Holes #2 and #6 are Hole-in-One opportunities, each with a cash prize of $25,000!

No taxes paid by Neucel, Doug Bondue Arena in Port Alice closes

“Neucel owes us a million dollars and it’s pretty hard to stay status quo when you’re short a million.”

Dragonboat society requests new location for 80 square foot storage shed in McNeill

“Part of my concern for using lot B is that it could become a parking lot for them…”

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

LETTERS: Doctors speak out on surgical wait times for B.C. patients

‘Governments know they will lose private clinic lawsuit’

Thieves steal supplies, tools and juice boxes from B.C. summer camp

‘Take a moment to think about who you stole from,’ says Burns Bog Society’s Mark Robertson

Women-owned businesses generate $68,000 less revenue than men’s: survey

When Dionne Laslo-Baker sought a bank loan to expand her burgeoning organic popsicle and freezies business in 2014, she was “shocked” by the feedback she received from one of the bankers.

Hedley frontman’s alleged sex offences case returns to court

Jacob Hoggard faces three sexual assault-related charges will return to a Toronto courtroom this morning.

Climate change likely to cause more sewage leaks, says environment minister

More than one hundred municipal wastewater systems did not report how much raw sewage overflowed from their pipes in 2017.

Priests molested 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, report says

The “real number” of abused children and abusive priests might be higher since some secret church records were lost and some victims never came forward.

Defiant as Trump rages, Omarosa says she won’t be silenced

Manigault Newman declared she will not be silenced by President Donald Trump, remaining defiant as her public feud with her former boss shifted from a war of words to a possible legal battle.

Most Read