The first thing on Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning’s summer agenda was take advantage of space on his expansion list to leverage a bargain acquisition from a team with protection issues. Check.
Now, about those other five or six things Benning and hockey operations need to achieve to strengthen and refresh the Canucks’ lineup amid the economic recession the flat-capped National Hockey League is enduring.
Versatile Dallas Stars forward Jason Dickinson was a good get on Saturday, as the Canucks spent only a third-round draft pick to fill their biggest need of the off-season: a robust, mobile, defensive-minded centre to anchor what needs to be an upgraded third line.
But the Seattle expansion draft provides the Canucks further opportunities. Can they coax the Kraken to take a significant contract off their hands? And among all those attractive players made available to Seattle by other teams, is there one or two Benning can reserve by making a claim-and-trade deal with Kraken GM Ron Francis?