Forthright about the need to improve his defence, Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning has been searching for another blue-liner since the regular season ended.

But the closer he gets to National Hockey League free agency on July 1, the more likely it is that Benning will need at least two defencemen. And finding someone to upgrade the bottom of the blue line will be much easier than replacing top defenceman Alexander Edler if the career Canuck leaves as an unrestricted free agent in three weeks.

During a week-before-the-draft meeting with Vancouver reporters on Monday, Benning said he continues to talk to agent Mark Stowe about a contract that will satisfy Edler’s desire – and the team’s – that he finish his career with the Canucks.

Beyond that, Benning refused to provide any details about the apparently-stalled negotiations involving the 33-year-old.