Canucks’ News & Rumors: Benning, Green, Rathbone & More

In this edition of Vancouver Canucks’ News and Rumors, fans are calling for the team to fire general manager Jim Benning and head coach Travis Green. Meanwhile, the team will have to finish their three-game road trip without Tucker Poolman and Travis Hamonic. 

Canucks’ Fans Fed Up With Benning and Green

After the Canucks’ 7-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche, fans of the team took to Twitter to voice their displeasure with Benning and Green. The DailyHive’s Rob Williams’ posted an article noting all the tweets directed towards firing the general manager and head coach. 

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning head coach Travis Green
Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning and head coach Travis Green (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

The Canucks are off to a 5-7-2 start, and fans are sick and tired of seeing the team lose. Since 2015, the club has a .469 win percentage. Not including the Seattle Kraken, only the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, and Arizona Coyotes have a worse win percentage in the same time span. Benning joined the team before the 2014-15 season. Meanwhile, Green was named head coach before the 2017-18 season and the team has posted .485 win percentage under him.

The Canucks went all in this past offseason in an attempt to improve their roster. Instead of posting a winning record and playing better than last season, the team has been at its worst. The Canucks are being outplayed at 5-on-5 and on special teams. The club has improved recently at even strength but have allowed more goals (21 against) than they have scored (20 for) on the season. Their power play has converted on 16.7% of their chances, and they own a league-worst 62.8 penalty kill percentage.  

Related: Canucks’ Head Coach Green on Hot Seat After Slow Start

Canucks fans have a right to be angry at the organization after the team’s performance so far. Nonetheless, it is unlikely ownership makes a move based on the fans’ reaction, as fans reacted similarly mid-way through last season.  

Poolman Suspension

The league suspended defenceman Poolman for two games due to an incident in the 7-1 loss to the Avalanche on Thursday. The defenceman high-sticked Colorado’s Kiefer Sherwood. Poolman received a 10-minute match penalty and was ejected from the game due to the incident. 

Poolman has played alongside Quinn Hughes for a majority of the season. He averages 18:05 minutes of ice time, ninth-most on the team. The team will have a tough time finding a d-partner who Hughes is comfortable with, as Hamonic is also out of the lineup. 

Hamonic Out For Road Trip

Hamonic is out for the team’s three-game road to the United States (from ‘Canucks: Travis Hamonic’s vaccination status sends him back to Abbotsford,’ The Province, November 10, 2021). The team has loaned the veteran defenceman to their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks. While in Abbotsford, he may participate in an AHL game this weekend. The club stated the defenceman is not fully vaccinated yet. The defenceman missed the start of the season and has only played in four games. Green noted Hamonic will be double vaccinated soon, so he shouldn’t miss many road trips across the border.

Hamonic signed a two-year, $6 million deal in the offseason. Through his four games this season, he averaged 18:23 time on ice. He played on the third pairing for the team and would have been the replacement for Poolman alongside Hughes. He played with Hughes for a majority of last season. 

Canucks Recall Bowey and Rathbone

To replace Poolman and Hamonic, the Canucks recalled Madison Bowey and Jack Rathbone. Bowey likely won’t get much ice time, while Rathbone played on Thursday against the Avalanche. He posted a minus-2 against Colorado in the blowout loss. Either Kyle Burroughs or Brad Hunt will be on the second pair with Hughes on Saturday, while the 22-year-old Rathbone will pair up with the other.

Jack Rathbone, Vancouver Canucks
Jack Rathbone, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Rathbone started the season with the club, playing in eight games before the team sent him to Abbotsford once Hamonic joined the team. He posted an assist through his two games in the AHL. He’s hoping to leave a lasting impression on his latest stint with the club and potentially stay on the main roster when Hamonic and Poolman return. Green isn’t too worried about Rathbone’s confidence despite his slow start (from ‘Canucks notebook: Rathbone should be revved up to measure up after recall,’ The Province, November 11, 2021).

“It was good for him to get some (AHL) minutes and getting a player feeling good about his game, but I never worry about his confidence,” added Green. “We think he’s a young defenceman capable of playing in the NHL and there are things he needs to work on, but he’s a smart guy. It’s a lot like the things I talk about with (Vasily) Podkolzin.”

Canucks Have to Finish Road Trip Off Strong

To finish off their three-game road trip, the Canucks play the Vegas Golden Knights and the Anaheim Ducks in a back-to-back over the weekend. The team will need to win both games or at least pick up three out of a possible four points to start turning around their season. If the team loses both games, the fans will continue to call for Benning and Green’s jobs.