VANCOUVER – If free agency wasn’t a small step back for the Vancouver Canucks, then Tuesday’s news that top winger J.T. Miller would be unavailable to start the season due to COVID-19 issues certainly was.
Judging by predictions and projections from numerous sources, not many people think the Canucks will be back in the playoffs in 2021. But general manager Jim Benning says his team hasn’t taken a step back and isn’t going to – even with Miller and depth defenceman Jordie Benn unavailable to start the season Wednesday night in Edmonton.
In an interview with Sportsnet.ca, he told us why.
Sportsnet: Were you able to enjoy training camp at least a little before the Miller news broke Tuesday?
Benning: It’s disappointing, but this is just the time we’re living in. Players get tested every day and things change by the hour. You’re going to have to adapt, do things on the fly. That’s just where we’re at. We’re going to have to be flexible. I think we have good depth. I’m still excited about the season.
SN: What did you like about what you saw in camp?
JB: Well, I really like our defence. I like Nate Schmidt; I think he’s going to be a real good addition because he’s another skill guy that can move the puck up quick to our forwards. He had a good camp. Olli Juolevi had a good camp last summer (before the playoff…