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Are Any Changes Coming for the Struggling Vancouver Canucks?

The Vancouver Canucks hope for a bounce-back performance after missing the playoffs last season is off to a shaky start. They're sliding into an early-season hole that could prove too deep to climb out of as the season progresses.
Bo Horvat

The Vancouver Canucks hope for a bounce-back performance after missing the playoffs last season is off to a shaky start. With a record of 2-8-1 in their last 11 games, they're sliding into an early-season hole that could prove too deep to climb out of as the season progresses.

While Canucks fans fume over the club's recent performance, pundits like The Province's Ben Kuzma and NBC Sports' James O'Brien wonder if changes in management or behind the bench could be coming. Team owner Francesco Aquilini met with general manager Jim Benning on Tuesday but TSN's Darren Dreger reported Aquilini will remain patient and see if they can turn it around.

Aquilini's patience, however, will be tested if the Canucks' current tailspin continues. Every loss in the coming weeks will increase the pressure on Benning and head coach Travis Green. The Canucks have yet to surface in the trade rumor mill but that could change if their fortunes don't improve.

Defense remains their biggest issue. While their shots-against per game has reduced from 33.4 last season to 31.7, their penalty-killing percentage (60.3) is the league's worst while their 3.41 goals-against per game ranks among the highest.

Addressing that problem through the trade market is easier said than done at this stage of the season. Recent speculation out of Denver suggesting Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard could be available was squashed by The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun.

CapFriendly shows the Canucks sitting over $5.1 million above the $81.5 million salary cap with four players on long-term injury reserve. Assuming Girard or another top-four defenseman were available, it would take a dollar-in, dollar-out deal to pull it off.

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