"We are happy with our team," the Canucks' general manager said after Monday's NHL trade deadline passed. "Our players have shown a commitment to each other. We wanted to give this group an opportunity to see what they can do as a team.
"We talked to a lot of teams. We didn't want to give up our young prospects and picks for unrestricted free agents. We didn't feel the prices were right for us to do that right now."
The Canucks made a couple minor deals, acquiring forward Cory Conacher from the New York Islanders and forward Sven Baertschi from the Calgary Flames. Vancouver set Dustin Jeffrey, the leading scoring from their American Hockey League team in Utica to the Islanders and gave up a second-round draft pick in 2015 for Baertschi.
Both players will report to Vancouver's AHL team in Utica.
Benning believes Baertschi has the potential to become a top-six forward with the Canucks in the future.
"I don't like giving up draft picks," said Benning. "We weighed getting Sven versus what we would get in the second round with our pick and we made the decision, let's go ahead and do this."
The Flames picked Baertschi 13th overall in 2011. The 22-year-old from Bern, Switzerland, has appeared in 66 NHL games for Calgary, totalling eight goals and 20 assists.
The five-foot-eight Conacher had a goal and two assists in 15 games with the Islanders this season. The 25-year-old has appeared in 28 games with the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers, scoring five goals and adding 17 assists.
The Canucks received some inquires about forward Zack Kassian. The 24-year-old has been in and out of the lineup this season but has scored four goals in the last six games.
"Teams called us . . . they inquired about Zack," said Benning. "We called some teams on Zack to see if there was interest.
"At the end of the day Zack has played very well for us the last couple of weeks. Nothing made sense to move him. We are happy Zack is still part of our group."
Vancouver currently has six players out with injuries but entered Monday second in the Pacific Division with a 36-23-3 record for 75 points.
Canuck captain Henrik Sedin was happy with the vote of confidence shown by management.
"I think we have shown in the past couple of weeks we have taken big steps," he said. "If we move forward like this we are confident we can go on a run.
"We have shown we can beat the best."
The injuries include defencemen Kevin Bieksa (broken hand), Chris Tanev (upper body), and Alex Edler (upper body). Forwards Brad Richardson (lower body) and Alex Burrows (lower body) are sidelined while goaltender Ryan Miller is out four to six weeks with a knee injury.
Head coach Willie Desjardins said once the Canucks are healthy they could make a run in the playoffs.
"When we look at the group . . . our trade could easily come by all the guys getting back in our lineup that are injured," he said.
"I think there is a belief in the room . . . things can happen. Maybe we can do a few things."
Past Canuck regimes have made trade deadline deals that gave up a total of 15 second, third and fourth-round picks.Suggest a correction