07/09/2015 04:03 EDT | Updated 07/09/2016 05:59 EDT

Canucks president Trevor Linden talks Bieksa, Lack, Kassian trades

The hockey season is still months away, but the Vancouver Canucks have already been busy this off-season. Since the start of free agency on July 1, the team has moved big name players Kevin Bieksa, Eddie Lack and Zack Kassian.

All of those moves were necessary, says Canucks president Trevor Linden.

"When you think about when we came in last year with the situation we inherited, we had a specific goal to [add youth]," he told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"We got significantly younger and deeper last year," he said. 

Kassian, 24, was traded to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for veteran forward Brandon Prust, 31, causing many to question if getting younger is in fact a priority for the team.

Linden says the deal made sense for both parties.

"With Zach we just needed to make a change. We didn't feel moving forward we could bring him back. It wasn't a great situation for us or for Zach," he said.

"That particular move was more about a specific need. Brandon Prust is a character individual. He's going to provide leadership in our locker room and on the ice."

Bieksa makes way for young players

The biggest name to leave the Canucks so far is veteran defenceman Kevin Bieksa. The blueliner played 10 seasons with the Canucks including a stint alongside Linden. He was traded to the Anaheim Ducks where he will once again play alongside former Canuck Ryan Kesler.

"I was a teammate of Kevin and a friend. Kevin and [his wife] Katie Bieksa have meant so much to this community in Vancouver," says Linden.

He adds that despite those close ties, Bieksa was a surplus to the team's long term goals.

"At the end of the day, moving Kevin achieved three things. It opened up cap space for us, it allows a spot for a young player to step in and develop, and it also got us a second round pick.

"I know it's hard for fans to get their head around, but the only way we're going to get better is to draft and develop our players better."