Benning won’t trade Canucks’ picks despite shot at playoff berth

The Vancouver Canucks are tied for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference 52 games into the regular season, but the club's unexpected success won't alter general manager Jim Benning's plans for the trade deadline.

"If there's a trade to be made, players for players, and we can make the team better, I'll look at something like that," Benning told Sportsnet's Iain MacIntyre on Wednesday.

"But we have a plan in place and I'm not moving picks from this year's draft to make the team better now. It's going to be about the guys in that room pulling together and having a good run. And that will dictate whether we're a playoff team or not."

The Canucks were expected to be in the thick of the race for the No. 1 selection in the 2019 draft, but superstar rookie Elias Pettersson has transformed the organization's outlook.

Since 2013, the Canucks have landed Pettersson, Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, and top prospect Quinn Hughes with first-round picks.

Vancouver is hosting the draft in June, and the team owns nine picks spread across seven rounds.

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