VANCOUVER – Months after moving into separate bedrooms, the Vancouver Canucks and amateur scouting director Judd Brackett officially divorced on Friday.
There was no marriage counseling, no tearful last attempt to save the relationship, not enough residue from happier times to heal wounds that opened after the fruitful partnership between Brackett and General Manager Jim Benning diamond designs like Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes and Brock Boeser had spawned.
There was only resignation and a press release on Friday morning that did not surprise anyone. The relationship was not bad because of a lack of cooperation, but too much.
Benning told reporters in a conference call what two other sources had previously told Sportsnet: Brackett wanted greater levels of autonomy and control over amateur scouting and the entry draft when his boss at the top of the chain of command was willing to surrender .
That was & # 39; s.
This marks the end of the most successful – and publicly contested – reign of an amateur scouting director in the history of Canucks.
But as inevitable Brackett's departure became, five years after the 43-year-old was promoted from Benning to succeed Thomas Gradin and Ron Delorme at the top of the Canucks Scouting pyramid, there is no way of seeing this separation as anything except disappointing.
Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people all over the hockey world and tell the audience everything about what they heard and what they think about it.
The National Hockey League is expected to continue working anyway.
"I come from a scout environment," said Benning, his management career was actually based on this. “I believe in the collaboration, the chain of command in which the director of amateur scouting reports to either the director of player staff, the GM assistant, or the GM. I've been in business for 28 years. I don't know too many places where the team will give a headscout complete autonomy to make all decisions without working with people higher in the chain of command than he is. "
Benning described the chain of command of the Canucks as follows: "We do things from the General Manager to the Deputy General Manager [John Weisbrod] to the Head Scout and our Crossover Scouts. If we decide who to choose as a player, we're all on the same page at the end of the day I'm going to choose. These reports that there was no collaboration, I thought, were wrong.
"I don't really get into the politics of nonsense that" this guy designed this guy, this guy is responsible [for this guy]. "Winning organizations don't do that. They win organizations and choose the players with whom they can win and with whom they can succeed, and we are trying to achieve that here."
It is what the Canucks have accomplished here in recent years that makes the breakdown of Brackett's relationship with management frustrating for the fan base and risky for the organization.
Strictly speaking, Benning now has to repair something that wasn't broken in relation to the draft results.
The Canucks may have put the best available player, Pettersson, in fifth place overall in 2017 when many people thought Benning should take Cody Glass. Pettersson won the Calder Trophy last season and can hand over the award this year to his rookie teammate Hughes, who was stolen seventh in 2018.
Boeser was voted 23rd in 2015, his selection and petterssons around the disappointing election of Olli Juolevi in 5th place in 2016.
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But it wasn't just top picks that the Canucks hit with Brackett, but also promising prospects like Adam Gaudette (149th in 2015), Jack Rathbone (95th in 2017), Tyler Madden (68th in 2018) and Nils Hoglander and Aidan Mcdonagh (40th and 195th in 2019).
It's a simple tale that this was the selection of Brackett, whose superhero powers certainly saved the Canucks from possible disasters. The reality is that Benning, who did Brackett's work for the Buffalo Sabers twice as long as Brackett did for the Canucks, will jeopardize his work with every selection and will have a voice in the discussion / argument about them.
Brackett posted a statement on Twitter: "I am very grateful that I managed the amateur scouting department. I am proud of our work, the collaboration within the department and the replenishment of the pool of interested parties. Unfortunately, no agreement could be reached on the future input regarding personnel and the process of the personnel. "
The question is, of course, whether this process and the input of others have changed. Brackett, who is also a successful restaurant owner at home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, wasn't looking for more money or a bigger title from the Canucks. And yet he leaves while the team's rise is driven by players who helped him design.
"I think it has reached a point where Judd is looking for another opportunity, for a fresh start, and I think we too," said Benning. "This is the business side of doing business."
Brackett was hired 12 years ago by former GM Mike Gillis as a part-time scout who specializes in the United States Hockey League. He officially leaves June 30 when his contract expires. This gives him the unique opportunity to take information from the Canucks to another organization in good time before this year's late draft.
Benning said that he was not sure whether Brackett's replacement would come from inside or outside the organization, but he was happy to go into the 2020 draft with his staff.
"Judd worked hard for us," he said. "He did a good job. We have really good crossover scouts who will help us stick to the draft this year. We didn't want to reach an agreement with Judd, so we go ahead."