It's a fire sale in Vancouver as Canucks trade Jason Garrison to Tampa Bay

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Spor

First year general manager Jim Benning is making significant changes to the Vancouver Canucks roster. Defenseman Jason Garrison is the latest player to be sent packing.

It's everything must go time in Vancouver.

Just hours after trading Ryan Kesler to the Anaheim Ducks for some magic beans, the Vancouver Canucks continued their ongoing pre-draft fire sale by sending defenseman Jason Garrison as well the rights to Jeff Costello to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a second-round pick (No. 50 overall) in the 2014 NHL draft.

This latest deal is pretty much just a straight salary dump for the Canucks and general manager Jim Benning as it clears $4.6 million in cap space per season over the next four years. In return, the Canucks are getting a lottery ticket that might have a 30 percent chance of turning into something in the future.

Along with the additional cap space, it's also about the Canucks' ongoing rebuilding process that has seen them buy out David Booth, trade Garrison, Kesler, Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo all over the past calendar year. Other than Garrison, all of those players were major contributors on the 2011-12 team that won 51 games and the Presidents' Trophy before being knocked out in the first round by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Garrison was signed that offseason to bolster a defense that already had Alex Edler and Kevin Bieksa as staples.

In return for that group of players Vancouver has received the No. 9 overall pick in 2013 (Bo Horvat), the Nos. 24 and 50 picks in 2014, Jakob Markstrom, Shawn Matthias, Nick Bonino and Luca Sbisa.

So, yeah, they're a long way from being the team that was seriously contending for the Stanley Cup.

For the Canucks, it's been all downhill ever since as they missed the playoffs last year, have gone through two coaching chances (including one year of the John Tortorella experience), a new general manager and all while their two best players, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, continue to get older and further away from their prime years.

It's pretty obvious that Vancouver is entering some sort of a rebuilding phase as Benning attempts to put his stamp on the team.

Now the question is simply, who is next?

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