Updates from Wednesday, May 21
The Vancouver Canucks have made a hire to replace Mike Gillis as general manager (via Darren Dreger of TSN):
Jim Benning has agreed to a multi-year deal as Canucks gm and will be officially introduced in Vancouver on Friday.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 21, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, May 20
TSN's Darren Dreger reports when the Canucks could name their next general manager:
Expect the Vancouver Canucks to finally name Jim Benning as their new GM later this week. Hiring coach will be next. Trotz high on the list.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 20, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, April 9
TSN's Farhan Lalji provides financial findings surrounding Mike Gillis' departure from the Vancouver Canucks:
I'm also told there is a buyout provision in Gillis' contract whereby the #canucks only need to pay half of the 8 million remaining on deal— Farhan Lalji (@FarhanLaljiTSN) April 9, 2014
There is a similar buyout provision in Torts deal IF he is also let go at some point. #canucks— Farhan Lalji (@FarhanLaljiTSN) April 9, 2014
Lalji also reported on who is believed to be Gillis' replacement:
I'm told Trevor Linden will officially be named the #canucks President tomorrow.— Farhan Lalji (@FarhanLaljiTSN) April 9, 2014
Ken Campbell of THN reports on who could replace Gillis:
According to a source close to the situation, former Hockey Canada president and CEO Bob Nicholson is at his home in Penticton, B.C., this evening and is negotiating with the Vancouver Canucks to become the next president of the team. It’s expected he’ll accept the job and there is mounting speculation that he’ll name former Canuck legend Trevor Linden to replace Mike Gillis as the team’s GM.
Nicholson did not respond to a voice and text message left for him by thn.com Tuesday night, but a source said he has been negotiating with Francesco Aquilini, the chairman of the Canucks, about becoming team president.
As a disappointing NHL season nears its merciful ending, the Vancouver Canucks are taking the necessary steps to shake things up heading into the offseason.
The team officially announced on its website Tuesday that president and general manager Mike Gillis was "relieved" of his duties.
Canucks chairman Francesco Aquilini issued an official statement about Gillis' dismissal in the announcement:
On behalf of my entire family, I would like to sincerely thank Mike Gillis for his hard work and the many contributions he made on and off the ice during his tenure. The Vancouver Canucks had success under Mike's leadership, and we nearly reached our ultimate goal; but I believe we have reached a point where a change in leadership and new voice is needed.
As far as a potential successor is concerned, Darren Dreger of TSN.ca mentions longtime Canuck Trevor Linden as a name to watch.
Subject to change: we should learn more in next day or two regarding Linden as Canucks president and process to hire Gillis' successor.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) April 8, 2014
Even though the Canucks never won a championship under Gillis' leadership, they were one of the best and most consistent franchises in the National Hockey League since he took over in April 2008, as Corey Pronman of ESPN pointed out on Twitter:
VAN point totals under Gillis: 100, 103, 117, 111. 59 (1/2 year), 81 currently.— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) April 8, 2014
Dan Rosen of NHL.com also noted the individual and team accolades Gillis helped bring to Vancouver:
Gillis won GM of the Year Award in 2011. Canucks reached Cup Final in 2011, won Pres Trophy in back 2 back seasons, 2010-12. Downhill since.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) April 8, 2014
Not included in that stat is the fact Vancouver won five consecutive division titles from 2008 to 2013 and did make it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011 before losing a seven-game series to the Boston Bruins.
Gillis' firing comes near the end of, by far, the team's worst season under his guidance. The Canucks are 35-33-11 and their 81 points are tied for 10th in the Western Conference. They were also eliminated from postseason contention following a shutout loss to Anaheim on Monday.
Considering the amount of success the Canucks have had recently, it shouldn't be hard to turn this ship around in a hurry. Sometimes a change in leadership is necessary to ignite a stagnant locker room and front office.
Vancouver still has talented players to build around, including Henrik Sedin, who leads the team in points (47) and assists (37), and Ryan Kesler, who has notched a team-leading 24 goals this season. While they can still improve offensively, there are enough pieces to make that happen sooner rather than later.