The Vancouver Canucks' front-office rebuild continues to take shape as the organization is expected to introduce Jim Benning as the new general manager this week.
TSN's Darren Dreger reported the news on Wednesday:
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
New Canucks president Trevor Linden talked about the move, via Brian Stubits of CBSSports.com:
"There were moments of clarity for me in speaking with Jim that we just really connected on a hockey level," Linden said. "Our beliefs on how success is built in the National Hockey League were very aligned."
Vancouver missed the playoffs this season for the first time since the 2007-08 NHL campaign, which prompted ownership to make sweeping changes. Both general manager Mike Gillis and head coach John Tortorella were fired, while Trevor Linden was hired as president of hockey operations.
Is Jim Benning a good hire by the Canucks?
After his hiring in April, Linden made it clear that he was already starting his search for a new GM, per Kevin Woodley of NHL.com.
"I have a profile of a manager I like and now it's about putting a candidate list together, and that's a critical path," Linden said. "Gaining permission to speak to certain people can be a challenge, so that's what will affect timing."
Apparently, it didn't take long for Linden to decide that Benning is the right man to turn things around in Vancouver.
Benning has been the Boston Bruins' assistant general manager behind Peter Chiarelli since 2006, and he has been instrumental in building one of the NHL's most successful teams. Benning was previously a scout with the Anaheim Ducks and the Buffalo Sabres, so he has a great deal of experience in a front-office setting.
Among those who believe the Canucks are making a smart hire in the form of Benning is former Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins executive Roy Mlakar:
If Canucks select Jim Benning as their new GM then they got it right! Sharp hockey man.— Roy Mlakar (@RoyMlakar) May 20, 2014
As soon as Benning is officially named the Canucks' new general manager, the next order of business will be finding a new head coach, according to Dan Murphy of Sportsnet:
When Jim Benning is in place as #canucks GM the search for a new head coach will begin in earnest.— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) May 21, 2014
That responsibility will likely be shared by Benning and Linden, and it is a decision they must get right. The Canucks have gone through two coaches in two seasons in the form of Alain Vigneault and Tortorella, and they are clearly looking for a long-term solution this time around.
It is difficult to argue with this hire from Vancouver's perspective, as Benning has done everything possible to earn a general managerial role in the NHL.
If he is even half as successful in Vancouver as he was in Boston, the Canucks' playoff drought certainly won't last long.
There is already plenty of talent in place, but it needs to be supplemented in free agency and through the draft. Benning has excelled in those areas throughout his career, and he will look to do so on an even higher level in Vancouver.
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