Things are getting interesting in Vancouver. On the eve of their season finale, a disappointing season at that, rumors are swirling around the Canucks. Earlier reports suggested that sweeping changes could be coming to the organization, including a potential return of Daniel and Henrik Sedin in front office roles. Meanwhile, head coach Travis Green is still working on an expiring contract and there has been no indication that a resolution is in sight. Given all of this mystery and speculation, the Canucks have made perhaps the most surprising move they could: retaining GM Jim Benning. The often-criticized executive has been informed that he will be back with the team next year, reports Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
As Friedman relays, given all of the uncertainty that has arisen over the past 24 hours, ownership indicated to their front office leader that he would be returning. It’s a major decision to make ahead of a crucial off-season, as Benning will be charged with managing the Canucks’ approach to the NHL Expansion Draft (made more important by the Seattle Kraken becoming a geographical rival right away), properly executing a top-ten overall draft pick, and otherwise handling an off-season in which his roster must significantly improve despite sorely lacking cap space.
Therein lies most of the criticism of Benning as well. The GM, who has been on the job since 2014, has made some questionable decisions in regards to his most precious resource, cap space. Benning has deemed the likes of Brandon Sutter, Erik Gudbranson, Sam Gagner, Antoine Roussel, Jay Beagle, Sven Baertschi, and Micheal Ferland as being worthy of sizeable commitments during his tenure, which has hurt the team on the payroll and in opportunity cost. It also forced the departures of superior players, such as Jacob Markstrom, Chris Tanev, and Tyler Toffoli last off-season. Those losses were felt this year as the Canucks, fresh off a run to the Western Conference semifinals last year, lived in the basement all season. Benning is left having to pick up the pieces and will try to find a way to squeeze more talent into his roster this summer.
Why is it Benning fixing the problem though? For starters, his track record on the trade market and in the draft at least come close to balancing out his contract negotiation mistakes. Since the 2018-19 trade deadline, Benning has added core members Tanner Pearson, J.T. Miller, and Nate Schmidt at below-market prices. His recent draft picks also include current and budding stars such as Quinn Hughes, Nils Hoglander, Vasili Podkolzin, Jack Rathbone, Michael DiPietro, Jett Woo, Kole Lind, Jonah Gadjovich, and more. So while some of Benning’s criticism is fair, too often his successes are ignored. Despite allegedly wanting to make major internal changes, the Canucks understand and appreciate what Benning has achieved and what he is trying to build in Vancouver. It seems that he will now be given at least one more year to show that he is still steering the organization in the right direction. It’s unlikely to appease the fans in the meantime, but the club hopes that their loyalty will be rewarded.
Louie needs to be extended…
The Mistake of Giving Eugene Melnyk a Liver Transplant
Tanner Pearson as a “core member” is indicative of why he should have been fired. But as a fan of another Pacific Division team, his retention is welcome news!
Toffoli is much better than Pearson. Benning has no clue what he is doing when it comes to veterans.
Such a stupidly run organization.
beagle /roussel are the bad ones no else was offering more then two years . he gave each four years. the sutter contract is not a problem if does not sign beagle . Having both makes no sense.
Let’s see if we can get this straight. Jimbo is seven years away from being five more years away. There is a possibility that they lose Travis, and replace him with who? Babs? Maybe they’ll bring back Keenan? How about Ralph Krueger? He’s probably disappointed Blash is going to be staying in Detroit. He keeps dishing out Monopoly-money contracts and yet he’s going to be sticking around to do even more damage. The mind boggles. He may be forever known as the inventor of Permanent Cap Hell. And, of course, his pressers make you think he is doing his own eulogy. Pity that Steve & Curtis couldn’t have lured him away to Willowbrook…
Incredibly disappointing. He’s been pretty much incompetent at every turn, and that’s being charitable.
I wouldn’t say every turn. Benning has made some good trades by getting JT Miller & Nate Schmidt for basically nothing. He has also drafted some good players. Still, there is no defending his free agent contracts. They are reminiscent of some of the contracts Chiarelli did in his last few years in Boston & Holland did at the end of his Detroit tenure.
He also traded Jared McCann and picks for Erik Gudbranson (and extended him) , he traded draft capital for Brandon Sutter (and extended him) and Sven Baertschi (and extended him).
He also drafted some very poor players, namely AHL stalwart Olli Juolevi and civil defendant Jake Virtanen.
From the outside it seems finding Pettersson, Hughes, trading for Miller etc. outweighs overpaying Jay Beagle, but whatever.
You should probably learn more about the last 7 years if that’s your conclusion.
Why wouldn’t I invest my finite time learning more about a more relevant franchise instead?
The Mistake of Giving Eugene Melnyk a Liver Transplant
Because you already invested your finite time in commenting on this article and subsequently are highly likely to commit a sunk cost fallacy.
He has his moments, but man is Benning in love with overpaying bottom line players. Such obvious land mines at the time that sink their ability to sign their good players.
Can’t forget the debacle with the Loui Eriksson and that overpay for aging veteran, maybe he is on payroll as one of the Green Men
For everyone saying his drafting has been decent….read on
Hughes fell to him, as did Petersson. Those were easy picks. Boeser was a good pick for his position, but that’s only one of three pluses…the other being Hoglander (who arguably fell to him in the 2nd round too), and Demko.
Lets talk about the 2nd round and on players (other than Hog) that have made any impact on the team.
Now that we covered that, how about the first rounders that have floundered. HIGH first rounders. Juolevi, Vertanen. Great choices…over Sergachev and Tkachuk or maybe Ehlers or Fiala….
i’ll jump out of this rabbit hole