For the Record – Canucks’ Benning under the gun

Matthew Abrey – May 8, 2019

Wyatt Arndt has been covering the Canucks since 2012, and currently files for The Athletic and Daily Hive.

(Wyatt Arndt)

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning may be running out of time to turn the struggling team into a contender.

Benning is entering his sixth offseason at the helm. During his tenure, the Canucks have only only made the playoffs once, in Benning’s first season, leading some to start doubting his ability to put a winning team on the ice.

“I think this is kind of Benning’s last year to prove himself,” says Wyatt Arndt, who covers the Canucks for The Athletic and Daily Hive.

“…They’ve got a lot of cap space, and you’ve got to think that after five years, general managers don’t often have a long shelf life without making the playoffs, and Benning’s probably feeling a bit of the heat.”

We sat down with Wyatt to chat about the Vancouver Canucks’ front office situation, and why GM Jim Benning might be in the hot seat.

For better or for worse, Benning has also had a bit of free reign as GM over the past year.

Trevor Linden, who transitioned from a fan-favourite star to a tough, often scrutinized gig as president of hockey operations in 2014, stepped down from his post last offseason, leaving Benning to assume all of his duties.

Now, the only man Benning is looking to keep happy is Canucks’ owner Francesco Aquilini, which many would argue, may be an even more daunting task.

“We tend to see when Aquilini thinks things are coming apart, or if the team’s not going the way he wants to, that’s when he kind of gets more involved.” says Arndt.

Aquilini also doesn’t seem to be in a rush to find Linden’s replacement.

Aquilini shut down rumours earlier this month that the team was pursuing former Los Angeles Kings president and general manager, Dean Lombardi.

The 2019 NHL Draft will be held in Vancouver on June 21 and 22. The Canucks currently have the tenth pick.

(Pixabay)

The Canucks may also be gradually running out of options. With former longtime Detroit Red Wings GM and senior vice president Ken Holland signing a monstrous 5-year, $25 million deal with the Edmonton Oilers earlier this week, the market for experienced hockey executives is getting smaller.