The Vancouver Canucks introduced the franchises newest addition, general manager Jim Benning, on Friday.
It had been rumored that the Canucks were in the process of making a deal with Benning earlier this week. Benning replaced former GM Mike Gillis who had been fired in April. In addition, Trevor Linden has taken over as president of hockey operations.
When asked about choosing Benning, Linden responded saying:
“I can’t say that he was the guy I wanted because I hadn’t spoken to Jim in 25 years. After the first interview I really felt we did share a lot of the same visions and values and what it takes to win and win consistently.”
Linden and Benning were teammates on the Canucks during the 1988-89 season.
Benning agreed that the first meeting went well:
“He’s cut for the same cloth I am. I wanted to tie myself to somebody who had the same thoughts and beliefs that I did.”
The Canucks are in need of considerable help after the 2013-14 season. The franchise didn’t make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
First and foremost, Benning will be active in helping recruit a new head coach. In addition, Benning has been looking at the team in terms of playing fellow Pacific Division rivals. To have a good chance at beating California teams such as the San Jose Sharks, the Canucks need more strength added to the lineup.
“They are big, heavy teams,” Benning said, “so when we talk to our scouting staff one of our mandates is ‘Let’s get a little bit bigger, a little more rugged, so we can play both styles.’ So we can play a skill, skating style when need be, but when it’s a rugged, physical game; we can play that game too.”
Benning spent the prior eight season as assistant general manager with the Boston Bruins.