According to multiple reports, including from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning will be back next season.
Benning is one of the longest-tenured general managers in the National Hockey League right now, with 10 in their position for longer terms.
The issue with Vancouver’s GM is, of course, one of success – or a lack thereof.
The rumour mill has been running wild on the West Coast that this was to be Benning’s last season with the Canucks, especially as the fanbase’s fortitude wears mighty thin and people are even taking to the skies over Ottawa with their protestations. Twitter hashtags pop up almost daily suggesting that Benning should be shown the door.
Alas, the Canucks organization has no intentions of doing that right now.
According to Friedman, the club informed Benning of their decision over the course of the last 24 hours. You have to expect some sort of formal announcement will follow, but naturally the fanbase in Vancouver has been less than thrilled with the news.
Benning signed a contract extension in the summer of 2019 and his contract officially expires following the 2022-2023 season, which means that telling the general manager he’s going to be continuing along the lines of his signed contract is meant to, at the very least, recognize the existence of the elephant in the room.
That means the Canucks organization is aware of the, let’s say, lack of enthusiasm surrounding Benning’s term and has intentions on at least addressing it in some way. An appeal for patience, once more, is expected to follow.
The Canucks have one game to go in the regular season before they roll into the station. They defeated the Calgary Flames on Tuesday and will face them once more in an essentially meaningless contest Wednesday.
Vancouver is 23-28-4 ahead of their final matchup, good for dead last in the North Division. They’ll have a chance to pull ahead of the Ottawa Senators with a win against the Flames, but pride is really the only thing on the line at this point.
Benning will have his work cut out for him next season, too. He’s got key RFAs in the water, like Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes, and a coaching decision has to be made with Travis Green’s contract due to expire as soon as ink dries on this lamentable campaign.
Pic: Darryl Dyck/CP