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Deep Blue Sea: Canucks clean house

Plus Canadiens’ GM rumblings, McDavid ejected from game and more on today’s news and notes.

General manager Jim Benning of the Vancouver Canucks sits at the draft table during the rounds 2-7 of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft at Bell MTS Place on October 07, 2020 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The 2020 NHL Draft was held virtually due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Photo by Paul Albi/NHLI via Getty Images

The Jim Benning era in Vancouver has finally come to an end.

Per Irfaan Gaffar, the Canucks have relieved general manager Jim Benning and assistant general manager John Weisbrod of their management positions, as well as Travis Green and Nolan Baumgartner of their coaching positions, on Sunday night. This move comes after Green signed a two-year extension with the Canucks in May. The Canucks have gone 8-15-2 on the season so far, at the bottom of the Pacific Division.

It appears as though the last straw was when fans were chanting “Fire Benning” and threw a Canucks jersey onto the ice in a 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

The Canucks originally hired Benning on May 21, 2014, and since then, things have mostly gone downhill for the team. A few of his highlights include:

  • In the summer of 2014, Benning traded a second-round selection for winger Linden Vey, who played a season and a half with the club before leaving for the rival Calgary Flames.
  • In 2015, he traded Nick Bonino and a second-round selection for center Brandon Sutter. Bonino went on to win two Stanley Cups with the Penguins while being a key piece to the championship teams. Sutter has only scored double digit goals twice since then — and barely.
  • In 2016, he traded forward Jared McCann and a second-round selection for defender Erik Gudbranson. McCann went on to flourish in Pittsburgh, and now, the Seattle Kraken, while Gudbranson is a depth defenseman playing in Calgary now.

Benning also gifted the San Jose Sharks rookie Jonathan Dahlen in exchange for forward prospect Linus Karlsson, who is currently playing in Sweden at the age of 22, with no real progression toward making the NHL. No complaints from us, though — and that’s not even getting into the mismanagement of prospects of it all.

The point is, Benning just didn’t know how to manage assets. Draft stock and cap space weren’t used to the team’s advantage and ultimately led to his downfall.

Along with these moves, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet says that the organization is set to hire Bruce Boudreau as the team’s next head coach.

Boudreau, 66, hasn’t coached since the 2019-20 campaign. Over the course of his career, he has been the bench boss for the Anaheim Ducks, Washington Capitals and Minnesota Wild, posting a coaching record of 567-302-115 and a .635 points percentage. Boudreau was named the league’s best coach in 2007-08, winning the Jack Adams Award for his rookie coaching season with the Capitals, placing third in the Eastern Conference. The team lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in seven games in the first round.

As of right now, there are no leading candidates for the general manager position. Stan Smyl and Chris Gear will have elevated roles with the team moving forward.

News & Notes

Blood in the Water

  • LA Kings: Quinton Byfield activated from IR, loaned to AHL [Hockey Royalty]
  • NHL should skip Olympics in favour of World Cup of Hockey [The Hockey Writers]
  • Flyers’ Vigneault on the hot seat with Tocchet as top replacement [The Hockey Writers]
  • Canadiens may have interest in agent Kent Hughes in GM search [Sportsnet]
  • Oilers’ McDavid given game misconduct for boarding Kings’ Kempe [Sportsnet]
  • Matt Murray will play again for Ottawa [Pro Hockey Rumors]

Scores & Recaps

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On the Schedule