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Photo Credit: Ben Nelms /PNG Merlin Archive

WWYDW: Jim Benning

Elliotte Friedman dropped a bombshell on Friday morning, reporting that the Canucks were working on extending general manager Jim Benning. The organization made it official yesterday, announcing Benning had inked a three-year contract extension.

I won’t go to the trouble of re-litigating Benning’s 5+ years with the organization- at this point, most fans know where they stand- but many had speculated that this season would be Benning’s last at the helm if the Canucks failed to qualify for the playoffs. Benning may have been taken off life support, but the extension doesn’t necessarily mean his job is secure.

Would you have extended Jim Benning? Do you think he will remain with the organization following the 2019-20 season? 

Last week I asked: Would you retire Roberto Luongo’s number?

Defenceman Factory:

No need to retire his number. Put him in the ring of honour.

J-Canuck:

Teams get in trouble retiring jerseys of players that aren’t HOF caliber, but Lou is! There are a lot of players from 2011 that deserve to have their jerseys hung in the rafters, but The Twins and Lou are at the top

TheRealPB:

The fact that this is even a question is ludicrous. 8 years, 367 wins, 2.36 GAA and a .919 SV% with the Canucks. Top ten in most all-time goalie stats. He’s not Sundin or Messier jetting in for a few games or a season. The only other Canuck goalie who comes even close in team service is McLean. And for this Luongo deserves Ring of Honour? Please. A Stanley Cup cannot possibly be the standard on which a number retirement is based, simply because many marginal players have a ring (some multiples) and many outstanding players have never had a Cup (Perreault, Stastny, Sittler, Dionne, Gartner, list goes on and on). And we’re going to rag on the cap recapture? Bure and Naslund didn’t exactly leave in a blaze of glory. This shouldn’t be a debate. We’re spoiled brats to even consider NOT retiring this number.

Kanuckhotep:

We have four retired #s presently with the twins to be added to this in February. And unofficially Wayne Maki’s #11 and Luc Bourdon’s #28 are out of circulation. (And maybe Rick Rypien’s #37?) Luongo should not have his number retired and it’s not like the Canucks are MONT, BOS or even EDM with numerous Stanley Cups. Luongo was a good goalie but let’s put a halt on retired #s until this franchise brings home the Big Prize.

Robby-D:

I agree with everyone saying put Luongo in the ROH but don’t retire his jersey #. When you look at who’s already had their numbers retired (and will be soon), 5 out of 6 are solidly in that “forever a Canuck” mold. Bure was a dynamic player who made a big difference to the team while he was here, but he left after 8 years and never looked back, hasn’t done anything for the city since, etc. But at least he was drafted by the Canucks, was a really storied “rookie” etc. (For the record, I believe Bure should be ROH and 10 should not be retired either).

Luongo maybe belongs in similar company when compared to Bure, but but not when compared to the rest. Although the best Canuck goalie to date, he is not “forever a Canuck.” He has fond memories of this city, but doesn’t seem to consider hit “his” city.

Finally, retiring a player’s number is an honour that says what they contributed could never be replaced. It is bestowed upon those who had highly-memorable careers. My problem with doing it for Luongo is that a significant portion of his highly-memorable career was not with the Canucks.

  • I like the extension. GMJB had a lot of legacy contracts and the Twins still playing at the beginning of his tenure. Now that the youth movement is in full swing, he deserves to see it through. Benning and the staff have a record of middle round finds and FA signings, which is the way a team can stay a long Stanley Cup contender. Having a wave of young ELC players supporting a talented core extends the cores window.

    • Why does this thing about “middle round finds” keep popping up? They have zero impact NHL’ers from the middle rounds of Benning’s draft. More than half the teams in the league have at least one from 2014-now that is a legitimate player and in most cases a top-6 F or top-4 D .

      Let’s have a look:
      ANA – Montour, Kase
      Arizona – Dvorak
      Boston – Heinen, Carlo
      Carolina – Aho,
      Chicago – Debrincat
      Calgary – Andersson
      Dallas – Hintz
      Det – Hronek
      Mon – Mete
      Nash – Arvedsson, Girard
      NJD – Bratt
      SJ – Lebanc
      STL – Barbashev, Dunn
      Tampa – Point, Cirelli
      Toronto – Dermott

      This isnt extensive and leaves out a lot of regulars. The Canucks only comparison at this point is Gaudette who had a total of 12 points in 61 games. Apart from this list there are dozens of other draft picks that at this time are making more of an impact in the NHL than Gaudette. Could these guys like Gaudette and Demko break through and join the above list? Of course. Are there other prospects that could? Of course…but other teams have lots of prospects too. Benning’s drafting has been fine – you could even make the argument that it’s been good – lets just stop talking about all these mid-round finds or gems until they actually become that because at this point the Canucks under Benning are behind most NHL teams in drafting after the first round.

      • If you populated your list with, you know, actual middle-round players your argument would be a lot more compelling. I think you’ve got 3 actual 4th rounders on your list and three 6/7 rounders (Kase, Lebanc and Bratt). This isn’t the best set of comparisons league wide if you want to suggest that the Canucks aren’t particularly better than average at drafting middle round prospects. If we’re looking at 4th or 5th rounders, then JB’s been ok — Rathbone, Utunen, Gaudette and Forsling stand out — but not necessarily a whole lot better than other teams.

        • Always the voice of reason PB. We can take the ambiguity out of ‘middle rounds’ as I obviously interpreted it as everything after the first. Here’s a new list.

          Number of impact players selected:
          Round 2 – 0
          Round 3 – 0
          Round 4 – 0
          Round 5 – 0
          Round 6 – 0
          Round 7 – 0

          How does that compare to the rest of the league?

          • Perhaps it wasn’t clear but I’m generally agreeing with you — I don’t think Benning has an appreciably better record of drafting mid-rounders than others. But I also don’t think it’s all that worse. Even out of the list you’ve created, if we were to look at the 2nd round of 2014, Demko is clearly not yet an impact player — but only 3 players selected that round could be seen as such (Barbashev, Montour, and Dvorak) if the criteria is games played, they are all sort of complementary players. In the 3rd round, no one is close in GP or point production to Brayden Point (actually Tryamkin looks more favorable than many others). In the 4th only two stand out and in the 5th Forsling is actually the best.

            To reiterate, I agree with you that Benning’s not a mid-round drafting whiz. But he actually looks better than many others around the league and not as good as a few hits. The way you are portraying it is as a complete flop after the 1st round (I am assuming since 2014). And that’s still to early to tell (especially with a guy like Demko and arguably a few others).

          • It is not a complete flop because it’s very early. However, I’ll reiterate that at this time most NHL teams have found players in rounds 2-7 that are having greater impact than anyone the Canucks have found (since 2014). It can be revisited in a few years and I’m sure a couple will break through. At this point in time there is nothing to praise so to continually see people on this forum do just needs correcting – that’s all.

            The criteria, by the way, goes well beyond games played. You say Barbashev, Dvorak and Montour are all complimentary? Sure they’re not stars by any means but Montour is a top -4 defenceman, Dvorak is a top-6 forward who was just injured most of last year and Barbashev is a spark plug in the Blues bottom 6. Who, at this point, has stepped into those roles with the Canucks?

          • Dirk, I think Benning has been alright when it’s come to drafting; he’s filled in some of the gaps with fairly strong UFA and college signings, and the prospect pool looks better than it has in a long while.

            My main concern remains the pro eye. I think Benning is actually relatively decent when it’s come to (most) re-signings (look at the Horvat or even Edler deals). But what makes me very nervous about this offseason is that while Myers, Benn, Ferland and the Miller acquisition look the team has improved significantly on paper, the prior acquisitions of Sutter, Gudbranson and Eriksson all kind of did too (all game with red flags but were also coveted by many in the NHL).

            I think the Canucks might do well this year but a LOT of things will have to break for them to do so. I don’t think it’s a given that they won’t do well but I also think it’s not a given that they will. With all this in mind coming back to the original question, I really don’t think I would’ve extended Benning till at least Christmas. What is the hurry? How would it make him a lame duck when the bulk of the work of the off-season with the exception of re-signing of Boeser and Goldobin is already done? Why not at least see how the Canucks look for the first couple of months of the season before either extending him or pulling the plug?

      • Exactly. His drafting in the mid-rounds seem fine on paper but almost none of those players have translated to regular nhlers. Maybe, in time we’ll see some of them become regular fixtures on the club, but until then these prospects are only in the projection stage. Period.

    • Dirk, stop killing the bootlicker’s buzz, man.

      Context with other teams is something foreign around here. We only compare Benning to Gillis, like any simple minded dolt would do.

      • No surprise to see Jackson’s biggest lackey continually calling anyone a “bootlicker” if they have a slightly positive remark or viewpoint. Keep it up Groupies. In regards to the question…no I wouldn’t have extended Benning this soon. I would have waited for the season to unfold. Yes I expect to see him at the helm heading into next season. It can at times be enjoyable watching the armchair parasites crumble around here even when GMJB does something good.

        • The Band Campers sure do stick together. Street hockey heroes and pocket protector pals that just cant stand anything positive. Remember when JD would not write a post game after a big win? Or Ryan, sniveling about he “cant do anything” about the trolls while he switches accounts and posts as Fraud. You gotta real job now Ryan, just let it go…

  • Friedman dropped a bombshell? Really ! That seems overly dramatic..
    Lui should go to ROH.. Great goalie, but pulled three times vs Boston if I remember correctly.

  • The point is moot. The only person with the power to make the decision, and the only one to benefit if correct or pay for it if he’s wrong, has decided to extend. Discussion over.

  • Aquilini can fire Benning at any time — it’ll just cost him to do so. What Aquilini gets by extending Benning is a manager who can focus on the club without some needless distractions, and who has an incentive to think beyond next season. So yes, extending Benning’s contract made sense.

    Do I think Benning will be let go at the end of this season? The magic number is, I’m guessing, around 88. If the Canucks can get that many points then Benning’s job is secure for another year.

  • Glad to see Benning get the extension. He has given this team hope through his strong drafts over the years. I can’t remember another time when the prospect pool has been this deep and it keeps getting deeper.

  • Benning deserves his extension because this is now the team he has built. Only stalwarts Edler and Tanev remain who played under Gillis and Bo was drafted by GMMG. The rest has been built by GMJB so he deserves to still be there IMO. Since we never had a shot at guys like Matthews, Laine, McKinnon, Hedman, McDavid and countless other young greats Benning has put together a promising young core and with Hoglander, Podkolzin sure to make impacts in the future. He’s made mistakes but is on the right path.

  • Benning’s extension has more to do with getting some integral parts in the front office signed. Not many (players, coaches, scouts and management) are lining up to sign for a team with a lame duck GM. This had to be done.

  • There’s a lot JB has done I don’t like, but a scarier proposition is wondering who is actually available to replace him and what that change would then entail.

    If he can undo a few of his mistakes— mainly Eriksson and Sutter — then it might not be sunshine, lollipops and parades, but at least the cap space would be there to make some positive moves if this team shows it has the legs to compete. It would also remove a bit of the stink some of the players he has acquired have developed.

    If Myers, Miller, Ferland and Benn are the worst (or the best) he has done this season then yeah to the extension. If he can offload a couple of his previous stinkers, then he’s definitely earned the chance to try to build a winner.

  • Yes I would have extended Benning but for 2 years not 3.

    I think Benning did a reasonable job signing the UFAs available this off season. He made the financially astute move with Hutton, nailed his 1st 3 draft picks (great piece on Keppen the other day on HockeyBuzz) and put together a squad capable of finishing in a playoff spot.

    Benning has yet to demonstrate the ingenuity he will need to finish off his roster. There were other ways to shore up the right side D that were cheaper (and in my opinion better long term) than signing Myers.

    I would have Benning on a relatively short leash. I want to see his efforts prove out with the team performing well and challenging for playoffs. Perhaps more importantly I want to see him move out Sutter and perhaps additional surplus wingers before the draft and Eriksson before this time next year.

    This has been Benning’s first offseason without Linden. We just aren’t privy to how different Linden’s vision was and what his role was in the UFA signings Benning is most criticized for. The UFA signings this off season look different than previous years. If they don’t turn out better, Benning doesn’t get his young stars signed or Benning doesn’t show some creativity in trades I’d find someone else to finish off this roster. The window for the Canucks is just opening. When Podkolzin hits the ice here in 2 years that window needs to be wide open.

        • What you’re doing is called projecting. What does Gillis have to do with any of this?

          Please tell me the point I missed because to me it looks like you’re pulling out the ‘it was Linden’s fault excuse’ again. We’ve been through this before, remember? Linden had a falling out with ownership over a difference in the franchise outlook for the next few years. Everyone and their dog has reported that Linden thought they were a few years away and wanted to take the Winnipeg approach – basically a slow play for a couple more years. Ownership wasn’t on board so Linden is gone, whether he was fired or on his own volition. For whatever reason you disagree with this take and have argued on here before that it was Benning preaching patience – we can pull the files if you’d like…..now in the summer of 2019, Benning has certainly attempted to expedite things with trading a 1st rounder and signing a $30 million contract. Whether you agree or disagree with this direction, it’s clear for all how Benning sees the club and one can then infer (on top of the numerous reports that you for some reason think are lies) that Linden was in fact the patient one.

          This isn’t a Linden defence – I thought he was just as bad as Benning in his role. It’s just fascinating to watch as you have evidence right in front of you and can’t seem to put it together.

          • Always interesting to watch you take everything written against Benning as fact without evidence. Re reporting things with the same lack of evidence isn’t proof. Believing it is just confirmation bias.

            It is clear Benning is working to get this team to turn the corner. What I have always suspected is Linden was deeply involved with previous years’ UFA signings and other questionable moves. You have always accused Benning of making these moves in an attempt to win now and somehow over ruling his boss who did nothing but preach patience. When you are the boss and your staff don’t do what you want you don’t renew their contract as Linden did with Benning.

            No one can be sure what Linden’s vision was as no one directly involved has spoken on the matter. After another disappointing season and the Roussel, Beagle and Schaller signings it was Linden leaving. Were those signings part of Linden’s vision of patience or part of his inept vision of how to be competitive? How about Gagner and DelZotto? Either way ownership was done with his dithering. If Benning’s moves this off season don’t show a lot better he is likely done before this time next year.

          • Whether I believe the reports from Friedman, Willis, Botchford etc. about what direction Linden was proposing to ownership is irrelevant. The proof is in the pudding – ownership and Benning are pushing for the playoffs in 2019-20 and have made moves to support that. Whatever vision Linden had didn’t jive with that. This isn’t difficult.

            As for who is to blame for all the bad moves – I never once have excused Linden’s role in all the bad trades and free agent signings. He is equally to blame and I have always maintained his hiring was merely a PR move. To think somehow that he was solely orchestrating all of the bad ideas and moves that Benning was executing is absurd and I think you know that.

  • Would I have extended Benning if he’d blown over $50 million bucks of my money and missed the playoffs for the past 4 years?

    I’m pretty sure there weren’t a lot of teams waiting to sign old Jimbo when is contract expired.

  • The timing is what confuses me. He should been extended or fired before the draft, free agent and trades this off season not afterwards. He made all those moves under pressure of his job being on the line, which historically has led to making desperate moves.

  • What I don’t get is the people complaining about missing the playoffs for 4 years straight but are the same people supporting tanking and getting high draft picks. Hasn’t he basically executed on this strategy, built a young, higher end core with more in the pipe and now is making the next of building a playoff team. There is some teams that have tired for decades to turn around what it looks like Benning did in essentially 4 years . It’s not terrible…

  • Absolutely would have extended him! 4 years and no playoffs doesn’t scare me one bit. Every team has to reload and rebuild and Benning has built us a core that will help the Canucks emerge from the rubble shortly. Why wouldnt you want a guy drafting that well to continue to add more weapons? His one bad signing came the year that ownership wanted to try for one more kick at the cat and failed(Eriksson) and can’t be classifed as part of this rebuild. Trading for JB has not been great either but it seems as he has gained experience in his role he has done a better job in that role as well. Benning’s best years are still to come and we are just starting to see it in the young core he has brought in.

  • Despite what I, too often, read here Benning deserves this extension and the organization needed it as well.

    There’s lots to do, many ways to approach the job and only so many options realistic or available to the team. Nobody on this site knows the real choices or decision making process or even the actual chain of command.
    So we’re all forming opinions with imperfect information … speculating.

    The potential of this team has been relatively consistent and increasing year by year. That’s job performance. Sure mistakes have been made or some choices didn’t work out but those gambles were reasonable and attainable.

    I choose to speculate on last year’s results if:
    Edler and Tanev played 10-15 more games each;
    Sven and Sutter played 20-30 more games each;
    Lui, Jake and Goldy played to half of what we expected of them;
    and Guddy and Del Zotto performed better.
    That’s not asking for perfection, just a boost from what we ended up with.
    A very different season and a lot of happy fans.
    I speculate that’s what GMJB saw.

  • I think it’s great.
    1: It shows that ownership and Jim are on the same page.
    2: It gives the team stability in the near future. Constantly changing GMs is not good for the progress of any team.
    3: If the Canucks don’t succeed they just fire Jim and get a new GM. It’s just money after all.
    4: Final thought. Jim can look and point out the negative media in Vancouver and tell them to just “SUCK IT”!

  • I think JB’s tenure can be broken into two parts. Part one was retool and give the twins another shot at a cup. This was flawed thinking as we all know now that resulted in his three biggest blunders. His intention was to sign a 30 goal top line winger in Loui, and trade for a second line centre and a top four RHD in Sutter and Guddy. Total fail. He tried trading mid round picks to take flyers on guys like Vey and Etem nothing panned out except Sven and Granlund and even those successes were minor. He should have been fired after year 2 when his plan failed so epically. However he wasn’t and in part 2 of his tenure he’s been able to bring in a core four that has some very good potential. If not for Jim’s past misdeeds we would not have Petey and Quinn. I like the extension for a couple of reasons. One it will hopefully quiet a little bit of the fan and media drama around the team this year and two it will hopefully allow him to extend Clark and some other good components of this front office. If this season becomes a tire fire then it won’t matter how many years JB has left because he will be gone. However if there is some good progress and dare I say playoffs maybe this rookie GM that Linden hired will finally show some growth in his most deficient area, asset management. Perhaps we will finally see some of these mid round prospects push from below and make guys like Sutter, Sven and Tanev expendable by the end of this season