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10 years ago today, the Vancouver Canucks fired Mike Gillis as general manager

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Mike Gould
1 month ago
It’s now been exactly 10 years since the Vancouver Canucks parted ways with Mike Gillis at the tail end of the disastrous 2013-14 season.
Gillis served as president and general manager of the Canucks for six seasons and helped guide the club to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final and two Presidents’ Trophies.
The Canucks initially hired Gillis to replace outgoing GM Dave Nonis on April 23, 2008. The Sudbury-born executive quickly made significant changes to the team, signing Dan Hamhuis, Mikael Samuelsson, and Manny Malhotra, and trading for Christian Ehrhoff and Keith Ballard.
Gillis also succeeded in retaining the services of the Sedin twins and Roberto Luongo as pending unrestricted free agents, although the Luongo contract ended up going down in infamy in Vancouver — both because it allegedly “sucked”, and that it raised cap recapture charges for the team a decade later.
Although many of the Canucks’ core players were already in place when Nonis was fired, Gillis put the finishing touches on a team that became a powerhouse for a short while at the start of the 2010s. He oversaw the transition from the final years of the “West Coast Express” era to a period of success the Canucks have not replicated since.
Although the Canucks came within one game of the Stanley Cup in 2011, they did not win another playoff series during Gillis’ tenure. After being defeated in the first round in both 2012 and 2013, the club missed the playoffs entirely in 2013-14 while tensions boiled over between Gillis, new head coach John Tortorella, Luongo, and the Canucks fanbase. The result: Luongo was traded back to Florida, Gillis was fired in April, and Tortorella followed him out the door in May.
Trevor Linden took over as president of hockey operations, and the Canucks replaced Gillis in the GM chair with Jim Benning, who had previously won the Stanley Cup in 2011 as an assistant GM with the Bruins. Benning’s time in Vancouver was far less successful. The team reached the playoffs just twice in eight seasons with him at the helm, and he was ultimately replaced in 2021 by the tandem of Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin. Benning’s poor tenure has caused many Canucks fans to re-evaluate Gillis’ run as GM in a more positive light.
Since leaving Vancouver, Gillis has not held another GM job. He has taught at the University of Victoria and has also served as a consultant with the NHLPA on business development. The 65-year-old executive still regularly grants interviews about his time with the Canucks.
These days, the Canucks are on the verge of doing something they haven’t done since Gillis’ time: winning their division. With only a handful of games remaining in the 2023-24 season, the Canucks are just three points up on the Edmonton Oilers in the Pacific Division standings.

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