Jim Benning: ‘There is no my side of the story’ regarding Linden’s comments about Canucks drafting Pettersson

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Nation World HQ
5 months ago
Former Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning hasn’t done much media since he was fired in late 2021.
In fact, his first public comments about his former team have all come out in the past 24 hours.
But first, some backstory.
This story was all started when former Canucks president Trevor Linden — who hired Benning as the team’s GM — made an appearance on Sportsnet 650‘s Canucks Central on Wednesday afternoon.
In his appearance, Linden said there was a significant difference between how the team approached the draft in 2016, when they picked Olli Juolevi at No. 5 overall, and in 2017, when they nabbed franchise cornerstone Elias Pettersson.
“I wasn’t happy with the way our process was in 2016,” Linden said on Wednesday. “That was the first year Judd [Brackett, former Canucks amateur scouting director] had taken over the reins and I did not like how our meetings went.
“In 2017, I really pushed hard to have Judd really step up and really run a robust-type meeting, in that we could really put our thoughts and feelings on the table,” Linden continued. “I really pushed hard against that management group to have Judd and his guys make the pick.
“Jim wasn’t sold [on Pettersson]. You know what, if Jim had his choice, we probably would’ve taken a different player.”
Here’s the audio version of Linden’s comments:
Today, Linden made another media appearance, this time on Donnie and Dhali — The Team on Chek TV. In that hit, Linden spoke about his relationship with Benning, and talked about his mindset of “looking 4-5 years down the road” and what was “in the best interest of the hockey club”.
“Ah, you know, I mean, I think that as time went on, we were going in kind of two different directions,” Linden said of his relationship with the former GM. “I was more concerned with the vision and kind of the long-term play. I mean, I went to work every day thinking about what was best for the organization and trying to look three, four, or five years down the road. And I’ve said, I didn’t need a job at that point, and I wasn’t there to try to keep my job or save my job. So, I was looking for what was in the best interest of the hockey club. It’s not a secret, we had different ideas on how we should do things.”
Yesterday, Benning responded to Linden’s comments through Hockey Night in Canada’s Raja Shergill. Benning called the rumours that he liked another player more than Pettersson “simply not true,” and that he told Aquilini the night before the draft that the pick was Pettersson.
Linden’s telling of events essentially confirmed a long-running theory in many Canucks circles that Benning was against picking Pettersson in 2017. One ex-Canucks scout, Jonathan Bates, seemed to express relief on Twitter about Linden “finally” getting the truth out:
On Thursday, Benning told Matt Sekeres of Sekeres & Price that he doesn’t have a side of the story on the matter.
“There is no my side of the story,” Benning told Sekeres. “It was a collaborative effort from the GM, Assistant GM, Head Scout, Crossover and European scouts to make that pick. I’m happy the team is playing well.”
Neither Linden nor Benning have worked in the NHL since their departures from the Canucks.

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