Despite the unexpected departure of team president Trevor Linden, Vancouver Canucks fans shouldn’t buy into the rumours that general manager Jim Benning is fighting for his job in 2019.
The Vancouver Canucks made a shocking announcement last week in that franchise legend Trevor Linden was stepping down after a four-year tenure as team president.
Because Linden and general manager Jim Benning developed a seemingly strong and successful working relationship, some can’t help but wonder if the latter’s job is in danger entering the 2018-19 season.
But Benning was given a multi-year extension in February, a strong telling sign that ownership is confident in his direction with this team. Even though Linden is gone, you shouldn’t believe for an instant that Benning is on the hot seat next year.
In a 12-tweet statement, team chairman and governor Francesco Aquilini expressed confidence in Benning.
So you have the extension and a thumbs up from ownership. Still believe Benning is on the hot seat for next season? I know many of you don’t think he’s worthy of the GM role, but don’t get your hopes up that he’ll be shown the door if 2018-19 is a disappointment.
Even though this rebuild should have started right when Linden and Benning were hired, the Canucks are finally on the right path towards relevance again. Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser are an exciting young duo in their own. Elias Pettersson, Olli Juolevi, Jonathan Dahlen and Quinn Hughes have yet to play an NHL game. Adam Gaudette and Thatcher Demko are just getting started, too.
Benning has managed the salary cap well, and the Canucks have plenty of room to make some impact moves in the coming seasons. Like what he’s done or not, Benning has this team on the right path.
Ownership is clearly committed to the plan Benning has laid out, and there’s no reason to believe they’ll let him go in 2019. If the Canucks fall to the bottom of the standings again, there’s this thing called the draft lottery that might be friendly to them for once.
Yes, Benning has made some questionable trades and free agent signings, but his excellent drafting has given Vancouver its best prospect pool in franchise history. Even if Linden is out, don’t kid yourself into believing Benning is on the hot seat next year. He’s as safe as almost any other general manager in the league right now.