Canucks re-sign GM Benning to rebuild team
VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks have given general manager Jim Benning more time to try and rebuild the struggling NHL franchise.
Benning, who was in the last year of his current deal, has been signed to a multi-year contract extension, the team said Wednesday.
The deal is believed to be three years.
The Canucks are currently mired near the bottom of the NHL standings and are in danger of missing the playoffs for the third consecutive year.
“It’s been hard,” Benning said about rebuilding the franchise. “Losing is never fun. I knew coming it was going to be a lot of work.
“The tough part of it is the development. If you draft well, the development of those players, you can’t seem to get them up and going fast enough.”
As the season progressed questions began to surface if the Canucks would keep Benning or decide to head in another direction.
Trevor Linden, the Canucks’ president of hockey operations, praised the work Benning has done and said it was important to maintain continuity moving forward.
“It’s a results orientated business,” Linden told a news conference at Rogers Arena. “I know there has been some challenges in that regard. I also recognize there is a lot of good things happening in our organization.
“Allowing this management group, who I think has continued to do things better, to continue on that path, is important.”
Vancouver took a 22-28-6 record into Wednesday night’s game against the Florida Panthers. The team’s 50 points left Vancouver 14th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference and 28th out of 31 overall.
The Canucks are one of the lowest scoring teams in the league and have just four wins in their previous 11 games.
Still, Benning sees some progress.
Right winger Brock Boeser leads the team with 26 goals and 48 points and is a candidate for rookie of the year. Bo Horvat has established himself as the team’s top-line centre and found chemistry with winger Sven Baertschi, who came to the team in a trade engineered by Benning.
BYFUGLIEN, BOWEY FINED
Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien is among three NHL players fined for penalties today.
Byfuglien is facing a $5,000 fine for slashing Washington Capitals forward Jay Beagle during a game Tuesday.
The Capitals’ Madison Bowey is also facing a fine of nearly $2000 for interference in the same game.
Las Vegas Golden Knights’ Deryk Engelland is facing a fine of just over $2,500 for cross checking in a Tuesday game against Chicago.
Deryk Engelland of the Vegas Golden Knights was fined $2,500 for cross checking during a Tuesday game.