Canucks Commit To GM Jim Benning With Three-Year Extension
The Canucks signed GM Jim Benning to a three-year extension over the weekend, and while the deal was "anticipated," it was also a "surprising and impressive" move by team Chair Francesco Aquilini, according to Iain MacIntyre of SPORTSNET.ca. Benning's contract was up at the end of the '19-20 season, and he was always "getting an extension." But "nobody foresaw" a three-year deal. The move also comes after Aquilini wrote in a letter to season-ticket holders last spring that the team is "on the right path" after missing the playoffs for four straight seasons (SPORTSNET.ca, 8/17).
CHANGE IN STRATEGY? In Vancouver, Ed Willes wrote the Aquilinis have "satisfied the baseline requirements of ownership." They have "spent to the cap virtually every year," and their commitment to the franchise has "not wavered." But since the family bought 50% of the team in '04 and the entire operation in '06, the Canucks have "never settled on one man or one plan as the foundation of their organization." Instead, they have "left the impression the team is run according to ownership’s impulses and whims and not careful strategic planning." Willes: "Maybe Jim Benning’s contract extension changes that." His deal "would appear to endorse his vision for the franchise which, after five inglorious years, finally appears to be coming into focus" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 8/18).