Struggling Canucks hearth GM Jim Benning, head coach Travis Inexperienced |

Struggling Canucks fire GM Jim Benning, head coach Travis Green  |

2021-12-06 13:08:26

The beleaguered Vancouver Canucks have cleaned home, together with firing head coach Travis Inexperienced and long-time normal supervisor Jim Benning.

The crew confirmed the transfer in addition to the firings of assistant normal supervisor John Weisbrod and assistant coach Nolan Baumgarner in a press release posted on twitter late Sunday night.

Scott Walker was named assistant coach.

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The dismissals observe one other dismal efficiency Saturday the place the Pittsburgh Penguins routed the Canucks 4-1 in Vancouver, eliciting boos and chants of “hearth Benning!”

Benning, 58, was identified for some stable draft picks and questionable free-agent signings over his eight seasons as GM.

Vancouver is off to a tough begin this yr, falling to final spot within the Pacific Division with a 8-15-2 document.

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The outcomes observe a giant low season the place Benning revamped the roster by way of contract buyouts, free agent signings and a blockbuster commerce that noticed the Canucks ship draft picks and a trio of underperforming forwards to the Arizona Coyotes for feisty winger Conor Garland and veteran defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Benning stated he was caught off guard by how his crew began the season and known as the “hearth Benning!” chants at current house video games “upsetting.”

“I believe as a administration crew, these seven-plus years we’ve labored actually arduous to draft properly, develop our gamers correctly. I believe it’s carrying on all of us. There’s not one faction from possession to the administration crew to the coaches, it’s carrying on us,” he instructed reporters on Nov. 18.

“The followers are annoyed. I get their frustration. We’re annoyed. We have to determine this out and get again on monitor and play like I imagine we’re able to.”

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The Canucks made two playoff appearances throughout Benning’s tenure, together with the 2019-20 season when the squad shocked many within the Edmonton bubble. Vancouver beat the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues earlier than being eradicated by the Vegas Golden Knights in a gritty seven-game sequence.

The crew couldn’t observe up the efficiency within the pandemic-condensed 2020-21 marketing campaign, although, ending final within the seven-team all-Canadian North Division with a 23-29-4 document and lacking the playoffs for the fifth time in six years.

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The season was tough for the Canucks each on and off the ice, with a COVID-19 outbreak sweeping by way of the locker room in late March.

Twenty-one gamers and 4 members of the teaching workers examined optimistic for the virus with many experiencing signs, together with fever, shortness of breath and extreme fatigue. The wives and youngsters of a number of gamers additionally fell unwell.

The outbreak compelled the NHL to postpone a number of Canucks video games and the crew didn’t play for greater than three weeks.

A busy low season adopted. Benning shipped Vancouver’s first-round draft decide _ ninth general _ to the Coyotes for Ekman-Larsson and Garland, and freed up some cap area by sending underperforming forwards Jay Beagle, Loui Eriksson and Antoine Roussel to the desert.

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He additionally purchased out the contracts of veteran goalie Braden Holtby and homegrown winger Jake Virtanen, and leveraged the growth draft so as to add ahead Jason Dickinson in a cope with the Dallas Stars.

Free company noticed Benning signal depth expertise, together with netminder Jaroslav Halak (previously of the Boston Bruins) and defenceman Tucker Poolman (Winnipeg Jets), however he needed to wait till halfway by way of the pre-season to shore up agreements with two of the crew’s high younger abilities.

Whereas Benning stated work on new contracts for restricted free brokers Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes was ongoing all summer season, the offers weren’t signed till Oct. 3, with Pettersson getting a three-year settlement value US$7.35 million a yr and Hughes signing a six-year contract for $7.85 million a yr.

Pettersson has struggled for the reason that signing, with simply 4 targets and eight assists in 25 video games.

Benning was clear forward of the 2021-22 season that he anticipated the Canucks to be again within the playoffs.

“I believe our youthful gamers now, they’ve gotten older now. They’ve been within the league now two, three, 4 years. It’s time for them to step up,” he stated because the crew kicked off coaching camp. “We’ve seen some guys step up from our youthful group final yr and so they’ve bought to proceed to get higher. However our objective this yr is to be a playoff crew.”

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Initially employed in 2014, Benning signed a three-year extension with the Canucks in August 2019.

“The possession, I believe, is proud of the course of the crew,” he stated after the deal was introduced.

Earlier than becoming a member of the Canucks, Benning served as an assistant GM with the Boston Bruins for seven seasons, incomes a Stanley Cup with the crew in 2011.

The Edmonton native additionally spent 12 years because the Buffalo Sabres’ director of novice scouting, and performed 12 seasons on the blue line for the Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Benning has been credited with drafting a few of Vancouver’s up-and-coming stars, together with Pettersson, who was named the NHL’s rookie of the yr in 2019.

The GM’s work through the 2020 low season raised eyebrows, nevertheless, because the Canucks opted to permit a number of free brokers to stroll, together with star goalie Jacob Markstrom, veteran defenceman Chris Tanev and sniper Tyler Toffoli.

Benning instructed a Vancouver newspaper in February 2021 that the membership “ran out of time” because it labored to resign Toffoli, who was introduced in on the commerce deadline to assist Vancouver make a playoff push.

Toffoli as an alternative signed a four-year, US$17-million cope with the Montreal Canadiens. He had 44 factors (28 targets, 16 assists) in 52 video games within the 2020-21 season, together with 11 in 5 video games towards Vancouver.

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Benning additionally repeatedly confronted criticism for including long-term, big-money contracts in each trades and free company that wolfed up cap area however failed to supply on-ice help for the membership’s younger expertise.

One deal that drew ire is the signing of Eriksson, who got here to Vancouver as a free agent in 2016, signing a US$36-million deal. On the time, Benning known as the Swedish left-winger “an elite scorer and play maker with nice defensive instincts.”

Eriksson did not crack a 30-point season with the Canucks and was repeatedly wholesome scratched within the 2020-21 season.

Some trades made throughout Benning’s tenure haven’t panned out as deliberate, both.

He was chargeable for dealing former first-round decide Jared McCann to the Florida Panthers for defenceman Erik Gudbranson in Might 2016. The GM admitted on the time that the value was steep, however stated the commerce added a top-four blue liner to his crew.

Gudbranson suffered a season-ending wrist harm his first yr in Vancouver and put up lacklustre numbers in his return. He posted eight factors, 83 penalty minutes and a minus-27 ranking in 2018-19 earlier than he was despatched to the Pittsburgh Penguins for ahead Tanner Pearson on the commerce deadline.

–With information from International Information

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