Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini gave a rare public interview this week when he appeared on Sportsnet 650 radio in Vancouver to discuss, among other things, the future of GM Jim Benning.
It was revealed that Benning is in the final year of his deal and that there’s no agreement in place between the GM and the club beyond this season. “With Jim, those contract talks are private,” Aquilini explained. “It's not something I want to discuss here.
Later in the week, Vancouver Province columnist Tony Gallagher appeared on TSN 1040 where he picked apart Aquilini’s words, inferring that Benning may not be in the team’s future plans.
“If the Aquilinis were perfectly fine with Benning, he would've been renewed already,” Gallagher suggested. “I think Jim Benning is an enormous asset to the team, I really do. Even if you have to pay him massively to keep him around, you're well advised to do so, based on the Boeser experience, and what he's come up with at the draft. “
“But he's not a guy to run your team, and I think he's demonstrated that over and over again. They need a guy to come in and actually manage the team. Should they keep Jim Benning? They should probably go through a wall to try and keep him. But is he a general manager? I don't know.”
Interesting. Benning out as GM, but maybe he sticks around as a head scout? This seems like a natural fit… but might Benning have other opportunities elsewhere? Would he be content to take a back seat after driving the bus for four years already?