Jim Benning introduced as Canucks' GM: 'This is a team we can turn around in a hurry'
Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden introduced the team's new general manager to the media Friday. Jim Benning answered questions in regards to the current state of the team and his philosophy moving forward.
Benning, a former Canucks defenseman, began by saying "[Vancouver] is a great hockey market, the fans are passionate and I'm really happy come to back here." He also came right out and said he likes what he has to work with, despite the disappointing results in 2013-14.
When asked to expand, Benning added the following:
We need to get back to what we're good at. This organization needs to play an up-tempo, fast skating skilled game. Before last season, this team had ... a relentless attitude that they were going to skate and to wear teams down and to score. For whatever reason that didn't happen last year, but I'm hoping that, with Trevor, we hire the right coach for this group and get back to that moving forward.
Furthermore, Benning said his "vision" is that the Canucks will become become a four-line team: "We want our third and fourth lines to have an important role in the team winning... When the third and fourth line play, (they should) get some offensive zone time and spend some time in the other team's end."
When asked about the so-called "Boston model," Benning said "I never heard of [it] until I came out here, to be honest." He did, however, qualify that by adding, "we want to start integrating young players into our lineup; that's what we did in Boston, that's what we'll try to do here."
When asked about the possibility of trades over the summer, Benning stated, "We won’t be afraid to approach players and ask them to waive their no-trade [clauses]." He added this with specific reference to Ryan Kesler:
Finally, when asked about the realm of advanced stats in hockey - always a hot topic at these kinds of events - Benning responded with the following: "My feeling is until you can quantify courage and character on the amateur scouting side of it, analytics don't really help with that. On the pro side, they do. Everybody is playing in the same league and you can make comparisons."
Benning concluded the proceedings by saying he and Linden have "compiled a list of names and will probably start the interview process next week" as they seek to fill the vacant head coaching position. He added, "We’re going to work hard to get this thing back in the right direction."
With the entry draft coming up at the end of June, Benning will indeed be hitting the road running.
The full press conference can be viewed here.