Canucks continue overhaul by parting ways with Benning
Benning had held the position with the organization since 2014. The club also relieved Travis Green of his head coaching duties earlier Sunday and hired Bruce Boudreau to take over. Assistant GM John Weisbrod and assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner were also let go.
"First, I want to sincerely thank Jim, John, Travis and Nolan for their passion and dedication to the organization and our community," Canucks chairman Francesco Aquilini said in a statement. "We are grateful for everything they have done for the Canucks during their tenure, and we wish them nothing but success in the future.
"These are difficult decisions, but we believed we would have a competitive group this year. As a result, I'm extremely disappointed in how the team has performed so far. I'm making these changes because we want to build a team that competes for championships and it's time for new leadership to help take us there."
Stan Smyl will be in charge of hockey operations in the interim as Vancouver searches for new leadership. Ryan Johnson, Chris Gear, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and Doug Jarvis will also aid in the day-to-day operations of the club.
During Benning's reign, which dated back to 2014-15, the Canucks owned the NHL's sixth-worst points percentage (.487) while holding a 242-257-61 record.
Benning is responsible for drafting a number of franchise stars, including Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, Thatcher Demko, and Brock Boeser. He also acquired J.T. Miller from the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2019.
Benning handed out a number of contracts that weighed the team down during his tenure. He signed Loui Eriksson to a six-year, $36-million pact in 2016, Brandon Sutter to a five-year, $21-million deal in 2015, and Antoine Roussel and Jay Beagle to identical four-year, $12-million contracts in 2018.
However, the Canucks only made the playoffs twice under Benning, advancing to the second round in 2020.
Despite the moves, the Canucks have had a miserable start to the 2021-22 campaign, owning an 8-15-2 record and losing 10 of their last 13 games. Vancouver fans recently showed their disdain for the general manager by chanting "Fire Benning" at home games. One supporter even tossed a Canucks jersey on the ice on Saturday night.