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Starting Over: Vancouver Canucks hire Jim Benning as new general manager

VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Canucks have named Jim Benning as their new general manager.

Benning is the first significant hire made by new Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden, who was handed the franchise's reins after the team missed the playoffs for the first time in six years following a disastrous 2013-14 campaign.

Benning spent the last eight seasons with the Boston Bruins, including seven as the club's assistant general manager.

A former Canucks defenceman during his playing days, the 51-year-old Benning is the 11th general manager in franchise history — a post he has never held with an NHL club.

"Jim brings a wealth of hockey experience as a builder and talent evaluator that will benefit this team for years to come," said Linden in a statement. "We are aligned on how we want to build this team and Jim's level of commitment to building a championship team is exciting. I look forward to re-introducing him to Vancouver on Friday."

The Edmonton native replaces Mike Gillis, who was fired as Vancouver's president and general manager a day after the club was eliminated from playoff contention with three games left in the regular season.

Benning's first order of business with the Canucks will be to hire a new head coach after Linden axed John Tortorella earlier this month following one tumultuous campaign.

Benning will also have to prepare for next month's NHL draft and assess a roster that Tortorella accused of being "stale" at his end-of-season press conference.

Apart from helping to shape a Bruins team that defeated the Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup final, Benning's managerial resume also includes 12 seasons with Buffalo Sabres, with eight of those spent as that club's director of amateur scouting.

Selected sixth overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1981 NHL draft, Benning played nine seasons with Toronto and Vancouver, collecting 52 goals and 191 assists in 610 career games.

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