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Benning signs three-year contract to remain Canucks general manager

Have missed playoffs four straight seasons after making it in his first @NHLdotcom

Jim Benning signed a three-year contract extension Tuesday to remain general manager of the Vancouver Canucks through the 2022-23 season.

Benning is entering his sixth season as Canucks GM after replacing Mike Gillis, who was fired after the 2013-14 season. He signed a multiyear contract Feb. 14, 2018, that runs through this season.

Benning said he enjoys his working relationship with Canucks chairman and governor Francesco Aquilini.

"I'm grateful to the Aquilinis and the board for believing in the plan we have and re-signing me," Benning said, "and I appreciate all the support from the fans to understand what we are trying to do with the team, rebuilding the team and stuff. I am happy about the moves we made this summer and excited about training camp getting started in three weeks.

After acquiring forward J.T. Miller in a trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 22, the Canucks added defensemen Tyler Myers and Jordie Benn as free agents July 1 before signing forward Micheal Ferland on July 10.

"I have a real good relationship with Francesco and we have talked about things and the direction of the team," Benning said. "We want to keep improving and we want to take the next step this year, and I think that reflected in the signings we made this summer, some real good guys that are a little bit older to help continue with the growth of our young players. We want to continue going in the right direction, taking the next step and being a competitive team."

Video: Benning discusses contract extension with Canucks

Aquilini said: "It's great that Jim has agreed to continue his work as general manager. His experience, relationships and hockey knowledge are invaluable. We're committed to building a winning team and getting back among the NHL elite for the long term. There are no shortcuts, but we've embarked on a path to get there, and I have confidence in Jim's ability to see it through."

The Canucks reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Benning's first season but finished next to last in the Western Conference in each of the next three seasons before finishing 12th last season.

A fifth straight season without a playoff berth would be the longest stretch in Canucks history.

"This offseason we have shown to the players and our team and our fan base that we are serious about getting better and taking that next step," Benning said in July. "That's going to be our goal every year now going forward, is to try to compete for a playoff spot."

With Benning as GM, the Canucks drafted forwards Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson and Jake Virtanen, defensemen Quinn Hughes and Olli Juolevi, and goalie Thatcher Demko.

Benning was placed in charge of hockey operations when Canucks president Trevor Linden resigned July 25, 2018.

Before coming to Vancouver, Benning was assistant GM of the Boston Bruins for eight seasons and helped them defeat the Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

Tweet from @fr_aquilini: This just went out to our Season Ticket Members. We've started something special here, and I'm confident in Jim's ability to see it through. independent correspondent Kevin Woodley contributed to this report

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