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Linden leaving Canucks as executive

Was president of hockey operations for four seasons after playing for Vancouver

by Mike Battaglino / NHL.com Staff Writer

Trevor Linden is leaving his role as president of hockey operations for the Vancouver Canucks.

Linden, a former Canucks player, was hired April 9, 2014.

"This team and this game hold a special place in my life and I leave very optimistic about the direction the Canucks are headed," Linden said. "... I love this city and this province (British Columbia), and I will always have a special relationship with this team and Canucks fans. I am going to step back from the spotlight for a while and enjoy the summer with my young family."

Linden, 48, oversaw coaching, scouting, player development, and minor league affiliations and operations. He also was an NHL alternate governor and the former captain had his No. 16 retired by the Canucks.

"There aren't many individuals in sport more connected to a team and a community than Trevor is in Vancouver," Canucks managing partner Francesco Aquilini said in a statement. "The Canucks are entering an exciting new era thanks in large part to Trevor's leadership and hard work. I thank Trevor for all of his accomplishments and I am confident that (general manager) Jim Benning and his staff will continue that momentum in the months ahead."

Benning will lead hockey operations, Aquilini said in a tweet. Linden hired Benning to replace Mike Gillis prior to the 2014-15 season, and Benning signed a new contract this February.

"Jim and (coach) Travis Green will continue rebuilding the team as per the plan we have in place," Aquilini wrote. "A new president will be named in due course."

Vancouver has made the Stanley Cup Playoffs once in the past five seasons, not in the past three, and has not won a series since reaching the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, which it lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games.

"I am excited about the highly skilled group of prospects and young stars that we have assembled," Linden said. "From ownership to hockey and business operations, the club is as strong as it's been in years. Above it all, I can feel our fans' sense of hope again and I know the future for the Canucks is very bright."

In five NHL Drafts under Linden, including 2018, only forwards Brock Boeser (62 of 71 games last season) and Jake Virtanen (140 NHL games) have become an NHL regular with Vancouver. In the three drafts prior to this year, other than Boeser, only forward Adam Gaudette (five games), out of 21 picks, has played in the NHL, according to Hockey-reference.com.

"A rebuild is a long, slow, gradual process," Aquilini wrote. "Everybody needs to be united behind the same vision and pulling in the same direction."

Linden, a center, retired after playing for Vancouver in 2007-08. In 19 NHL seasons, he had 867 points (375 goals, 492 assists) playing 1,382 regular-season games with the Canucks, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders and Washington Capitals.

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