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Canucks sign general manager Benning to multiyear contract

Vancouver has reached playoffs once in his four seasons

NHL.com @NHL

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning signed a multiyear contract Wednesday.

"I'm excited about the direction of our team and the depth and talent we continue to build," Benning said. "I believe we are on the right track and I am pleased to continue the work we started four years ago when we set out to build a championship team."

Benning is in his fourth season as general manager of the Canucks after replacing Mike Gillis, who was fired after the 2013-14 season, and is in the final season of his contract. Before coming to Vancouver, Benning spent eight seasons as assistant GM of the Boston Bruins and helped them defeat the Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

Vancouver president Trevor Linden, during the press conference to announce Benning's contract and in a letter sent to season ticket holders Wednesday morinng, asked for patience while the Canucks build around their young players.

"Being competitive but not sacrificing what we feel is the future," Linden said at the press conference. "We need to continue to provide an environment for our young players if they can be competitive and at the same time be patient with our young players. Whether it be free agency is an opportunity to add to your team, I don't think that is where teams are built. Teams are built being patient with your young players, getting them up and going. It takes some time."

Video: Luke Fox talks about Jim Benning's contract extension

In the letter, Linden mentioned the play of forward Brock Boeser, who leads NHL rookies with 26 goals, as a sign of brighter future.

"Moving forward, the next several months will be important as we add even more prospects to our pool and build on the positive steps we have seen this year," Linden wrote. "We still need to be patient, but I am excited about our journey ahead together."

The Canucks reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Benning's first season as GM but have finished next to last in the Western Conference in each of the past two seasons. Under first-year coach Travis Green, they are 22-28-6 this season, 18 points behind the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference, entering their game against the Florida Panthers at Rogers Arena on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; SN, SN360, FS-F, NHL.TV).

"Great news, great news personally," Green said of the Benning extension. "We have the same vision, same outlook, same ideas on what we need to do to get where we need to go."

Benning has brought in a number of prospects, most notably Boeser. He has traded forwards Jannik Hansen and Alexandre Burrows for forward prospects Nikolay Goldobin and Jonathan Dahlen, and selected center Elias Pettersson with the No. 5 pick of the 2017 NHL Draft.

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