The Vancouver Canucks hired Jim Benning to be their new general manager this week after the 51-year-old spent nearly seven years with the Boston Bruins. During his time with the B’s, Benning ascended to assistant GM while the Bruins simultaneously ascended to the top of the NHL.
That led some people to say there is a “Boston model” when it comes to team-building in the league. The results speak for themselves. Naturally, teams would try to poach people within the Bruins, and with Benning near the top of that hockey hierarchy, he was a hot commodity for open GM jobs. It was only a matter of time before he left.
Benning said Friday, though, that he’s not really sure what the “Boston model” means.
“We want to be a four-line team,” Benning said in a video question-and-answer session hosted by the Canucks. “You watch in the playoffs every night, and these final four teams have four lines that chip in and contribute to the winning of the team. We want four lines that are going to go out and work hard. Our third and fourth lines, we want them scoring or playing physical or zone time — that’s what we’re looking to do.
“As far as the Boston model is concerned, I’m not really sure what the Boston model is, to be honest with you. What we tried to do in Boston was we tried to make the playoffs every year and we started integrating young players into our mix. Our team, over time, they learned how to win, and our young players learned how to win. Now they’re at the point where those young players are now the veteran players. When (Canucks president Trevor Linden) was talking about sustainable winning, they have a chance to win every year, and that’s what we’re trying to do around here.”
Or, to put it another way, the Boston model is to build a good team with good players — preferably a lot of those good players.
Benning doesn’t have to do a ton of work to get the Canucks back on the winning track. He’s inheriting a team that’s just a few years removed from the Stanley Cup Final. They finished eight points out of the Western Conference playoffs this season, but now that they have a new management team in place, the Canucks can turn their focus to finding a new head coach and adding depth, especially in their forward lines.
Photo via Twitter/@VanCanucks