"There were moments of clarity for me in speaking with Jim that we just really connected on a hockey level," said Canucks President Trevor Linden. "Our beliefs on how success is built in the National Hockey League were very aligned."
Benning comes to Vancouver by way of Boston. He was named to the Bruins' Assistant GM on July 14, 2007, and first joined the organization in July 2006 as the team's Director of Player Personnel.
"Jim is an extremely hard worker, he recognizes how much commitment it takes to build a championship team," said Linden. "He's a guy that doesn't have an ego, I think he's looking forward to rolling up his sleeves and getting to work, and he's a very down to earth dedicated person, so he's going to fit great in the structure with the organizational values that we want to create here. I'm looking forward to working with him."
With Benning in as GM, he and Linden will work together to reshape the Canucks' roster.
During the season, the Canucks almost traded defenseman Alexander Edler to the Boston Bruins and forward Ryan Kesler to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and both deals are expected to be revisited this off-season under Benning's guidance.
Benning and Linden will also work towards hiring a new head coach.
It's believed former Nashville Predators head coach Barry Trotz and current Texas Stars (AHL) coach Willie Desjardins are in the running for the job.
Benning, an Edmonton native, was drafted sixth overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft and spent five seasons in Toronto before he and Dan Hodgson were sent to the Canucks in a trade for Rick Lanz in 1986. Benning played 241 games with the Canucks, scoring 15 goals with 55 assists for 70 points and was named the teamís top defenceman in 1987-88.