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May 26, 2014 | 10:10am ET
Benning already hard at work
TheFourthPeriod.com

Jim Benning officially came on board as the Canucks' new General Manager last week and he's already started to piece together a game plan for this off-season.

Benning indicated the importance of building through the NHL Draft, and with his first Draft at the helm of the Canucks next month, he'll quickly put his stamp on the organization.

But aside from the Draft, Benning will be focusing on retooling his roster for the 2014-15 season.

The Canucks almost traded forward Ryan Kesler and defenseman Alexander Edler prior to the trade deadline in early-March, and it's believed teams will come calling very quickly, if they haven't already done so, and re-open trade talks.

"I like our core players. Our core players, I feel, are high-character people. I'm happy with that part of it," Benning told the Vancouver Sun. "Some of the players, for whatever reason, just didn't have a good year last year. But it's a good team, though. It's a talented team and I feel confident these guys are going to have a good year next year.

"We're going to be about hard work. We're going to be a team here. We're going to ask our players to be selfless and play hard for one another. And us, as a management team, are going to be the same way."

Benning isn't expected to blow-up the entire roster, but a few trades and free agent signings are likely in the cards this off-season.

The Canucks have between $8.6 million and $11.7 million in available salary cap space, depending on what the final cap number for the 2014-15 campaign rests at. Benning and his staff will need to be creative in how they make moves, but could also free up additional space by buying out a player.

The Canucks have one compliance buy out position left open and could use that to buy out a player like David Booth, whom the club almost bought out last summer but was unable to due to the fact that he was injured.

"We need to get back to what we're good at," Benning said. "This organization needs to play an up-tempo, fast, skating, skilled game. Before last season, this team had like an attitude about them, almost a relentless attitude, that they were going to skate to wear teams down and to score. For whatever reason, that didn't happen last year."


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