It was widely expected that the NHL would had down some type of punishment after Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning was suspicious of tampering on the subjects of inquiry on trading for Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban and signing free agent prize and captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning Steven Stamkos. That punishment was handed down today.
NHL announces it has fined Canucks $50,000 for Jim Benning’s comments about Stamkos and Subban last week on @TSN1040
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 28, 2016
Canucks Fined $50,000 for GM Jim Benning’s Comments
Entering his third year as GM of the Canucks, Benning did not get off to the best of starts to his third offseason with a team that’s gone through three head coaches, three first round exits, and two campaigns missing the playoffs since losing in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. Regarding the comments made, here is what Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly had to say about the decision:
“Canucks general manager Jim Benning violated the provisions of NHL by-law 15 relating to inappropriate public comments by speaking generally to his club’s potential interest in players under contract to other NHL clubs.”
Benning’s comments came two days before the negotiation process window on June 25th (12:01 AM) in Buffalo on the eve of the 2016 NHL Draft. Regarding Subban, Benning said:
“He’s won the Norris Trophy and is a true number one defenseman, so the price will be obviously high to acquire a player like that. We’ve done our due diligence like we do with all the players that we hear their names are out there. It’s a long way from completing a deal like that.”
Answering a question about whether he would be making a call to Stamkos, Benning again answered:
“Yes. Yes we will and you know, we’re going to get after these next couple days and then we’re going to pick up the phone and call his agent. We’re going to talk to the top couple wingers in this year’s free agent class. We’d like to add one, what I’d call an impact player, 20-to-30 goal scorer to our group and then maybe a secondary piece if we could. He’s gonna have lots of interest from lots of teams throughout the League.There will be teams that have more money to spend than we do. We’re going to talk to him and just see how it goes.”
The Canucks are believed to be a big player in the Milan Lucic sweepstakes as well as they look towards their future. The team could use some goal-scoring help up front, as they had just two 20-goal scorers in the forms of the group’s leading scorer Daniel Sedin and his frequent linemate Jannik Hansen. In fact, they had just six double digit goal scorers with two 30+ point forwards outside of the Sedin Twins.
PR like this doesn’t help them in trying to exactly lure these players into a situation that likely has the makings of a rebuild, however.