Welcome back: Benning inks multi-year deal as Vancouver GM


Jim Benning is officially on his way back to Vancouver.

The former Canucks defenseman — who played with president of hockey ops Trevor Linden  — has agreed to become the 11th general manager in Vancouver franchise history, per TSN’s Darren Dreger.

Benning, 51, has spent the last seven seasons serving as Peter Chiarelli’s assistant in Boston and prior to that, worked as the director of amateur scouting in Buffalo (he also served one year in Anaheim’s scouting department). Benning was lauded for his success at the draft table with the Sabres, chiefly responsible for the club selecting the likes of  Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville, Derek Roy, Paul Gaustad, Daniel Paille and Dennis Wideman.

Per Dreger and Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy, Benning will be introduced as the new Canucks GM on Friday.

Inheriting the gig from outgoing GM Mike Gillis — who was dismissed six weeks ago — Benning will have plenty to do over the next short while. He needs to find a new head coach to replace John Tortorella and also begin working on a strategy for the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, set for June 27 in Philadelphia, in which Vancouver holds the sixth overall selection.

Benning will also have three key RFA contracts to negotiate — Zack Kassian, Jordan Schroeder and Chris Tanev — and could be active in the trade market, with the likes of Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler rumored as potential targets.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit
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What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.

Flames acquire Freddie Hamilton, brother of Dougie

Freddie Hamilton
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Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.

Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.

Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.

This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.