Report: Benning could face tampering punishment

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Everyone knows that Steven Stamkos can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. It is the furthest thing from a secret in the NHL.

But it’s not July 1 yet, and the interview period for UFAs doesn’t start until tomorrow, so when Canucks GM Jim Benning went on the radio yesterday and said he planned to speak with Stamkos’ agent about possibly signing in Vancouver, it may technically have been tampering with Tampa Bay Lightning property.

Benning also said in that same radio interview that he’d spoken with the Montreal Canadiens about defenseman P.K. Subban, who’s been the subject of ongoing trade rumors.

According to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports, the league is looking into it:

There’s a precedent for punishing comments that could be deemed tampering.

In 2009, the Toronto Maple Leafs were fined an undisclosed amount when then-head coach Ron Wilson went on the radio prior to July 1 and said there was “a real possibility I would think that we would be going after the Sedins” in free agency.

The Canucks, of course, ended up re-signing the twins, who remain in Vancouver to this day.