VANCOUVER – The Mike Gillis era is long gone now for the Vancouver Canucks.
On Thursday the Canucks cleaned out their front office, firing three Gillis regime holdovers in vice-president of hockey operations and assistant general manager Laurence Gilman, assistant GM Lorne Henning and director of player personnel Eric Crawford.
Gilman joined the Canucks when Gillis became GM in 2008, and Henning was promoted to assistant GM at that time. Crawford, the younger brother of former coach Marc Crawford, had been with the organization for 16 years.
“We have made some difficult decisions to our roster and staff recently after a thorough review of the team,” Canucks president Trevor Linden said in a statement. “These are not easy decisions, nor were they taken lightly. But they’re important as we transition this team and build for the future.”
Linden and current GM Jim Benning have used the word “transition” to describe the Canucks in many aspects. Trading defenceman Kevin Bieksa to the Anaheim Ducks for a second-round pick and other roster moves this off-season have exemplified that strategy.
The Gillis regime was responsible for the goaltending fiasco that led to trading Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils at the 2013 draft and then Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers at the 2014 trade deadline.
Gillis was fired last summer when Linden took over as president. Benning was then hired as GM.
Gilman spent 13 years with the Winnipeg Jets/Arizona Coyotes organization before he joined the Canucks. The well-respected hockey man will likely not be out of work long.
Henning, who was the team’s primary liaison with its AHL affiliate in Utica, started in Vancouver in 2005 and was promoted to assistant GM when Gillis took over.
“They have been important members of our staff for a long time and made significant contributions to the success of this team,” Linden said. “Further still, they are great people and respected members of the hockey community.”