Vancouver Canucks fire assistant GMs, director of player personnel

The Vancouver Canucks have fired assistant GMs Laurence Gilman and Lorne Henning, as well as director of player personnel Eric Crawford. The Canucks announced the firings Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours after trading Zack Kassian to Montreal.

Days after the Vancouver Canucks parted ways with defenseman Kevin Bieksa and goaltender Eddie Lack and less than 24 hours after trading winger Zack Kassian, the club has announced it’s making changes to its front office.

The Canucks announced Thursday afternoon that they have fired VP of hockey operations and assistant general manager Laurence Gilman, assistant general manager Lorne Henning and director of player personnel Eric Crawford.

“On behalf of our entire organization I would like to sincerely thank Laurence, Lorne and Eric for their commitment and dedication to the Vancouver Canucks,” said president of hockey operations Trevor Linden in a statement. “They have been important members of our staff for a long time and made significant contributions to the success of this team. Further still, they are great people and respected members of the hockey community.

“We have made some difficult decisions to our roster and staff recently after a thorough review of the team. These are not easy decisions, nor were they taken lightly. But they’re important as we transition this team and build for the future.”

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The trio of firings comes as somewhat of a surprise, especially considering in the past three days the team has swung two major deals and have been active in the free agent market, albeit making only minor signings.

After missing the post-season in 2013-14, Vancouver finished second in the Pacific Division in 2014-15 with a record 48-29-5 and went into the post-season with home-ice advantage over the Calgary Flames. The Canucks did lose to the underdog Flames in six games, but, even still, the firings are a bit shocking.

Even with Gilman, Henning and Crawford being relieved of their duties, it appears GM Jim Benning is safe, at least for now. Benning came to the Canucks from the Boston Bruins, where he was the assistant GM under Peter Chiarelli. He became Vancouver’s GM in May 2014 and has overseen the trades of Bieksa, Kassian and Ryan Kesler.

The Canucks’ off-season signings thus far include defensemen Matt Bartkowski, Taylor Fedun and Yannick Weber, as well as goaltender Richard Bachman.