NHL Investigating Jim Benning for Tampering: Report

According to a report from TVA’s Renaud Lavoie, Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning has found himself in some hot water with the league for the second offseason in a row. Last summer the league essentially subtweeted Benning in an email reminding general managers of the rules on entry-level contracts after Benning attempted to sign Nikita Tryamkin to a deal that was longer than is allowed under the CBA.

Now, the league is looking into a complaint of tampering against the Vancouver GM, with regards to statements he’s made about Steven Stamkos and P.K. Subban.

On Thursday Benning told TSN radio 1040 that he would be calling about Stamkos on Saturday and that he’s had talks with the Montreal Canadiens about P.K. Subban. Many have speculated that the revelation about Subban may have frustrated Montreal GM Marc Bergevin, who was likely put in an awkward position with his star defenseman.

While that was frustrating, it’s the Stamkos bit that might be the primary cause of trouble. Stamkos is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, though he’s still said to be negotiating with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Starting Saturday, other teams can begin talking with pending free agents and their agents. Making a public statement like that could be seen as making a pitch to a player and letting their intent to offer him a deal be known.

“He’s going to have lots of interest from lots of teams throughout the league. There will be teams that have more money to spend than we do, but we’re going to talk to him and see where it goes,” Benning told TSN. He also took the opportunity to mention that he plans on calling the agent of Milan Lucic, though Los Angeles general manager Dean Lombardi has given Lucic and his agent permission to begin talking with other teams.

The Lightning are unlikely to have given other teams permission to talk with Stamkos, given their situation. The Canucks have not responded to a request for comment on the allegations.