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Canucks GM facing tampering punishment for Stamkos, Subban talk

BUFFALO, NY – Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning recently said he’d like to add P.K. Subban or Steven Stamkos to his team this summer. 

Since both are under contract to the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning respectively, the NHL is expected to let Benning and the Vancouver Canucks know what they’re going to lose for this chatter – a load of cash at a minimum, draft picks if the damage was seen to be severe.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Saturday that there have been multiple complaints from teams after Benning told TSN 1040 that on Thursday that he had called the Canadiens to work on a trade for Subban and that he intended to call Stamkos after the NHL Draft.

The Subban tampering violation is cut-and-dry – you can’t discuss another team’s player like that while that player is under contract. The Stamkos one is a little murkier, as the negotiating window for unrestricted free agents opened after the first night of the Draft on June 25. But Benning’s comments were made on June 23.

“I’ve had a discussion both with Jim and with Trevor Linden. They understand where we are on this situation. We talked about announcing something early next week,” said Daly.

Here’s what Benning said about Subban:

“Yeah, there’s lot of teams that have reached out to them, just to find out what it would take to complete a deal of that magnitude. We’ve been one of the teams to talk to them, but we haven’t gone down the path to make believe that’s going to be real or not.

“It’s going to be a high price. He won the Norris Trophy a couple of years ago. He’s a true No. 1 defenseman. The price would be really high to acquire a player like that. We’ve done our due diligence, like we do with all the players whose names are out there. But it’s a long way from completing a trade like that.”

“There’s a lot of moving pieces to that deal, if it was something we decided to do. If it depends on the pick, who is there at No. 5, that could come into it. So we’re nowhere near close.”

And here’s Benning when asked about calling Stamkos:

“Yes, yes we will. We’re going to get through the draft here and we’re going to pick up the phone and talk to his agent. We’d like to add one impact player to our group.”

“We’re going to talk to him, and see where it goes.”  

Daly indicated that there are two types of tampering violations: Ones that are simply violations of the rules, and ones that are more severe.

“We’ve had a couple of instances where team people have spoken out of school. I’m not sure if we’ve announced the penalties associated with them. There’s a lot of different factors involved in something like that. You have to see if there was damage done by the comments. Typically, if it’s perceived as more of a violation than any damage done, it might be less. Really depends on the circumstances,” he said.

For example, then-Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson was fined for breaking tampering bylaw in 2009 by declaring that the Leafs would be going after Henrik and Daniel Sedin in free agency.

The Benning violation would seem to fall into the less severe category, which means a fine, rather than the more severe penalty, which would be a loss of draft picks.

“I wouldn’t be that specific, but there’s a sliding scale there, for sure,” said Daly.

An announcement is expected in a few days. 

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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