It's useful to look back over these 7 years with Benning because we need to remember that team goals and strategies have changed. It hasn't been a rebuild for the whole time so we have to be fair to Benning in measuring his performance.
Ownership. It is proper for ownership to be in on the highest level of decision making. What I mean is that they hire top management. President (Linden) and they were in on approving the Benning hire. They also approve the strategy recommended by management. Now, they wanted a re-tool of the Sedin core when Gillis was still here and they insisted on doing that with the new management group. My opinion is that the Linden/Benning group were still trying to re-tool up until the Player Name signing in July 2016. Player Name was supposed to be a partner to the Sedins. It wasn't until Burrows and Hanson were moved leading up to the trade deadline in early 2017 that the re-build was on. Ownership had finally agreed that it was the right thing to do.
Management. I think that Linden wasn't clear that a President is an executive and not a doer of things and that effectively while he was with the team, he and Benning were co-GM's. Too many cooks spoil the soup. Now, they eventually had disagreements on the best way to re-build and Benning had a great deal more knowledge on how teams really operate which left Linden at a disadvantage and eventually he bowed out on July 25, 2018. This was for the good of the team and was possibly a sacrifice that Linden made. I'm not sure it's completely fair to measure Bennings performance before this point because he wasn't free to execute a plan that was completely his own.
I think that Benning has drafted well despite a few mistakes. You could argue that Juolevi would have been a player had he not been injured 3 times (back (surgery), knee (surgery), and hip during key development years. But things like this happen. Also, I think in this market, the media and fans have been frustrated because Benning, despite being a good drafter, doesn't get hung up on keeping his picks. He has been unafraid to use draft picks to acquire players. The use of 2nd rounders has been mixed but the return on 1st round picks has been pretty good (Miller and OEL looks like a good pick up so far)
Bennings trades and signings have been mixed. On July 1, 2018, just before Linden resigned, Benning signed Beagle and also brought in Roussel in an effort to bolster the bottom 6 which was ill conceived because it resulted in cap issues down the road. I have to think that this was one of the things that Benning and Linden had disagreed on and was a contributing factor in his resignation later that month. I also didn't like the Ferland signing in 2019. It was a risky move given his concussion history and was a bit of overkill since he had already added Miller and Pearson that year.
But as things go in a rebuild, as drafted players mature and start to produce, Benning has been reasonably successful at finding players to support the core group. He has done a lot in the past year but I think that it's unreasonable to expect that he can do all things in one year. Moving out Player Name, Beagle, Roussel and a 1st and bringing in OEL and Garland was a masterful trade imo. There are still holes on defense to work on.
So overall, I think that Benning has done a decent job. There have been bad moves but there have also been some very good ones. I think that we need to measure his performances based on what the team strategy was at the time that certain decisions were made. If you consider that the rebuild didn't really begin until 2017 (4 years ago) and they've had top 10 draft picks from 2013 to 2019 (except 2015 #23 Boeser) he's been pretty good.