Welcome to this edition of the Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors. Head coach Bruce Boudreau‘s return next season is not guaranteed, while forward Brock Boeser is out with an upper-body injury. Also, an update on J.T. Miller, Bo Horvat and Boeser’s next contracts.
Boudreau’s Return in Question
Boudreau’s return with the Canucks for next season is in question. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on the 32 Thoughts segment on Hockey Night in Canada that the head coach is on a one-year contract with an option for next year.
“Nobody will tell me exactly what it is but I think that I’ve kind of pieced it together, and that is that the Canucks have an option to keep him or not, but if they don’t, there’s a payment that has to go to Boudreau and also, Boudreau has an option not to return and if that was to happen, I don’t think he gets a payout but it would put him on the open market at the end of the year.”
Rick Dhaliwal noted bringing Boudreau back is not a sure thing as the new regime may want their own head coach. Dhaliwal mentions Rikard Grönborg as a possible candidate. Grönborg is in his third season as head coach of ZSC Lions in the National League.
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Moving on from Boudreau will be tough for the Canucks to do. The head coach is a fan favourite and has done a great job of turning the team’s season around. The Canucks started off with an 8-15-2 record under Travis Green but posted a 24-13-8 record under Boudreau. A full season under the head coach could lead to a playoff appearance for the organization.
The Canucks announced forward Boeser is out with an upper-body injury (from ‘Canucks star Brock Boeser sidelined with ‘upper-body’ injury,’The Province, April 5, 2022). The forward likely suffered the injury in a collision between teammate Elias Pettersson and former Canuck Ben Hutton in the team’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday. No timetable has been set for his return.
Related: Canucks Need Bruce Boudreau for the 2022-23 Season
Boeser is in his contract season as a restricted free agent. If the forward doesn’t return to action, his 2021-22 season can be labelled as a disappointing one for the 25-year-old. With 19 goals in 38 points in 64 games, Boeser failed to repeat his success from the 2020-21 season, where he led the team in goals and points. He is due a qualifying offer of $7.5 million, which the Canucks front office is unsure he deserves.
Miller & Horvat’s Next Contracts
Miller and Horvat will need new contracts after next season. The Province’s Ben Kuzma notes Miller will likely receive a pay raise from his current contract. Many believe the Canucks points leader will earn a contract comparable to Mika Zibanejad (8 x $8.5) and Tomas Hertl (8 x $8.175). However, the question is, will he receive that contract in Vancouver or elsewhere?
Kuzma believes Miller receiving a six-year extension with an average annual value (AAV) of $8.5 million would allow the Canucks to extend Horvat and re-sign Boeser to a short-term deal. He notes Horvat could earn a seven-year deal with an AAV of $7 million, while Boeser earns a short-term contract with an AAV of $6 million or gets traded.
Poolman & Hoglander Done for the Season
On Tuesday, Boudreau stated he thinks both Tucker Poolman and Nils Hoglander are done for the year. Poolman has had a tough first season with the Canucks as he’s faced multiple injuries. He returned from long-term injured reserve on Sunday but left the game against Vegas due to migraines (from ‘Canucks’ Tucker Poolman thrown another curve by migraines,’The Province, April 4, 2022). The 6-foot-2, 200-pound blueliner was originally placed on injured reserve due to migraines.
As for Hoglander, he has missed the last nine games due to a groin injury. The Swedish forward has had a tough sophomore season, posting 18 points through 60 games.
Canucks Recall Rathbone
The Canucks recalled Jack Rathbone under emergency conditions, with Quinn Hughes potentially being out of the team’s upcoming two-game road trip (from ‘Canucks recall Jack Rathbone to cover for ailing Quinn Hughes,’The Province, April 5, 2022). Rathbone’s call-up is considered an emergency since the club only has five healthy defencemen, but if Kyle Burroughs or Hughes can play on Wednesday, the Canucks will have to make the recall a regular one or return Rathbone to Abbotsford.
Although Rathbone struggled in the nine NHL games he played this season, he has played well in the American Hockey League with Abbotsford. He’s posted 33 points in 30 games after dealing with a few early injuries. General manager Patrick Allvin noted both Rathbone and Will Lockwood are ready to fight for games, which will likely lead to both getting a shot in the final month of the season.