Canucks’ News & Rumors: Gillis, Gilman, Bergevin & More

In the newest edition of Vancouver Canucks‘ News & Rumors, the organization has shown interest in a couple of front office candidates. Former Canucks’ president and general manager(GM) Mike Gills and former assistant GM Laurence Gilman have emerged as two names in the mix for front office jobs. Additionally, former Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is someone the club is interested in for a front-office position as well.

Gillis and Gilman Could Return to Vancouver

TSN Insider Darren Dreger reported the former Canucks assistant GM and current Toronto Maple Leafs’ assistant GM’s stock is rising. Gilman is in the mix with the Canucks as the team’s next GM, but he is also in the mix with the Chicago Blackhawks. Owner Francesco Aquilini stated he is considering hiring a president and GM during his media availability.

Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis
VANCOUVER, CANADA – JANUARY 19: former Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

“It would have to be… a tandem president and GM to come in together,” Aquilini said. “They know each other, they can work together. Those two people have to work very closely together. You’d have to find the perfect fit, and that’s not easy to find. But that option’s on the table.”

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun added Gillis could join Gilman to make up the president and GM tandem. He said the two would return in elevated roles, as Gillis would serve as just the president and Gilman as the GM.

Gillis joined the club as GM in 2008 and was named the president in 2009. He helped surround the core pieces of the team with a strong supporting cast which made an appearance in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. The Canucks fired him after the 2013-14 season. The NHLPA hired him as a consultant on business matters in July 2021. Meanwhile, Gilman joined the Canucks in 2008 but was fired in 2015, serving one season with former GM Jim Benning. Since 2018, he has served as the Maple Leafs’ assistant GM and as the Senior Vice President of the Toronto Marlies.

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Gillis and Gilman played a big part in the team’s success during their six seasons together. Matt Sekeres of Sekeres and Price stated there is someone close to the Aquilinis who is pushing for the two to return to the organization. Their return to Vancouver could be a big deal to a good part of the fan base.

Canucks Interested in Bergevin

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman joined The Jeff Marek Show and stated the Canucks have shown interest in Bergevin. The Montreal Canadiens fired Bergevin on Nov 28th. The former GM took over the role in 2012, which included six playoff appearances and a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2021. 

Friedman adds Bergevin was burned out in Montreal, as it is the toughest market in the league, but Vancouver is also one of the toughest markets in the league. He states he’s unsure if Bergevin is willing to serve time as a GM in another tough market. On Monday, Aquilini said he had not spoken to Bergevin.

“I haven’t spoken to him, but I’m sure he wants to sit back and just reflect,” Aquilini said.

Related: Canucks’ Bruce Boudreau: 5 Interesting Facts

The Canucks continue to search for someone to lead their front office. The club will take its time to find the right fit, which is the right approach to this situation.

Smyl Steps Up

During Aquilani’s media availability, interim GM Stan Smyl joined him. Smyl, the first-ever Canuck to have his jersey retired, said the boos during the team’s 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night resulted in him stepping up and getting involved.

“The end of that game was difficult. Just hearing the fans,” Smyl said. “That’s when I felt ‘I have to get involved here a lot more’ and express my views a little stronger. At the end of the day, we’re all responsible — from the players to the management, to the coaches, to the ownership. And we’ve got to make it better. I think we’ve taken a step back in the direction we want to go. We’ve got to put that game plan together and follow through with it.”

Smyl added change was necessary for the Canucks as players on the team were waiting for something to happen, and there was finger-pointing in management. Smyl said in his new role, as he will push ownership on topics he believes in moving forward.

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“I will always do what’s best for this organization. I will always step up when asked to help,” Smyl said. “Bottom line, our performance this season has not been good enough. We do have some talented young players and a good core to build around. But we need to be better.”

Smyl played 13 seasons and 896 NHL games, all with the Canucks. He showed his passion for the club and has been a part of the organization for 40 years. Along with playing for the team, he has coached with the franchise in the NHL and American Hockey League. He has been a part of the team’s office since 2004. As the interim GM, the former Canuck captain will help in the team’s search for a GM and hopefully find someone who can lead the organization into a successful era.

Boudreau Picks up Win in Debut

Bruce Boudreau picked up his first win as the Canucks’ head coach in his first game on Monday. The club beat the L.A. Kings 4-0 in one of their more impressive games of the season.

Bruce Boudreau Vancouver Canucks head coach
Bruce Boudreau, Vancouver Canucks head coach (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

The club fired their previous head coach Travis Green, who spent four full seasons behind the bench with the Canucks. The firings of both Benning and Green bring in a new era for Canucks fans. Monday’s game was evident of the excitement from the fanbase. Fans went from chanting “Fire Bennng!” and “Sell the Team!” on Saturday night to “Bruce, there it is!” on Monday. Captain Bo Horvat believes Boudreau brings new life into the team through his positive attitude. 

“Bruce has a lot of positive energy and he wants to get the best out of his players,” captain Bo Horvat said after the morning skate. “He has a few new ideas and ways that he thinks we can improve as a team. I’m excited to get that going here tonight.”

The Canucks take on the Boston Bruins in Boudreau’s second game behind the bench on Wednesday night. The new head coach will hope to keep the team rolling and give himself a 2-0 record with the club.