In the latest edition of Vancouver Canucks’ News & Rumors, general manager (GM) candidates emerge as president of hockey operations and interim GM Jim Rutherford continues his search. Additionally, Colin Miller is a potential trade target for the Canucks, while Brock Boeser’s next contract could dictate if the club will make changes to their core. Lastly, Tyler Myers speaks on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.
Candidates for Canucks’ GM
As Rutherford continues his search for the team’s next GM, multiple candidates have emerged for the job. Rob Simpson of VancouverHockeyNow highlights Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Patrik Allvin and Colorado Avalanche assistant GM Chris MacFarland as two names the team could add as the next GM.
Allvin served as Rutherford’s assistant in Pittsburgh. He joined the team as a scout in 2006 and worked his way up. The organization has permission to speak to him, which indicates he is a serious candidate. Simpson adds both will likely only join the Canucks if they receive a promotion.
Additionally, Rutherford stated he would like to see a more diverse staff (from ‘Canucks: Jennifer Botterill leads an impressive group of potential front office candidates,’ The Province, December 19, 2021). Former Olympian and Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster Jennifer Botterill may be a front runner for an assistant GM position. Additionally, U.S. Olympian Angela Ruggiero and another former Olympian and chair of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association, Jayna Hefford, are also candidates.
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“Our society is changing all the time. And I would like to see a more diverse staff, if possible,” Rutherford said. “I’m looking for different voices, people that come up from kids’ hockey or through the hockey system or doing it a different way.”
Furthermore, Elliott Friedman believes despite the addition of a new GM, Rutherford would still call most of the shots in Vancouver. Therefore, whoever the next GM is should expect Rutherford to get the final call on most moves.
Colin Miller is a Potential Trade Target
Simpson adds the Canucks need more depth on the right side of the blue line, and Miller could be a potential trade target for the club. Aside from Myers, who has played his best hockey since Bruce Boudreau joined the team, the Canucks need another top-four right-handed defenceman. Miller, a pending unrestricted free agent (UFA) with a cap hit of $3.875 million, would be a great fit for the team’s defence.
Through 28 games, he has scored two goals and registered 11 points while averaging 19:53 time on ice. Although his Corsi for % (CF%) has taken a hit with the Sabres over the past three seasons, averaging 48.8 CF%, he has a career of 56 CF%. A change of scenery would allow him to return to the same play he displayed with the Boston Bruins and Vegas Golden Knights.
Boeser Potential Odd Man Out
In Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre’s bold predictions for 2022, he predicts the Canucks core will see a change. The reason for the change is Boeser’s contract coming to an end at the end of the 2021-22 season. Although Boeser signed a three-year bridge deal with an average annual value of $5.875 before the 2019-20 season, as a restricted free agent (RFA), he will have a qualifying offer of $7.5 million. The qualifying offer makes it tough for the Canucks to sign some of their pending free agents in the next few seasons.
Moving forward, the Canucks have multiple players they will need to re-sign, which includes Bo Horvat (UFA), J.T. Miller and (UFA) Nils Hoglander (RFA), who will be due for a new contract after the 2022-23 season. Meanwhile, Elias Pettersson and Vasily Podkolzin will be RFAs after the 2023-24 season. However, the team does have Quinn Hughes, Thatcher Demko and Conor Garland locked up for five-plus years. One of the pending free agents may have to be moved, whether that’s Boeser, Miller or Horvat unless someone is willing to take a discount in order to continue building a winning team.
Tyler Myers Questions COVID-19 Testing
Myers expressed his disappointment in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol system. The defenceman joined a list of NHL players who voiced similar opinions. Detroit Red Wings GM Steven Yzerman questioned why the league tests asymptomatic players.
“I saw Steve’s comments. My personal opinion is I completely agreed with what he said. I think he was bang-on,” Myers said. “I completely understand there’s another side of it where there’s people if it’s not themselves have family members that are more vulnerable to what’s happening around the world right now. Everybody’s in a different situation. I think as players the most frustrating part is seeing what other sports leagues are doing. It seems we’re heading the opposite direction of that. I think it’s a little confusing for us.”
Myers was one of five Canucks players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. The comments on testing come after the NHL postponed 64 games, as the league paused play on Dec. 22. The NHL is set to resume play on Tuesday, and the Canucks will play their first game in nearly two weeks on Wednesday.
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Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.