In this edition of the Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors, there is an update on the contract negotiations between the organization and forwards J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat. Additionally, head coach Bruce Boudreau’s future in Vancouver is in question, while Oliver Ekman-Larsson will join Team Sweden in Finland for the 2022 IIHF World Championships.
Update on Miller, Boeser & Horvat Contracts
The Canucks have three key free agents in the next two seasons. Boeser is a restricted free agent this offseason, while Miller and Horvat are slated to be unrestricted free agents in the 2023 offseason. President of hockey operation Jim Rutherford commented on dealing with all three agents on Tuesday.
Throughout the season, Miller and Boeser were involved in trade rumors. Rutherford noted the team decided against trading Miller for several reasons, which include the team’s chance to make the playoffs, he had a career year, is a good player, and the organization also wanted to try and re-sign him. Meanwhile, general manager Patrik Allvin commented on Boeser’s RFA status, saying he hoped to reach an agreement with the forward before the July 2nd deadline (club elected arbitration) and the 11th (qualifying offer deadline). He added they have had positive talks with Boeser’s agent. As for Horvat, the captain expressed his interest in staying with the Canucks in hopes of bringing a Cup to Vancouver.
Boudreau’s Future in Vancouver
Despite turning the Canucks season around after a disappointing start, Boudreau’s return is questionable. The head coach signed a one-year deal with an option for both sides to opt-out for next season. Rutherford stated talks between the two sides have been positive, but the Canucks will not extend Boudreau and feels the head coach should spend a full season before the club considers extending him. Rutherford also criticized the team’s structure as he believed the organization relied on Thatcher Demko too much.
As for Boudreau, his agent noted the head coach loves Vancouver and the players on the team. Addtionally, Matt Sekeres of Sekeres and Price has noted he doesn’t think Boudreau is Allvin’s guy, and there may be a rift between the two.
Ekman-Larsson Headed to 2022 World Championship
The Canucks announced Ekman-Larsson will play for Team Sweden at the 2022 IIHF World Championships in Finland. The Tournament will take place from May 13th to 29th. Other Canucks could be headed to the 2022 World Championships as well. However, Elias Pettersson has reportedly declined the invitation to play for Sweden. Meanwhile, prospect Linus Karlsson could join Ekman Larsson in Finland. No other player on the team has stated they will be playing in the tournament as some are dealing with injuries.
Speaking of injuries, Horvat and Demko missed the end of the season as they were both dealing with different injuries. Horvat said he broke the end of his tibia, which forced him to miss the team’s last seven games. He added there’s no displacement, he will not require surgery, and it is a six to eight-week recovery. Horvat was playing his best hockey of the season before the injury, which was unfortunate for the team as they were fighting for a playoff spot in the last couple of weeks.
As for Demko, his agent noted his injury was minor, but he might not do any training for four weeks, which is normal after a long season. He should be 100% in a couple of weeks. Demko missed the last two games of the season as the team’s season was over.
Cost of Kuzmenko
The Canucks have had an interest in St. Petersburg SKA’s Andrei Kuzmenko of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) for some time. Addtionally, there has been mutual interest from both sides. Rutherford stated he likes Kuzmenko a lot as he is a good player offensively and on the power play. He added the team will continue to try and recruit the forward. He scored 20 goals and posted 53 points in 45 games in the KHL this season.
Horvat Nominated for King Clancy
The Canucks have nominated Horvat for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in recognition of his community work. The winner is selected by a selection committee made up of NHL executives, led by commissioner Gary Bettman.
Three other Canucks won the award in the past. Trevor Linden received the award in 1997. Addtionally, Henrik Sedin won in 2016 and then once again in 2018 alongside his brother, Daniel.
Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.