Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford and general manager (GM) Patrick Allvin held a year-end media availability to discuss the 2021-22 season and the team’s offseason. Rutherford joined the organization in December 2021, and Allvin was named the GM in January 2022. They have had enough time to make decisions on what they want to do with the team moving forward. The two discussed multiple topics from head coach Bruce Boudreau, Brock Boeser, and more.
Canucks Will Wait Before Extending Boudreau
Boudreau joined the Canucks on a one-year deal with an option for a second year. The head coach has expressed his interest in returning to the club for next season. June 1st is the relevant option date as both Boudreau and the Canucks can opt-out. Rutherford added the club will not commit to extending Boudreau as they want to see him coach for a full season, but the club does want him back on his current deal (from ‘Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau did ‘terrific job,’ but won’t get summer contract extension,’ The Province, May 3, 2022).
“He knows we want him back. He was told that before the season was over,” Rutherford said. “He did a terrific job, but he didn’t coach a whole season here. And we would like to see him back and work with him on a few things. Everybody work together to make it better.”
The Canucks held an 8-15-2 record when they fired Travis Green and hired Boudreau. Under Boudreau, the team held a 32-15-10 record, which allowed them to play meaningful games late in the season. However, it is fair for the team’s management to want to see Boudreau coach the club for a full season before handing him an extension, as they’ll have an idea about his exact worth.
Rutherford noted the team needed to improve its play on the ice. He added the club’s structure needed to improve, and they needed to stop relying on goaltending to get the job done. Rutherford said the team’s zone exits needed to improve in particular. These issues could be why the organization wants to wait before offering Boudreau a contract extension. They will likely want to see an improvement in a few areas from the team next season before offering the head coach an extension if neither side opts out of the option.
Canucks Aim to Sign Boeser Before July Deadlines
Allvin gave an update on contract talks with restricted free agent Boeser. He noted the club has had positive talks with the forward’s agent and would like to get a deal done with him before the two deadlines, July 2nd for club-elected arbitration and the 11th for the qualifying offer deadline. Boeser’s qualifying offer stands at $7.5 million.
Boeser’s contract negotiations will be the first of three important talks for the team. The Canucks will have to negotiate Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller’s next contract before they expire in the 2023 offseason.
Return of Young Stars
The Canucks announced the return of the Young Stars Classic in Penticton, which will be held from Sept 14th to the 18h. Rutherford said bringing the tournament back was a priority for the club.
“Everybody that was here prior to us getting here really pushed for it. It’s something that we’ve always likes,” Rutherford said. “I think it’s so good because it gives some of those players a head start on the big camp. They get to play against players more their own age and it really prepares them for big camp. So, I’m excited and excited about the fact that we can move around the province a little bit and let other people see our players.”
Rutherford added two others teams have committed to the tournament, while another team is thinking about it. This will be the first time the Canucks will hold the tournament since 2018, as they struggled to get other teams to participate in 2019 and was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19.
Canucks To Upgrade Facilities
Rutherford announced a few upgrades to Canucks facility as well on Tuesday. He noted the club is close to finalizing a site for a permanent practice facility, something that has left the Canucks behind most NHL franchises. Rutherford also said the team will renovate the dressing room, press area and bowels.
“This whole area, all the way from here to Gate 9 is going to be totally renovated,” Rutherford said. “The locker room is going to be totally done. It’s going to be changed in a more workable way for the medical staff, the coaching staff, where the players work out, and all that.”
The Canucks last upgraded their dressing room when Mike Gillis was hired as GM.
Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.