Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Green discusses Loui Eriksson and Brock Boeser’s contract

Travis Green talked about some of the most pressing issues surrounding the Canucks in his first interview since the NHL Draft in June.

The Canucks head coach opened up to Sportsnet’s Ian MacIntyre about the Loui Eriksson situation, RFA Brock Boeser’s contract status and Vancouver’s offseason additions among other topics.

Boeser remains unsigned with training camp just over a month away. Eriksson will have one of the highest cap hits on the Canucks in 2019-20 despite scoring just 32 goals in his first three seasons with the team. Eriksson told a Swedish publication at the World Championships the he and coach Green “don’t really get on 100 percent.”

Here are some of the key quotes from the interview:

On how the team improved this offseason:

“Everywhere. I think adding Tyler Myers and Jamie Benn to our defence, (Oscar) Fantenberg as well, is going to help. In Myers, you’re adding a guy who has played a while in this league, a big guy with a lot of range. You’re adding a top-four defencemen, which are hard to find. And I think in Benn you have a veteran guy who understands the value of defending. And I think he’s got some sneaky offensive parts to his game that people don’t think about: his shot, moving the puck out of his zone. Fantenberg is another smart player that is young enough in the league that he’s still improving. And obviously with Quinn Hughes coming in after a full summer of training and getting stronger, he’s a little bit of a wild card as far as where his game goes next year.”

On Loui Eriksson’s comments:

“What did he say, that we didn’t have trust and see eye to eye?

I was surprised that it came out publicly. But I’m not surprised that he isn’t happy about certain things. Players are proud — they want to play well and want to have individual success. I understand Loui hasn’t scored as much as he wanted to and maybe played at times as much as he wanted to. I understand that and we’ve discussed that. But it happens a lot (in the NHL). I like to think I have an open-door policy and try to be as honest with players as I can. Loui and I have talked about his play and I know he’s frustrated.

I haven’t talked to Loui yet. I’m sure we will talk when I see him.”

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On whether Eriksson has a place on the roster:

“Loui, I respect his career. I know he wants to probably play better than he has and have more success for himself. But I still have a job to do. And my job is to put the best team on the ice and play guys I see fit — and not just based on salaries. I want players who will do anything in their power to help the Vancouver Canucks win. That’s all they care about: being a Canuck and helping us win. With the additions of some forwards, we’ve got some tough decisions to make. And he’s no different than any other player coming into camp.”

On potential concern surrounding Boeser’s lack of contract: 

“I’m not [concerned]. This is part of today’s NHL. The one thing I know about Brock is he wants to play bad and he wants to play for this team. I talked to him recently about his summer training and where he’s at. He sounds excited to get going again. The contract stuff always takes care of itself, and I believe it will.”

Some interesting answers from the coach. It definitely appears Eriksson won’t be handed a lineup spot based on his salary. He has three seasons remaining on a six-year contract with an AAV of $6 million. His agent, J.P. Barry, said a possible trade has been discussed. The Utica Comets are also an option.

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Ben Kuzma of the Province is reporting that Boeser’s camp is seeking $7 million a season on his next contract. Based on Green’s confidence and Boeser’s passion for playing in Vancouver, you have to think the 22-year-old American sniper is going to be signed before the Canucks begin training camp on Friday, Sept. 13 in Victoria.

You can read the full Sportsnet interview with coach Green here.

  • Briang

    for years Benning has been handing out big contracts like candy to older players who are past their glory years, now he is stalling with Boeser who can play now and will get better. What is with this guy, do we need a new GM and president ?

  • oban

    Eriksson obviously should not have publicly made those statements about his relationship with a guy who has always supported him in media interviews. I guess Utica is the only option for him now despite his massive contract.

    At the same time, I can understand why he would have wanted to say something. There are many Loui haters out there who seem to hate him for the wrong reasons. Everywhere you look you are constantly being reminded that he is the highest paid Canuck but has only scored 31 goals and that a buyout (or hopefully a trade) may be the only option. But no one ever talks about the aging superstars he played with for 2 seasons who were only effective on the powerplay during their final seasons. They were no longer the dominant Sedins. If he struggled to score like this 5 years ago with the Sedins, then I could understand why everyone would be frustrated.

    When he does play well, nobody notices or cares. You do get some articles which say things like this: “[Pearson] has 16 shots in his last four games while averaging 19:13 of ice time playing on what has been an effective line with centre Bo Horvat and winger Loui Eriksson.” But most of the comments are more like this one: “With Horvat, Eriksson scored one goal at 5-on-5 and nine assists in over 350 minutes…It would have been hard for Green to justify putting him in even more offensive situations when he didn’t produce in the ones he was given.” That is an average of 1 point every 35 minutes. To put that into perspective, Bo Horvat had 1 point every 28 minutes last season (61 points in 1708 minutes). I am not saying that Eriksson is as good as Horvat (or even close to his level) or that his contract isn’t ludicrous. But I do not think that he is as bad as everyone thinks he is. He is a good two-way player who can pass the puck and get into good spots in the offensive zone. He keeps the offense flowing which ultimately leads to good scoring chances when he isn’t playing on the checking line. In other words, when given a chance to play with offensively skilled players, he can contribute.

    The problem of course though is that a 6 million dollar cap hit is hard to swallow, especially when you consider the Brock Boeser contract situation. If people are frustrated with the contract that Jim Benning gave to Eriksson, I can definitely understand why. But I do not think it makes sense for people to be frustrated because they think that Eriksson is only capable of contributing as a strong defender. He can put up points too… just take a look at his performance in international play this year.

    • KGR

      Yes oban; Eriksson is the latest to go into the media/CA dog house. He (IMO) is a serviceable third liner who has the potential on 15 to 20 goals this year if things go well. Do not know how he is perceived in the “room” now. Sending him to Utica seems stupid to me.

  • harpdog

    If fans are going to blame the cap issue on anyone it should be the league and their handling of Luongos contract. That extra money for a non playing player is B.S. right out of the Bull’s Butt. L.E. is frustrated because he hates Greeens coaching style as much as I do. Green coaches an ass backward style with no solid lines night after night thus the team plays like a cluster flock every night. LE bad numbers are on Green. How do you expect him to score when he is on the 4th line or on the bench. He is a great 2 way player that wants to be traded but in all logic, he should renegotiate his contract for less and move on. He can gain it back on bonuses for another team

  • wojohowitz

    `Vanilla` MacIntyre lobs softballs that `Mellow Yellow` Greenie hits out of Nat Bailey Stadium without breaking a sweat like Boeser doesn`t care about the money – he just wants to win because Vancouver deserves a cup and that`s Boeser`s mission in life. It`s not about the money and this dribble plays well in the middle of summer.