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.”
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.
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.