Yesterday, Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford made headlines when he said flat-out that the club is not willing to extend head coach Bruce Boudreau beyond next season at this time.
“[Bruce] knows we want him back. He was told that before the season was over,” Rutherford said. “Like I said, he did a terrific job. But he didn’t coach a whole season here.”
Boudreau, 67, was brought in in the wake of the dismissal of both Travis Green and Jim Benning and turned the Canucks’ season around, coming up just short of a playoff spot.
Boudreau agreed to a one-year deal with a club and coach option for next season, meaning that the framework of the contract for the 2022-23 has already been agreed upon by both sides.
All that needs to happen now is for both sides to say yes — but it’s a mystery if that will be the case at this time.
“We would be willing to have him back under the contract he agreed to when he came here,” Rutherford clarified. “And that’s certainly not to say that at the end of next year, we wouldn’t want him back if he continues to do the job he’s doing.
“We have an exclusive time period to negotiate a new contract at the end of next season. I just feel that as good a job as he’s done, it wasn’t a full season. And I feel that giving him a chance to take the team from training camp all the way through next season, you know, I guess we could get to a point where, partway through the season, we may decide to talk about that.”
Boudreau almost certainly wants more stability than one year after his impressive run with the Canucks, but the question now is: Does he want to coach the team he found success with instead of starting over again with a new club, even if the latter comes with more guaranteed years?
Whatever Boudreau decides, he’ll have until June 1st to make his decision, and he doesn’t appear in any sort of rush to make it.
“It has been a very busy time for Bruce since he got to Vancouver, his focus was making the playoffs,” Boudreau’s agent Gil Scott told Rick Dhaliwal. “He will now catch his breath, go home and regroup and golf some. We will talk and then figure it out. Bruce loves Vancouver and his players.”
Alternatively, the Canucks could change their minds and offer Boudreau a longer extension before that June 1st deadline, but based on Rutherford’s messaging yesterday, that doesn’t seem as though it will be the case.