It’s been a whirlwind several hours for the Vancouver Canucks as both their GM and Head Coach appear to be out of a job in addition to a few ancillary pieces. The news started with Elliot Freidmen reporting that Bruce Boudreau would be the next head coach of the Vancouver Canucks. It is worth noting that this was before any report that Travis Green had been terminated.
So, where are we now? It’s been reported that there were some changes to the assistant coaching staff in addition to the head coaching change. Nolan Baumgartner has been relieved of his duties, and Scott Walker will step into his place. From there, the Canucks continued the major shakeup in the front office by parting ways with their GM Jim Benning and their AGM John Weisbrod. In the interim, it would appear that Stan Smyl will be the GM and Ryan Johnson will be the AGM. After the information started to roll out, the Canucks chairman and governor Francesco Aquilni addressed the changes in part by saying:
“These are difficult decisions, but we believed we would have a competitive group this year. As a result, I’m extremely disappointed in how the team has performed so far. I’m making these changes because we want to build a team that competes for championships and it’s time for new leadership to help take us there.
“Our search for new leadership is underway. In the interim, Stan Smyl will lead our Hockey Operations team with the strong support of Ryan Johnson, Chris Gear, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Doug Jarvis and others on the team to ensure day-to-day continuity. Stan has been a very loyal and committed member of our Hockey Operations Senior Management structure for many years and is someone whose experience and leadership we value greatly.”Press Release from the Vancouver Canucks
Meeting The New Crew
Let’s start with arguably the most crucial shakeup, as the team has already selected the permanent replacement with a two-year deal for Bruce Boudreau. Boudreau is walking into an absolutely nightmarish situation heading to Vancouver. A team that has been struggling and has played under 500 hockey for several years is now putting their faith in a seasoned veteran. The good news for the Canucks, that the veteran coach has a .635 points percentage as a coach. In 984 games, Boudreau has gone 567-302-115 as a head coach. Boudreau is an excellent hire for Vancouver with his offensively gifted mind and his ability to bring teams to the playoffs.
Scott Walker’s name might not be that unfamiliar to Vancouver Canucks fans. People who follow the Canucks will recognize him from his playing days or position as a player development consultant. He was hired in 2015 to work directly with Cunucks prospects on their development to the NHL. Before his gig with the Canucks, Walker was the head coach of the OHL’s Guelph Storm from 2010-2015. From 1993-2010, Scott played for four different organizations during his playing career. The Vancouver Canucks would select walker in the 5th round with the 124th overall pick. He would play in Vancouver for five years before heading for the Nashville Predators, Carolina Hurricanes and ending his career with the Washington Capitals.
Stan Smyl is a Vancouver Canuck. Not just because of his new interim GM role but because most of his hockey career has been centered around the Vancouver Canucks. Smyl was a third-round pick in the 1978 NHL Draft and immediately cemented himself into the hearts of Canucks fans. Smyl quickly became a point-per-game player in his second NHL season and would lead the team in scoring with 31 goals and 78 points. In 1982, Smyl became the Vancouver Canucks captain and would hold that position for eight years. If you needed to love this man anymore as a Canucks fan, Smyl was the first-ever player to have his jersey retired by the organization and raised to the rafters in the Pacific Coliseum on November 3, 1991. Since he retired, Smyl has held several roles within the Canucks organization and their minor league affiliates. There is no one more Vancouver than Stan Smyl.
Several other adjustments were made to their advisory staff, including their Director of Player Development being named the interim GM. With these changes, the Canucks look to turn their season around but more importantly, the Canucks look to repair their franchise’s legacy as a winning team.