Despite the resurgence of the team since his hiring, it does not look as though Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau is a lock to return for a second season. In a media appearance on Sportsnet 650 radio after the trade deadline, Canucks GM Patrik Allvin was asked about Boudreau’s future, and he gave a relatively non-committal answer, mentioning how the team will “look at” Boudreau’s contract situation after the season. It is believed that Boudreau is on a one-year contract with a team option for next season, meaning Vancouver does have the option to move on if they so choose. Given the recovery of the team’s form since Boudreau replaced Travis Green, it should raise some eyebrows that the Canucks’ brass has not been more definitive in their backing of their head coach.
The Canucks are 24-13-7 under Boudreau, a vast improvement from the team’s 8-15-2 record this season under Green. While the team is unlikely to make the playoffs at this point, Boudreau has breathed new life into their season and allowed the team to recover optimism about its long-term future. The performances of many key players such as Elias Pettersson have improved under Boudreau, and it looks as though with their current form the Canucks could indeed compete for a playoff spot next season. But based on Allvin’s comments and the overall sentiment (outside the fanbase) towards Boudreau’s future in Vancouver, it seems there is a chance that it could be another coach who is guiding the Canucks next season.
- Speaking about a conversation he had with Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman adds an update to the situation of Oilers interim head coach Jay Woodcroft. Woodcroft has compiled a 15-7-2 record with the team so far and has them comfortably placed as the third seed in the Pacific Division’s playoff race. The Oilers’ season was spiraling out of control in the late days of former coach Dave Tippett’s tenure, but Woodcroft has seemingly righted the ship. Woodcroft, 45, has a 116-79-24 record as an AHL coach and oversaw the development of players like Ethan Bear, Evan Bouchard, and Ryan McLeod who now find themselves in the NHL. According to Holland, (through Friedman) the Oilers will evaluate Woodcroft’s situation after the season, which may sound similar to Allvin’s comments on Boudreau. But Holland went further, indicating that with the way things are going for Woodcroft, at this moment his future as the Oilers’ coach “looks really good.”
- One other interim coach who has overseen a resurgence in his team’s form is Montreal’s interim head coach Martin St. Louis. The Hall of Fame player has a 10-9-4 record, which is not an incredible run on its own but a massive improvement over the state of the team under former head coach Dominique Ducharme. St. Louis has deep connections with the two heads of the new Canadiens’ front office, Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes, and according to Friedman “unless he doesn’t want to do it, [St. Louis] is coming back.” The Canadiens’ future looks set to revolve around the duo of Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, and those two have been playing significantly better under St. Louis than they were under Ducharme. Specifically, the biggest improvement has come from Caufield, who was just named the NHL’s “Rookie of the Month“. Given the turnaround of the team overall under St. Louis and his recovery of Caufield’s highly anticipated rookie season, it makes sense that St. Louis would continue as Canadiens head coach beyond this season.