The Vancouver Canucks have been the center of significant attention early in this NHL season. They were the last team to earn their first win of the campaign, and they now sit 27th in the league standings with just three wins in a year where the franchise added Ilya Mikheyev and Andrei Kuzmenko with the intention of making the playoffs. It could take longer for the Canucks to reach true contention than they may have believed it would this summer, and that fact has forced the team’s front office to ponder a possible change of course.
In conversation with Dan Riccio and Satiar Shah on Sportsnet 650, as relayed by Frank Seravalli of DailyFaceoff, Vancouver Canucks President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford shed some more light on the organization’s current mindset. Rutherford mentioned that the team’s goal heading into next offseason would be to clear some major contracts off the team’s books in order to get the necessary cap space to make moves. That goal may be motivated by the Canucks’ desire to retain their captain Bo Horvat beyond this season. Horvat is a pending unrestricted free agent and could be seeking a contract in line with other top-six centers, meaning at or above a $7MM AAV.
For some other notes from across the NHL:
- Calgary Flames defenseman Chris Tanev has now missed three straight games with an injury, something that has concerned those who remember Tanev’s repeated struggles to remain fully healthy as a member of the Canucks. Tanev has been remarkably healthy as a member of the Flames, though, and it appears that Tanev’s injury may not be a major setback. Postmedia’s Wes Gilbertson reports that Tanev’s injury is not related to the shoulder he had surgically repaired this summer, which is good news for the Flames, who rely on Tanev as a key defensive contributor.
- New York Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck left tonight’s game against the Flames in the first period after taking a hit from Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov. Of note is the fact that Clutterbuck missed the Islanders’ Friday practice for maintenance. Clutterbuck has a goal in eleven games for the Islanders so far this season and his absence could pave the way for Ross Johnston to get some games in on the team’s fourth line.