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Canucks May Lose Bruce Boudreau By Playing Contract Hardball

Jim Rutherford said the Canucks won’t be offering coach Bruce Boudreau anything more than his current option. Will Boudreau leave?

Jim Rutherford, the Canucks president of hockey operations, told reporters on Tuesday that he would like to bring head coach Bruce Boudreau back to the organization but only under the terms of their current contract agreement. Rutherford opened the door to something bigger down the line, but apparently, Boudreau hasn’t proved he’s worth committing to just yet.

Related: Boudreau Wants to Return as Head Coach of Canucks Next Season

Rutherford noted, “We would be willing to have him back under the contract he agreed to when he came here,” Rutherford said. “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.”

In other words, in saying he’d be happy to have Boudreau exercise the option to return to the Canucks next season, Rutherford also opened the door for Boudreau to leave. The Canucks are not going to offer an extension to entice Boudreau to stay.

When signed by the previous GM, Boudreau was given an option in his contract beyond this season. While he could accept it, stay and have to be terminated by the Canucks should they want to go a different direction, the option also gives Boudreau a chance to seek other opportunities and decline the extra year on his current deal. If a team wants to come in and hire him based on the incredible job he did with the Canucks to close the 2021-22 season, he can accept other offers. He just doesn’t have all the time in the world to decide as Rutherford noted that both sides have until June 1 to make up their minds.

Is This An Unnecessary Gamble By the Canucks?

It will be hard for fans to accept that the Canucks are willing to let Boudreau simply walk away after the job he did with the organization over the final stretch of games this season. Rutherford either wants his own guy or is playing hardball and this could be a risk as Boudreau will be on the radar for coaching vacancies over the next few weeks.

Bruce Boudreau Canucks coach
Bruce Boudreau Canucks coach

Darren Dreger of TSN writes:

A good amount of speculation and opinion around the future of Bruce Boudreau in Vancouver. Boils down to another team stepping up between now and his June 1 opt out date, or Boudreau deciding to stay in Van for at least one more year.

The counter-argument here is that Rutherford is right not to jump into anything. He noted, “I firmly believe this is the right thing. I just feel that as good a job as he’s done, it wasn’t a full season. He knows we want him back.” Boudreau was hardly a coveted coach prior to landing the job in Vancouver. He’d made it known he was interested in a number of openings in other organizations and was always passed over. If not for the Canucks gig, he might never have been back in the NHL as a bench boss. He couldn’t even land an assistant coaching job with the Maple Leafs.

What Will Boudreau Do?

Is Boudreau confident enough in his ability to coach the Canucks to the playoffs next season? If he’s able to do so, he gives himself a good shot at an extension in Vancouver. Or, does he get the sense that Rutherford is looking at other names already and any slight misstep could be the end of his time in Vancouver?

If another team comes calling and offers him three-or-more years, it might be hard to pass that up. He may not get another offer like that before officially retiring.

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