Although hogtied by contracts agreed to prior to his arrival in December 2021, Canucks President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford took full responsibility for the direction of the team, or lack thereof, during a press conference on Monday.
“We haven’t had the opportunity to take those steps … we’re stuck with contracts that we can’t move. Until we move those out or until they expire, it’s going to be hard to take those steps,” Rutherford said.
The team has shopped players and contracts to some extent since the season started to no consequence, at one point telling Brock Boeser’s agent Ben Hankinson to feel free to check with other clubs about interest for the winger back in early December.
Rutherford signed Boeser to a three-year $6.650-million per season contract this past Canada Day. At the time Boeser was a restricted free agent.
In training camp Boeser declared himself a 30-goal scorer this season, a mark the 25-year-old has yet to eclipse for a single season in his career. An early injury provided a setback and overall the productivity hasn’t been on pace.
Other Canucks Moves
“We may have to do some things beyond what I thought we might have to,” Rutherford said, speaking in general. He referred to ‘major surgery’ to the roster, as opposed to the ‘minor surgery’ he originally expected.
In another move this off-season, the Canucks signed last season’s 99-point man J.T. Miller to a seven-year deal worth a total of $56-million. One wonders in hindsight if Miller’s the direction they wanted to head in terms of building their core.
Bo Horvat appears to have turned down all recent Canucks contract offers and it looks like Vancouver’s captain is headed out the door one way or another. The Canucks will attempt to maximize the return for the solid all-around centreman between now and the March 3rd NHL Trade Deadline.
“We’re in a pickle here,” Rutherford said. “He’s had a career run and he’s looking for his money.”
Superstar centre Elias Pettersson is eligible for a new contract starting in the upcoming off-season. It won’t take long to determine ‘Petey’s’ level of interest in sticking with Vancouver or testing the free agent market in 2024.
I reckon that’ll depend on how the ‘major surgery’ goes.
— Bruce Boudreau remains the Canucks head coach. Musings on this topic from the weekend.