Bruce Boudreau will return to the Vancouver Canucks next season, ending speculation that the team and its veteran coach might part ways in the offseason.
“We are pleased to see Bruce’s commitment to return to the Canucks next season,” general manager Patrik Allvin said. “He has done a great job since arriving in Vancouver and we are eager to see the team continue to perform under his leadership as they did during the second half of the season.”
The Canucks hired Boudreau on Dec. 5 after firing head coach Travis Green. They were last in the Pacific Division when Boudreau, renowned for his regular-season success, took over. He led the Canucks back up the standings with a 32-15-10 mark during his tenure, only for them fall five points short of a playoff spot.
Boudreau was hired by Canucks chairman Francesco Aquilini before the team hired president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford and made Allvin their general manager.
“My desire has always been to come back to coach this team,” Boudreau said. “I love the organization, city, fans and the players. I’m also grateful for the opportunity provided to me by Jim and Patrik to continue building what we started.”
Boudreau’s contract was for two years, with a coach’s option on the second year. He had until June 1 to decide on that option. Despite the coach’s success, Rutherford made it clear after the season that there wouldn’t be a new contract in the offering and the Canucks would welcome him back “on the contract he originally agreed to.”
“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. I just feel that as good a job as he’s done, it wasn’t a full season,” said Rutherford, who also criticized the team’s “structure” under Boudreau in that news conference.
Boudreau has a career record of 599-317-125 with the Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild and the Canucks. He won the Jack Adams Award as the league’s top coach in 2007-08. With one victory next season, Boudreau would become the 22nd coach in NHL history to reach 600 wins.