Report: Canucks comes ‘very close’ to hiring Rick Tocchet

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It’s an open secret that Bruce Boudreau’s days as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks are numbered, and it sounds like his replacement is on the way soon.

Rick Tocchet is rumored to be the prime candidate for the job, and Canucks president Jim Rutherford confirmed earlier this week that the club had indeed spoken to the 58-year-old, even though he said: “We don’t know we’re making it a change” behind the sofa. According to TSN insider Chris Johnston, a move to Tocchet is indeed coming, and soon. Tocchet is also likely to bring some assistants with him, so Boudreau may not be the only casualty.

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“It sounds like negotiations on that deal have started, that Rick Tocchet will probably also arrive in Vancouver with a few additions to his coaching staff,” Johnston said in a recent edition of TSN’s Insider Trading. “Of course nothing is officially done one hundred percent until pens are put to paper. That hasn’t happened yet, but it sounds like it’s getting very close.”

The Canucks have not been shy about expressing their interest in Rick Tocchet. (Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)

Tocchet has ties to this Canucks regime and worked with Rutherford and current Vancouver general manager Patrik Allvin as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins, winning two Stanley Cups in 2016 and ’17.

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He then served as the head coach of the Arizona Coyotes from the 2017–18 season through the 2020–21 season, when the two parties mutually agreed to part ways. He started as bench boss and coached the Tampa Bay Lightning for 66 games in 2008–09 and a full season the following year. He owns a career record of 178-200-60.

As for who would join Tocchet in Vancouver, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman floated Sergei Gonchar and Richard Matvichuk as names to watch.

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Vancouver’s 2022-2023 season has been tumultuous from the start and the club is currently 12 points behind a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Canucks are expected to be active sellers at trade TBEN and fans have openly expressed their desire for the franchise to rise in the second half of the year.

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