Report: Canucks 'getting very close' to hiring Rick Tocchet

It sounds like Bruce Boudreau's days behind the bench in Vancouver will be coming to an end very soon.

The Canucks haven't been shy in stating their interest in Rick Tocchet. (Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)
The Canucks haven't been shy in stating their interest in Rick Tocchet. (Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)

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

Rick Tocchet has been rumoured to be the leading candidate for the job, and Canucks president Jim Rutherford confirmed earlier this week the club had indeed spoken to the 58-year-old even though he said "we don’t know that we’re making a change" behind the bench. According to TSN insider Chris Johnston, a move to Tocchet will indeed be coming, and soon. Tocchet will also likely bring some assistants with him, so Boudreau might not be the only casualty.

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

Boudreau held an emotional meeting with the media Friday morning and said he "would be a fool" not to know what's going on in regards to his status with the team.

Tocchet has ties to this Canucks regime, having 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.

He then served as head coach of the Arizona Coyotes from the 2017-18 season through the 2020-21 campaign, when the two sides mutually agreed to part ways. He got his start as a bench boss coaching 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 might be joining Tocchet in Vancouver, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman floated Sergei Gonchar and Richard Matvichuk as names to watch.

Vancouver's 2022-23 season has been tumultuous from the get-go and the club currently sits 12 points back of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Canucks are expected to be active sellers at the trade deadline and fans have openly voiced their desire for the franchise to tank over the second half of the year.

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