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Jim Rutherford Hints At Bigger Changes For The Vancouver Canucks

Canucks GM Jim Rutherford said the players must be more accountable. Could that mean firing the coach or trading some big contracts?
Bruce Boudreau

Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford expressed his unhappiness with his club's poor performance thus far this season. Appearing Monday on Sportsnet 650, he suggested changes could be coming if things don't soon improve.

“We're at a point now where we have to make the players more accountable,” said Rutherford. He added that the club will have to take “the necessary steps to get the players' attention.”

That could mean sacking coach Bruce Boudreau. Rutherford declined to directly comment about his coaching staff when asked if he had the right group behind the bench. Boudreau's future recently came into question, but it was reported that several core players were told any changes would come to the roster first. 

Those changes could be via trades. Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli believes the Canucks are open for business, pointing to Rutherford mentioning the club's goal heading into next off-season is freeing up salary cap space by clearing some big contracts.

The Province's Patrick Johnston observed Rutherford saying they attempted to do that last summer. However, they were hampered by limited cap space and the prices other teams paid for talent.

Conor Garland could be one of those trade options. The 26-year-old winger carries a $4.95 million cap hit through 2025-26 and surfaced in the rumor mill back in September.

Whatever Rutherford has in store could also affect efforts to re-sign Bo Horvat. The 27-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July and could seek a substantial raise over his current $5.5 million cap hit. His future in Vancouver has already become a topic for conjecture that could increase if he remains unsigned leading up to the March 3 trade deadline.

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