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Rumor Roundup: Coaching change more likely than a trade in Vancouver

Canucks GM Jim Benning is getting calls for Brock Boeser and Olli Juolevi, but the prospects are unlikely to move. More likely to go is coach Willie Desjardins.

After winning their opening four games of this season, the Vancouver Canucks dropped 10 of their last 11 games, sending them tumbling down the Western Conference standings. That’s prompted speculation over coach Willie Desjardins’ job security and calls for a full roster rebuild.

A popgun offense is largely to blame for the Canucks woes. Last week, it was reported Canucks GM Jim Benning was in the market for a 20-goal scorer.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Benning confirms he’s getting more calls in recent weeks, partially due to the upcoming GM meetings next week in Toronto. Most of those inquiries regard the availability of top prospects such as Brock Boeser and Olli Juolevi.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also notes Benning’s getting calls about those prospects. He doubts any will be moved unless the Canucks get an incredible return.

Benning may be desperate for scoring help, but he doesn’t want to sacrifice his future on a quick fix. He also doesn’t have many bargaining chips on his roster. Unless he’s willing to offer up defenseman Chris Tanev, it’s doubtful he’ll find that elusive 20-goal winger.

If the Canucks’ struggles continue through the remainder of November, a coaching change could be more likely than a trade. Such a shakeup, however, won’t overcome that lack of scoring depth.


Last November, San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau made headlines when it was revealed he would agree to be traded to the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings or New York Rangers.  Ultimately, nothing came of it and Marleau remains a Shark, but questions persist over his future in San Jose.

Responding to a reader’s query on whether Marleau could be dealt by the trade deadline, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz said it’s far too early to speculate about that. Give Marleau’s age (37), production (only two even-strength goals in 14 games and four points overall) and $6.6-million cap hit, he doubts there’s much of a market for the veteran forward.

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Kurz thinks Marleau will likely play out this season with the Sharks. Given his unrestricted free agent status this summer, it’s unlikely he’ll be re-signed. One way or another, this is probably Marleau’s final season with the Sharks.


In recent weeks, the goaltending of the Los Angeles Kings and New York Islanders provided grist for the rumor mill. With Kings starter Jonathan Quick sidelined until perhaps early-January and the agent for Islanders starter Jaroslav Halak openly questioning that club’s decision to carry three netminders, it was assumed those two teams would look into the trade market to address those issues.

However, Kings call-up Peter Budaj has played surprisingly well as Quick’s replacement. He’s won seven of 11 starts, with a 1.96 goals-against average, a .915 save percentage and two shutouts. With backup Jeff Zatkoff having returned from injury, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Kings can hold off shopping for help.

Islanders GM Garth Snow recently let his fellow GMs know Halak was available, but there weren’t any takers. Replying to a reader’s question about Halak’s trade status, Newday’s Arthur Snow believes the Isles feel the veteran goalie is best suited to get them wins right now.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

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