The Vancouver Canucks and Trevor Linden announced Wednesday night they had “amicably” agreed to part ways, but no specific reason was given.
After the news broke, Elliotte Friedman joined Sportsnet 650 to discuss the front office shakeup and after making a few calls he suggested Linden and ownership might not have seen eye to eye on the direction of the team’s current rebuild.
Friedman would go on to explain that one NHL general manager told him that at June’s draft in Dallas, Linden had approached several teams that had gone through rebuilds and inquired about their respective processes.
“I think that was his plan. I think he wanted to keep going the same way and I do think there was a recent meeting where I’m not sure the vision was shared, and I think at that point in time it was recognized that it was time for a break,” Friedman said. “I think Linden had a plan that he saw as he asked some other teams about how they went through their rebuilds and he presented that and I don’t think he felt that the organization wanted to do it the same way.”
Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini posted a 12-tweet thread Wednesday night, thanking Linden for all he’s done for the Canucks over the years and addressed the team’s future.
One of the tweets read: “A rebuild is a long, slow, gradual process. Everybody needs to be united behind the same vision and pulling in the same direction.”
Friedman mentioned that tweet in particular raised some eyebrows around the league.
“When that tweet came out — and I know a couple people around the league saw it — they said that’s where you should be looking, so I think that’s the hint that we’re all looking for,” Friedman said.
The Canucks, a franchise that has not won a playoff series since advancing to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011, have taken a patient approach to the rebuild.
Young forwards Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat are already thriving at the NHL level and with prospects Elias Pettersson, Jonathan Dahlen, Olli Juolevi, Thatcher Demko and now Quinn Hughes waiting in the pipeline, the Canucks have a stable of promising prospects that fans could soon see in Canucks uniforms. That is perhaps one reason why the team chose not to make a big splash in free agency, instead focussing on adding depth and veteran leadership in the form of Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel.
Friedman continued: “I can’t tell you with 100 per cent, black-and-white certainty, but I think what happened was they had their meeting, Trevor said, ‘I think we should do it this way,’ there was pushback wherever it came from and they said, ‘No,’ and ultimately I think ownership decided, ‘We could do it this way,’ and Trevor said ‘I don’t support that,’ and ownership said ‘Well, we’re going to do it this way.’ …
“I think it comes down to a point where if you’re not going to support it, you don’t want to be there, and if you’re not going to support it, ownership probably doesn’t want you there. So, people can decide what that means but I do think both [sides] looked at each other and said, ‘This is not going to work.’”
Linden said in a prepared statement that he plans on enjoying the summer with his family. His future in hockey beyond that is a mystery — as is the timeline of when the Canucks plan to find Linden’s replacement.