As the Vancouver Canucks head for their second straight playoff miss under Willie Desjardins, more and more questions are being raised about the future of the head coach.
This morning on TSN 1040 radio, Canucks president of hockey ops Trevor Linden was asked directly if Desjardins would be back next season.
“I think we’re going to take our time and look at our options at the end of the season,” Linden replied. “I’ll have to do a full assessment of our organization, as I always do, and we’ll move forward from that point.”
Desjardins has come under increasing fire for his player deployment. The latest mini-controversy bubbled up Saturday when Nikolay Goldobin scored in his first game since being traded from San Jose, then sat on the bench as the Canucks nearly blew a 4-0 lead in an eventual 4-3 victory over the Kings.
Goldobin ended up with just 5:51 of ice time on the night.
“We have a passionate market,” said Linden, “and I think at times we can overreact to certain things. This is one 60-minute game out of many games that Nikolay will play with us.”
Goldoin logged 12:41 the next night in Anaheim, where the Canucks upset the Ducks, 2-1.
“Let’s not forget, Nikolay is a 21-year-old player who still has some work to do on his overall game,” said Linden. “I think that’s the thing we have to be careful with. Young players have to earn their time.”
The Canucks have had a number of young players make progress under Desjardins, including Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund, and Nikita Tryamkin. The coach has also not been scared to play inexperienced defensemen Troy Stecher and Ben Hutton.
That being said, the Canucks had hoped to compete for a playoff spot, and barring a miracle down the stretch, that’s not going to happen.
Bottom line: If there’s a better option than Desjardins for management to pursue, Linden didn’t rule out pursuing it.