Travis Green said he is willing to wait for a contract extension as coach of the Vancouver Canucks.
“I’m fine with where we’re at right now and hopefully we can work things out and I can be here for a while,” Green said Sunday. “But starting today, I’m just worried about today, worrying about our team and getting them prepared for Game 1. But it’s no secret that I love coaching here and I want to win here.”
The 50-year-old is entering the final season on his contract and is 102-103-28 in three seasons since replacing Willie Desjardins on April 26, 2017. Vancouver opens against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place on Jan. 13.
“Travis has done an excellent job coaching this group of players,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning said. “From a development standpoint, our young players have continued to get better under him every year. We think he’s the right fit for our group moving forward. We want to kind of take a look at the financial landscape of the whole business here as we keep moving forward, but our intention is to sign Travis to an extension here so he’s part of our group moving forward.”
The Canucks (36-27-6, .565 points percentage) finished seventh in the Western Conference last season. They reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in five seasons and advanced to the best-of-7 Western Conference Second Round, a seven-game loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. It’s the deepest Vancouver has gone in the postseason since Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, a 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins.
“I think we’re just starting to scratch the surface of what we are as a team and where we’re going,” Green said. “I haven’t hidden the fact that it’s an exciting time to be a Canuck right now, whether you’re a fan, a player, someone who works in the organization. It really is, and I’m part of that.”
Since the end of last season, the Canucks signed goalie Braden Holtby to a two-year, $8.6 million contract ($4.3 million average annual value) on Oct. 9 and acquired defenseman Nate Schmidt in a trade with the Golden Knights on Oct. 12. They were teammates with the Washington Capitals for four seasons (2013-17).
Holtby is 282-122-46 with a 2.53 goals-against average, .916 save percentage and 35 shutouts in 468 games (458 starts) in 10 seasons with Washington, and 50-47 with a 2.13 GAA, .926 save percentage and seven shutouts in 97 playoff games (96 starts). He won the Vezina Trophy voted as the top goalie in the NHL in 2016 and the Stanley Cup in 2018.
Schmidt has scored 140 points (29 goals, 111 assists) and is plus-88 in 396 NHL games in seven seasons with the Golden Knights and Capitals. He’s scored 25 points (six goals, 19 assists) and is plus-12 in 68 playoff games.
The Canucks signed Travis Hamonic to a professional tryout contract Sunday. The defenseman has scored 188 points (37 goals, 151 assists) in 637 regular-season games for the New York Islanders and Calgary Flames.
“He’s a veteran guy who’s been in the League for a while but has played a lot of hard minutes, minutes that go unnoticed,” Green said. “With the schedule, you’ll need depth and from the coaching standpoint, we’re excited he’s coming to camp.
“It’s not always offense that wins. It’s two-way defensive hockey as well and I think he can bring that to our group.”