Canucks: 3 questions facing Travis Green in 2021

Oct 6, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green on his bench against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 6, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green on his bench against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Green. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)
Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Green. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Vancouver Canucks need excellent coaching from Travis Green next season. Here are three of the biggest questions he’ll be faced with in 2021.

The Vancouver Canucks are a team with incredibly gifted players, but the success of last season wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for quality coaching from their bench boss, Travis Green.

In his first NHL playoff appearance as a coach, Green impressed and pushed the Canucks further than anyone thought possible. Vancouver eliminated the Minnesota Wild and knocked off the 2019 Stanley Cup champions before losing to the Vegas Golden Knights in a hard-fought seven-game series.

For an expected bubble team who hadn’t won a playoff series since 2011, the Canucks took down some pretty stiff competition and eliminating each team required critical adjustments to be made on the fly by Green. He did an incredible job in giving his team the best chance to win and because of that, the Canucks were just one game away from a trip to the final four. Not too shabby for a first-timer.

Now, Green is set to return for the final year of his contract with the Canucks. Regardless of the fact that Vancouver lost key players Jacob Markstrom, Tyler Toffoli and Chris Tanev in free agency, the expectations next year will remain lifted. Let’s dive into three of the biggest questions that could face coach Green in 2021.

Will the Canucks offer Green a contract extension?

In a way, it’s pretty hard to believe that Green is already entering the final year of his first NHL coaching contract. He’s had his ups and downs with the club, but overall there is a general feeling of appreciation for Green and he has the Canucks heading in the right direction.

He holds an NHL coaching record of 102-103-28, but considering he got his NHL career started under a rebuilding Canucks core, that’s more impressive than it sounds. In the last two years, he’s started to build a winning culture in Vancouver and a lot of other teams took notice, especially after their impressive playoff run this summer.

“He’s a great coach — he really is. He reads the game well and there was never a doubt he was going to be big for us in the playoffs,” said Jay Beagle in an interview with The Province.

That successful season and playoff run begins and comes with a trusted locker room and having mutual respect for all his players. And having been in the Canucks’ system since 2013 as the head coach of the AHL’s Utica Comets, Green has built a long and trusting bond with the players that are starting to form this team. The connection runs deep. The team is like a family and that has a lot to do with the way their coach runs the operation.

“Travis wants to win so bad and, as a player, you want that in a coach. He’ll do whatever it takes and that’s all you can ask for. He wants to get the best out of his players and he does just that.” said Bo Horvat in a separate interview with The Province.

Given the possible step back this offseason, a playoff appearance might not be necessary for Green to secure himself a contract extension, but it’ll again be a reasonable goal for him to set for the team. From there, Green will have another crack at defeating the NHL’s best teams and the likes of Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes and Thatcher Demko can run wild.

“When you ask me if I want to stay in Vancouver, of course I do. It’s not even a question in my mind. I can’t imagine winning a Stanley Cup in any city but Vancouver.” said Green in an interview with Iain MacIntyre.

The clock is ticking… but if for whatever reason Benning and Green can’t come to terms on a new contract, there will be a lot of outside interest to acquire his services. He’s quickly appeared on the radar of the National Hockey League and a lot of teams would swoop in and try to reel him in.