Canucks: Extending Ian Clark, hiring Brad Shaw, and more

The Vancouver Canucks announced some changes to their coaching staff on Wednesday afternoon.

The team will be parting ways with former assistant coach Newell Brown, and will be bringing in Brad Shaw as an assistant coach, as well as Kyle Gustafson as an assistant/special assignment coach.

However, the biggest news came from the goaltending department, with goaltending coach Ian Clark inking an extension with the team. As we know, Clark was set to become a free agent.

For months, it seemed like Clark wasn’t going to come back, with netminder Thatcher Demko pleading with the organization to bring Clark back after a 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames.

A few weeks ago, general manager Jim Benning provided a positive update on Clark and, lo and behold, he will now be staying with the Canucks

Braden Holtby also spoke highly of Clark at the year-end media availability.

Now, with Clark having accepted a contract extension, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief.

According to Canucks Army managing editor David Quadrelli, Clark’s contract is a five-year deal, the same length as Demko’s.

Assistants Nolan Baumgartner, Jason King and video coach Darryl Seward also signed extensions. Chris Higgins will remain as assistant director, player development.

Brown left the Canucks for a second time. His first stint was between 2010 and 2013, a stint that included helping the Canucks power play become the best in the league in 2011. He returned in 2017 after four years as an assistant with the Arizona Coyotes.

Shaw spent the last five years as an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets under John Tortorella, and also had other assistant coaching gigs with the St. Louis Blues, New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning.  He specializes in defence and the penalty kill. The 57-year-old helped mentor the likes of Alex Pietrangelo, Seth Jones and Zach Werenski.

Shaw has also helped the Blue Jackets and the Blues penalty killing units ascend into the top tier of the NHL.

Shaw was on Sportsnet 650’s The People’s Show with Satiar Shah, Dan Riccio and Randip Janda on Wednesday afternoon. He discussed how his role will change with the Canucks, and working with Travis Green.

“He (Green) is looking for new ideas, a voice, something a little different and I understand that,” said Shaw. “For me, it’s kind of a new type of job. I was kind of running the defence and penalty kill for the last 15 years. It’s a little departure from that but I think it suits my skills very well. Basically, I’m kind of like an assistant to Travis, an associate coach without the title. I’m hoping to help to help out in every facet possible, five on five, power play, penalty kill…might leave Ian Clark alone and let him run the goalies.”

Shaw also spoke about Quinn Hughes.

“He has to learn how to win one-on ones quicker or be patient in one-on-ones that you can’t win until the puck is exposed,” said Shaw. “He’s such a great skater and looks like he has a great head on his shoulders as far as seeing the ice. All the things help him out offensively, his passing ability, being a step ahead on the offensive side, these are things you can translate to the defensive side. as well. Body position is huge and stick position. Once Quinn learns to get a little better and then put the package together, now he becomes a real transition threat as well. It’s a process, it’s not an instantaneous thing and it’s a learning curve. It’s not a straight line either there is going to be some good and bad that go with it. “

Gustafson has spent the last 18 years with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks as assistant GM and assistant coach.

Green spoke about Gustafson and Shaw as well as Brown’s departure.

“We’re excited to welcome two new members to our coaching staff. Brad has a vast amount of coaching experience and a strong technical mind for the game. Kyle is a bright, young coach who will help our team and strengthens our coaching staff. We recognize the hard work and sacrifice every member of our coaching staff showed over the past year and thank them for their commitment. We’re pleased to have them re-sign and continue the quality work they’re doing. Lastly, on behalf of our entire team, I want to thank Newell Brown for his commitment and dedication over the past four years. We wish Newell and his family the very best and future success.”

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