The Vancouver Canucks will have a few vacancies behind the bench for next season.
The organization took to Twitter on Sunday morning, announcing that assistant coaches Scott Walker and Kyle Gustafson, as well as Video Coach Darryl Seward, would not be returning to the team for the 2022-23 season.
Walker joined the Canucks back in December 2021, replacing former assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner, who had held the position since 2017.
Walker, who actually played just under 200 games for Vancouver back in the 1990s, was chosen by current head coach Bruce Boudreau to help turn the Canucks around after their dismal start to the season, in which they went 8-15-2 under the Travis Green and Jim Benning regime.
Specifically, Walker’s main role was to help Vancouver’s putrid penalty kill, which was on pace for historically low results after the first 25 games of the 2021-22 campaign.
Unfortunately for Walker, his Vancouver coaching tenure was cut short early on.
The 48-year-old suffered extreme vertigo and light-headedness after being struck with a puck during a contest against the Florida Panthers on January 21st, forcing him to miss significant time behind the bench.
Walker was able to return towards the end of the year during Vancouver’s playoff push but, as we all know, the team came up just short, finishing with 92 points in 82 games.
According to Boudreau, who joined The Bob McCown Podcast earlier in the week, it sounds like Walker is set to retire after his eventful year with the Canucks. Walker, who is also part-owner of the Guelph Storm in the OHL, wants to stay closer to his family in Ontario.
Despite Walker’s long absence, Vancouver still managed to turn their special teams around, specifically the penalty kill, finishing 11th-best in the entire league from December 6th to the end of the season, a task that Boudreau will desperately want to replicate next year if the club wants any hope of a postseason appearance.
Like Walker, Gustafson was quite new to Vancouver, joining the organization last summer. Gustafson, who worked with Green during their WHL days with the Portland Winterhawks, was responsible for relaying information from the press box to the bench, essentially serving as the team’s eye-in-the-sky.
Seward, on the other hand, was nearing five years with the Canucks organization, who hired him back in July 2017. Seward also helped Boudreau and the team achieve a perfect record on all of their coaches’ challenges during the regular season.
In addition to Boudreau, who officially re-upped with the team for one more year, the Canucks will have three other coaching positions filled, including assistant coaches Jason King and Brad Shaw, as well as Head Goaltending Coach and Director of Goaltending Ian Clark.
What are your thoughts on the recent coaching changes? Let us know in the comments!