Canucks President Trevor Linden joined TEAM1040 on Friday morning, and admitted the team is very eager to talk to Willie Desjardins about their vacant coaching job.
Later on Friday, Kevin Weekes of the NHL Network tweeted that a multi-year deal was close with Desjardins.
TSN's Bob McKenzie tweeted that Desjardins will be in town over the weekend, visiting with Canucks brass and that an announcement could be made next week.
"Willie is a guy who has been mentioned in this market frequently. He’s a guy who certainly has the ability to connect with players," Linden said to Jake and Dave on Friday morning. "He’s a guy who has had success at many levels so he’s certainly a guy we’re interested in talking to. We haven’t had a chance yet to really sit down with Willie because he just won the Calder Cup so, I mean, until you do that, it’s hard to know. He’s a guy we want to talk to, for sure, and that’s pretty well known.”
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review thta Desjardins was going "in a different way".
According to the Tribune-Review, Desjardins was in Pittsburgh talking to Penguins brass on Thursday and Friday, but the two sides "couldn't make it work", according to Rutherford.
Read the Tribune-Review article HERE:
Mike Johnston of the Portland Winterhawks wasa strong candidate, with Linden describing his interview as "very strong. Very impressive".
“Mike was an extremely strong interview," Linden stated. "He was impressive. He’s done an amazing job down in Portland resurrecting that franchise. He’s a bright hockey mind. He’s a smart guy. We’ve had a lot of strong interviews and Mike was certainly one of them."
Marc Crawford and Dan Bylsman also interviewed for the job.
"Marc was good. Marc is a professional. I think he’s learned a lot taking on more responsibilities in the Swiss Hockey League. I think when you don’t have the infrastructure around you, you become a better coach. Dan was very good. I’ve known Dan from playing against him and from some NHLPA duties we had together. He’s a very, very bright guy. I think he did a very good job in Pittsburgh. It was a very positive meeting as well.””
Ryan Kesler's situation remains uncertain. Linden says the club is working towards making a situation that could work best for both sides. He also says the Canucks haven't themselves to the fact that Kesler will be traded.
"For us there is not a timeline," Linden told the Bro Jake Show."I’ve been in constant communication with Ryan and we’re working through some things. I can’t tell you a lot. We’re working with Ryan to make his situation one that can work for both sides. We've talked at length internally but we haven’t completely resigned ourselves that (a trade) is the path we’re going to go down. Jim Benning has a real vision of what he wants. Jim likes Ryan as a player so we’re not totally at the point where we’re down one path or the other. We’re still looking at all options.”
Moving up in the draft remains a strong possibility for the Canucks.
“It seems like there is a bigger appetite for teams to move (up or down)," Linden told TEAM1040. "We’re certainly taking a very hard look at moving up. We’re looking at every option to move up. We had a very good interview with Sam Reinhart. He’s a very good kid, he’s a super smart hockey player. Great pedigree. That’s a total package there and he’s a local kid. Where we sit at No. 6, it’s unlikely we’ll get a shot at Sam but you never know. We’re pretty comfortable we’re going to get a very good player.”
Mike Santorelli told TEAM1040 earlier this week that he "100%" wants to return to the Canucks, and Linden told Jake and Dave that the club has started talks with Santorelli.
You can hear the full Linden interview below: