Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis was asked Thursday if head coach John Tortorella would return next season. Instead of answering the question, Gillis said his own future is uncertain.
“I’m not sure if I’ll be back next season,” Gillis said in a radio interview with Team 1040. “I think every one is open for evaluation. We’ve had players who have severely underperformed, our team has underperformed. We’re all open to evaluation.
“Having said that, I have a clear vision of where we have to go. I had one six years ago, I have one today. But I think it would be fair to say we will all be under scrutiny and evaluation come the end of this season, which is deserved.”
Tortorella’s first season behind the Canucks’ bench has been a disaster. Mathematically, Vancouver (34-22-11, 79 points) still has a chance to reach the playoffs, but it’s unlikely the team will overcome a six-point deficit in the Western Conference’s wild-card standings with five games remaining and a difficult schedule.
The Canucks’ fall from legitimate Stanley Cup contenders to a team in need of a rebuild began when it lost in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final to the Boston Bruins on home ice. Since that heartbreaking defeat, Vancouver has been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in back-to-back years and made a number of questionable roster decisions, including failed free-agent signings (defenseman Jason Garrison) and poor trades (David Booth deal with Florida).
It certainly will be an interesting offseason in Vancouver, but before the franchise can move forward, it must quickly determine whether Tortorella and/or Gillis will be part of its future plans.