The Vancouver Canucks are in a full-blown rebuild, but Riley Nash apparently doesn’t care.
The 29-year-old center, who tallied 15 goals and 26 assists in a breakout 2017-18 campaign for the Boston Bruins, is expected to become an unrestricted free agent Sunday. And despite the Canucks’ recent dip into NHL irrelevance (three consecutive losing seasons), they appear high on Nash’s list of potential destinations.
“(A rebuild) is not something I would be scared of and I’m looking forward to talking to them,” Nash recently told The Province’s Ben Kuzma. “We’ve done our research and it’s pretty interesting. We’re obviously aware of what’s going on in Vancouver and I think they have a pretty good future ahead of them.
“(Vancouver’s turnaround) might come faster than a lot of people think. (Brock) Boeser had a great year until he got hurt and proved he could put up a lot of goals (29) and points (55). (Elias) Pettersson is obviously a world-class talent and I’ve heard a lot of good stories on him. They’re not that far off and I don’t think it will be a long rebuild. (The Bruins) came out there (6-1 loss Feb. 17) and were playing some of our best hockey and (the result) just showed just how close they were.”
Nash, who made $900,000 last season, likely is line for a significant raise after his best year as a pro. And he credits Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy for putting him in the best position to succeed.
“He let me go about my business,” Nash told Kuzma of Cassidy. “He lets his guys dictate how much ice time they’re going to get and where they’ll be in the lineup. You have to earn the trust and he’ll give you more responsibility. I played some of my best hockey in Boston because he has that kind of personality.”
Despite Nash’s comments, B’s fans shouldn’t rule out his return to Boston. If the Bruins fail to land John Tavares, for example, then bringing back a center like Nash who has proven success with team isn’t a bad backup plan.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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