Trevor Linden, who played nineteen NHL seasons, including fourteen full campaigns with the Vancouver Canucks, has been named president of hockey operations today. He will be tasked with once again saving a franchise that is in disarray, this time in a front office role after the Canucks missed the playoffs for the first time in six years this season.
Linden was Vancouver’s first-round pick in 1988, No. 2 overall, and made an instant impact as an 18-year-old. Linden netted 30 goals and took a team that finished last in their division the previous year to the playoffs, where they lost in the first round. Linden was a Canuck from 1988 to 1998, when he was traded to the New York Islanders. From there, he bounced to the Montreal Canadiens, then the Washington Capitals, and then back to the Canucks in 2001. He stayed in Vancouver until his retirement in 2008, 20 years after he was drafted.
As a Canucks player, Linden posted six 30-goal campaigns while leading them to a Stanley Cup Finals berth in 1993-94. He was also named team captain in 1991 at age 21, a role he held until 1997, and Vancouver went to the postseason 11 times while Linden was with them, six times while he was captain.
And now, Linden will be expected to resurrect a Canucks team that fell apart at the seams this year. After winning the Northwest division in 2012-13, Vancouver was eliminated from playoff contention before the end of the 2013-14 regular season, their first under new head coach John Tortorella (the man he replaced, Alain Vigneault, will be headed to the playoffs this year as coach of the New York Rangers, so there’s that….).
General manager Mike Gillis was fired yesterday, and the roster is expected to undergo a major overhaul this year. Longtime franchise netminder Roberto Luongo was already sent packing at the trade deadline to Florida, and forwards Ryan Kesler and Henrik and Daniel Sedin are likely trade bait this offseason.
Linden’s got his work cut out for him. But for now, let’s allow the man to settle into his new position, and enjoy this nice little clip of him telling his parents he was brought back into the Canucks organization as president: