The Vancouver Canucks could interview as many as eight candidates for their coaching vacancy, general manager Mike Gillis said in a radio interview Friday.
Gillis told TEAM 1040 Radio that the Canucks have already talked to Glen Gulutzan and Dallas Eakins as the team looks to replace Alain Vigneault, who was let go May 22. Gulutzan was fired May 14 as coach of the Dallas Stars. Eakins is coach of the Toronto Marlies in the American Hockey League; reports say he also is a target of the New York Rangers.
Gillis described Eakins as a "well-spoken guy, solid young coach, he's a good person and he has good views on the game and what it takes to coach in the National Hockey League."
Of Gulutzan, Gillis said, "I thought that his team played hard; it went through a lot of changes and they kept getting better. Glen is a very bright young coach with a really solid future ahead of him. ? I was very impressed."
The radio interview also mentioned an interest in former Columbus Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel. Gillis would not identify other candidates.
"I think this is a great opportunity for us to change direction and I want to speak to everybody and hear their views about what they feel we need and how they could contribute to the Vancouver Canucks," Gillis said. "It's an interesting process, and it's an opportunity to learn a lot about people that are good quality coaches."
The GM said there was no time frame for hiring but that he expected to have a coach in place by July 5, the start of the NHL free-agency period.
"We are going to take our time and make sure that we speak to everybody we believe is a legitimate candidate, and learn as much as we can about them," Gillis said.