As gambling sites and wagering opportunities continue to pervade the sport of hockey and the NHL, it should come as no surprise to anyone that you can actually bet on who will become the next general manager of the Vancouver Canucks.
MGM casino is a league partner, Bally’s casino owns a number of the NHL’s regional sports networks in the US, and Spreadz.ca has sponsored this site and others in the National Hockey Now network. Often, if you’re watching a New York Rangers game for example, a pop-up ad’ will appear after a whistle, with a spokesperson reminding you of the opportunity to wager on the action as it unfolds.
That’s where we’re at and it’s only going to become more prevalent.
So here you go, one site’s odds on the new Canucks GM, with my quick breakdown of each candidate added.
Marc Bergevin – 4.50 to 1 – The recently ex-General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens is the betting favourite. One source has him into Vancouver this week for an interview, although that’s still just rumour status. When VHN asked team owner Francesco Aquilini about that possibility during his press availability on Monday, the Canucks principal answered:
“I know Marc. I think Marc just wants to take it easy for a minute. He’s been with the Canadiens for ten years and I think … I haven’t spoken to him but I’m sure he just wants to sit back and, you know, reflect. But, anything is possible, I mean, I’m not going to rule anything out.”
The former NHL defenceman who played a total of almost 1,200 games while with eight different teams in the league, managed the Habs from 2012 to just a couple of weeks ago. He cut his management teeth with the Chicago Blackhawks organization as a scout and assistant GM after his playing days were over.
Chris MacFarland – 6.50 to 1 – For the last six seasons MacFarland has been Joe Sakic’s right hand man with the Colorado Avalanche. Before becoming the assistant general manager in Denver, he spent sixteen seasons in the Columbus Blue Jackets organization. With a background ranging from scouting to contract negotiations, MacFarland handles CBA matters, among other things, for Sakic.
There’s a pretty good chance he’s a New York Yankees fan since he was born in the Bronx and he’s no stranger to managing kids as he and his wife have four of them.
Mathieu Darche – 6.50 to -1 – The current director of hockey operations for the Tampa Bay Lightning has only been in the job since 2019 after leaving a non-hockey business in Quebec where he held a vice president of sales and marketing position. A winger, Darche is one of those rare animals that played Canadian university hockey before moving on to an NHL career that included 250 games, 149 of them with the Habs.
If he had more experience, he’d be a strong favourite for the Montreal Canadiens GM job, having been born in the area and graduated from McGill University. Maybe he is anyway.
Ryan Johnson – 8:50 to 1 – Good bet if you think the Canucks want to keep it in the family. Johnson was already GM of the Abbotsford Canucks of the AHL when he was included in the group of five making up the interim Vancouver Canucks braintrust. Stan Smyl, Chris Gear, Johnson and the two Sedins are tasked with carrying the banner and the responsibilities while Jim Benning’s replacement is found.
A former NHL centreman, Johnson played the final 120 games of his 701 game NHL career with Vancouver.
Scott Mellanby – 8.50 to 1 – Another former NHL player and first round draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in 1984, Mellanby played more than 1,400 NHL games as a winger with five different clubs.
He made the news recently when he resigned as assistant general manager of the Canadiens right before Bergevin was fired. It’s believed Mellanby was upset he wasn’t being considered for promotion. He has Vancouver Canucks ties, having worked for three years with the club as a special consultant to then general manager Mike Gillis. He was the assistant GM in Hab-land since 2014.
Eric Tulsky – 13 to 1 – With a chemistry and physics degree from Harvard and a PHD in chemistry from Cal-Berkeley, I think I’d rather see this guy helping humanity in other ways, other than crunching numbers as an analytics nerd GM for the Canucks. But, it’s his life, where he’s been assistant general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes for the last two years of his eight year career there.
He’s into number crunching. He holds 17 US patents related to solar energy and energy storage. He’s also worked on DNA sequencing. Dude, really?
Jim Rutherford – 15 to 1 – Speaking of the Hurricanes, Rutherford was the GM in Carolina when they won the Stanley Cup in 2006. He later guided the PIttsburgh Penguins to Cups in 2016 and 2017. You know him. He’s a 72-year-old goalie.
George McPhee – 15.5 to 1 – Interesting name to say the least. The former NHL player began his long NHL executive career working with General Manager Pat Quinn and the Vancouver Canucks from 1992 to 1997. He was the VP and director of hockey operations then and he’s the President of Hockey Operations for the Vegas Golden Knights now. In between McPhee ran the Washington Capitals for 17 years and briefly advised for the New York Islanders.
Roberto Luongo – 18 to 1 – The outspoken 42-year-old goalie, who played for the Canucks from 2006 into 2014. I’m not going to run through all of his goalie cred’s, you know them. His management experience is very limited. He is working with Team Canada as a consultant for the 2022 Olympics.
Laurence Gilman – 19 to 1 – The hot name on the list the last couple of days, his odds have actually been taken off the board as the bookmakers apparently re-consider things. Rumours have the former Vancouver Canucks assistant general manager, fired back in 2015, as a strong contender to return. Gilman is presently assistant GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs and senior vice president of the Toronto Marlies, the AHL club.
He handled contract negotiations and headed scouting during his time in Vancouver that began in 2008.
Three other names with high odds – Mike Futa, 50 to 1, Mike Gillis, 50 to 1, and Ray Ferraro, 75 to 1.