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NHL Notebook: AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks name Manny Malhotra head coach

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Aleena Aksenchuk
26 days ago
The coaching changes have continued as the Vancouver Canucks made a move Friday to name Manny Malhotra head coach of their AHL affiliate in Abbotsford.
Malhotra takes over for Jeremy Collition after he and the organization failed to agree on a contract extension, according to Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre.
“Bringing in someone who is familiar with the organization is a big win for us,” said Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin.
“Manny’s experience in hockey development and coaching has prepared him really well for this head coaching opportunity. We look forward to working with him and providing our staff in Abbotsford all the support they need to continue to develop our players.”
Malhotra’s return to the Canucks organization is notable, considering his past with the club. Between 2010 and 2013, the former NHL player donned the Canucks sweater before joining the Carolina Hurricanes in late October of 2013. Following his retirement from the NHL, he joined the club as a development coach in 2016, which led to his promotion to assistant coach a year later. 
When Sheldon Keefe was hired as the Toronto Maple Leafs head coach in 2020, Malhorta joined him as an assistant. That ended this spring, however, when Keefe was fired from his role with the team, leaving Malhotra looking for a new job.
Collision spent two years with the Abbotsford Canucks, amassing a 79-48-13 record. His first year saw the team sweep the Oilers AHL affiliate Bakersfield Condors in the first round, before falling to the Calgary Wranglers in four games.
This year was a much bigger struggle. After securing a first-round bye, the AHL Canucks surrendered to the Ontario Reign in three games exiting the playoffs. 
“First of all, I would like to thank Jeremy Colliton and Gary Agnew for the work they did for us in Abbotsford, said Abbotsford GM and Canucks Assistant GM Ryan Johnson. “Having played against Manny in the NHL, I know firsthand many of the great qualities he possesses and the competitiveness in his DNA. He is a teacher first, and his skill set and mindset will fit perfectly with our vision for the team at Abbotsford.

All eyes on Ekman-Larsson

Oliver Ekman-Larsson has had a strong bounce-back season with the Florida Panthers after having his eight-year, $8.25-million contract bought out by the Vancouver Canucks halfway through it. 
Signing a one-year, $2.25-million deal with the Panthers ahead of this season, he racked up nine goals and 32 points in 80 regular season games, playing a key role for the club amid early-season injuries to their blue line. So much so that through the first 16 games of the year, he averaged just under 24 minutes of ice time.
However, the 32-year-old may be looking for one last big contract, even if it means relocating once more. On Friday’s episode of Daily Faceoff LIVE, Frank Seravalli and Tyler Yaremchuk discussed the blueliner’s reawakening and what his future may be shaping up to be. 
Tyler Yaremchuk: Oliver Ekman-Larsson was bought out by the Vancouver Canucks, goes to Florida and early in the season, he was logging huge minutes for them while they dealt with injuries.
Can you see him leaving his current situation or do you think he’s destined to stay where they are?
Frank Seravalli: I have a real question mark about Ekman-Larsson, just because I think the Panthers would desperately want him to stay with the impact he’s made, but they have so many other pieces to sign like Sam Reinhart and Brandon Montour. They’ve got a whole list of guys they need to keep.
When you look at Ekman-Larsson, he’s played back to a level that’s not quite the $8.25 million he signed for with the Arizona Coyotes, but certainly a healthy raise from the $2.25 million he’s making right now.

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