We may not know who Francesco Aquilini is talking to, but he hasn’t been shy about telling people who he isn’t in contact with.
A week after pouring cold water on Dean Lombardi speculation, the Canucks owner shot down another hot rumour on Tuesday.
- Former Canucks GM Gillis says analytics helped Kesler score goals
- Former Canucks forward Jannik Hansen retires from pro hockey: report
- Aquilini denies talking to ex-Kings GM about Canucks president job
As farfetched as may seem, Aquilini was reportedly kicking tires on former Canucks GM Mike Gillis about a return to Vancouver in some capacity. Some have connected Gillis to the job of team president, which has been vacant since Trevor Linden “amicably parted ways” with the club last summer. Another theory floated was that he could return as an advisor.
On the White Towel podcast, Willes says Aquilini reached out to Gillis via text, and there's a slight poss he could come back to the Canucks
Also, on the Patcast they said there was a rumour the Canucks reached out to Lombardi so much last year he told them to stop calling
— Omar A (@omarcanuck) April 25, 2019
Irf said Canucks may be leaning towards hiring a special adviser (even if it’s not Gillis) instead of a President of Hockey Ops.
— Taj (@taj1944) April 27, 2019
Blake says he heard Gillis is being looked at as a "special advisory role" which is "less intimidating for the GM". If and when the Seattle job opens, MG can leave, or VAN can expand his role next year. #canucks
— RD (@BuckFoston_) April 26, 2019
Not so, says Aquilini.
Contrary to media reports, I have not contacted Mike Gillis about returning to the Canucks and have no plans to do so.
— Francesco Aquilini (@fr_aquilini) April 30, 2019
Not only did the Canucks owner deny the reports, he added that he has no plans to contact Gillis in the future.
The most successful GM in Canucks history, Gillis has been out of work since he was fired by the team in 2014. Gillis broke his media silence last year, and has spoken on TSN 1040 a few times since. He has gone on record to say that while he would like to return to the NHL in an executive role, the 60-year-old is only willing to do it for the right situation.
“I made up my mind a long time ago that I’d only go into a forward-thinking situation where there is alignment from top to bottom,” Gillis said, in one of the interviews earlier this month.
Given how things ended in Vancouver, it would seem unlikely that Gillis would have any interest in working for Aquilini again. But stranger things have happened.
With a Canucks return seemingly out of the equation, the rumour mill will surely turn its attention back to Gillis ending up with the new Seattle NHL franchise.
“If [the new Seattle team] flattered me enough by asking if I’d be interested in talking with them, I’d be most definitely interested,” Gillis said, in October.
Gillis has a prior relationship with Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke and COO Victor de Bonis, which may be the connection he needs to get back into the league.