Canucks new all access video shows draft table discussions, pre-draft meetings, development camp, and more
1 year ago
During the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal, as the Nashville Predators were getting ready to select Joakim Kemell 17th overall, Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin turned to his assistant GMs, Cammi Granato and Derek Clancey, with a photo on his phone screen.
“My kids were up watching the draft. 3:22 in the morning in Sweden,” Allvin said as he showed them a snapshot of a pink and orange sunrise sent to him by his kids back home. “Unbelievable,” Granato remarked as she admired the picture. “Sun is on the way up, right?” Allvin said with a chuckle as the clock neared 10 P.M. local time at the Bell Centre.
This was just one of many moments captured in the Canucks’ new All-Access video that dropped on Thursday, which follows Vancouver’s staff from the draft to the team’s development camp at UBC.
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The Canucks All-Access videos are among the closest glimpses fans will ever get into the inner workings of a National Hockey League franchise. It’s one thing to talk about prospects’ potential, or pull off blockbuster trades; executing on those lofty goals is a lot harder. Videos like these also provide a more casual look at the people running the show, including Allvin, Granato, Clancey, and Emilie Castonguay among others.
While Vancouver’s social team has been consistently producing similar all-access content about Canucks players for quite some time, front office-centric videos had all but disappeared in the last few seasons, coincidentally when fan frustration surrounding the previous front office was at its peak. For context, a cursory glance at the “All Access” playlist on the Canucks YouTube channel shows that before Allvin’s arrival, the most recent management-focused video was one showcasing Travis Green’s first day as Canucks head coach in April of 2017.
Needless to say, this reintroduction to the series has been a welcome one.
The video opens with Allvin addressing the Canucks’ travelling party before the draft in Montreal; a collection of scouts and staff including the assistant GMs, Director of Amateur Scouting Todd Harvey, and some recognizable faces for social media savvy fans, like CanucksArmy alumnus Ryan Biech and analytics expert Rachel Doerrie.
As the management team begins finalizing their plan for the draft, Allvin sets a low, albeit important bar for who he’ll select when the Canucks walk up to the podium for the 15th overall pick. “I don’t want to have a third-line guy in the first round, I don’t,” Allvin said. “Those guys you can find in free agency. Like C+ players, you can find them in free agency. What you can’t find are the difference makers. You can’t buy a difference maker, it’s too expensive.”
The first-year GM also encouraged his scouts to look past players’ energy and focus on their actual talent and potential. “It’s easy to fall in love with the high character, compete players at this level. But how can they get to the next level where everybody’s competing? Like you gotta be smarter, you gotta be more skilled,” Allvin said to the room.
Once draft day arrived, Allvin took a few phone calls on the arena floor discussing potential plans to trade down, but none materialized. “Ah, pass on that one,” Allvin said to an unknown person on the other line before turning to Clancey and Granato to tell them that they wouldn’t be moving down.
At that point, all conversation turned to their eventual draft choice, Jonathan Lekkerimaki, and just how high the Canucks had him on their draft board. “We got him at seven on the list for a reason, right? He’s a good player,” Allvin said to Clancey and Todd Harvey. “You guys are pounding the table for Lekkerimaki. He’s a top-six scorer.”
After Lekkerimaki dons his Vancouver jersey for the first time, the video transitions to day two, which offers tidbits about the way Allvin allocates different tasks throughout the front office. At one point Allvin asks Emilie Castonguay about the current price for moving up in the draft, while Harvey and Granato are given the mic to announce Vancouver’s next two picks, Elias Pettersson and Daimon Gardner.
With the draft behind them, the front office and their newest draft picks arrive in Vancouver for the Canucks’ week-long development camp at UBC Thunderbird Arena. Former NHL players including Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Mikael Samuelsson, Mike Komisarek, Chris Higgins, and Abbotsford Canucks GM Ryan Johnson lead the charge in putting the young players through their paces with on-ice drills, dry land training, and the traditional Grouse Grind.
Komisarek offered valuable advice to the players attending camp. “Just come here with an open mind. Be eager to learn. At the end of the day, we can give them as much information and as much awareness as possible. They gotta take this information, chew on it and apply it,” Komisarek said.
After the camp ending Grouse Grind, Higgins gave the prospects his own wisdom about achieving the goals set out for them when they return to their respective teams. “Keep your focus small, just worry about having a good day, doing the things you need to do and then stack that good day on top of another good day and see how long you can take that,” Higgins said.
With a whole lot of work left for the Canucks’ front office and coaching staff this offseason and the start of training camp just around the corner, Vancouver will likely be offering a lot more content like this throughout the year. And for a fanbase that’s been asking for meaningful organizational change, All Access videos like this one could go a long way toward proving that change has arrived.
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