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‘We haven’t really done anything yet’: GM Allvin taking Canucks’ early season success in stride

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Photo credit:David Quadrelli CanucksArmy
Jeff Paterson
2 months ago
What started out as a casual media availability with Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin to address Tuesday’s trade of Anthony Beauvillier quickly turned into a late November State of the Franchise address.
And while the GM is clearly pleased with his 15-7-1 hockey club, he certainly didn’t sound like a man ready to take bows for an incredible 23 game segment of the schedule. Allvin knows there is still plenty of work ahead for both his front office and the players on the ice before the Canucks can feel they have accomplished anything.
“We’re always looking to get better, that’s what I like about the coaching staff here,” Allvin told the assembled media ahead of Canucks practice at UBC on Wednesday. “Their mindset is ‘how do we get better next day?’ That’s the only thing they can control. I think that is what I’ve been most pleased with is the process from Day 1 to where we are now. As Tocc said, we haven’t really done anything yet. We’re still working to get better and that’s the mindset we have here with the coaching staff and the players.”
On the eve of training camp, President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford stated he believed this version of the Canucks could be a playoff team ‘if everything went right.’ Through the first two months of the season, just about everything has broken the Canucks way; from having the leading goal scorer in the National Hockey League in Brock Boeser; to having three of the top eight point producers in the league (JT Miller, Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson); to one of the top netminders in the game in Thatcher Demko.
On top of that, the Canucks are the highest scoring team in the league with a top 5 power play and it’s put them in a position to close out the month of November in top spot in the Western Conference with a win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.
So has all of the individual and team success changed the way Allvin views what’s possible for his hockey club?
“I think we know what they’re capable of and I think the consistency of playing up to your capability every night is something the coaches have to challenge the players on,” he said. “We want to be a consistent team. We want to play to our staples every night. And when you do, you have a chance to win hockey games. And I think that’s the biggest challenge for this group to understand how you play every night and not every second day. I think that’s what I like with the process that the coaching staff has. Credit to the players and the coaching staff so far.”
While it’s a team game, perhaps no individual player deserves more credit for setting the tone for the Canucks fast start than Quinn Hughes. Named captain prior to the season, no one could be certain how then 23-year-old (now 24) would handle the demands that come with wearing the C in a Canadian market.
Not only has Hughes passed that part of the test with flying colours, he has led by example almost every night and take his game to a level the Canucks believed he was capable of. But Allvin believes Hughes is only scratching the surface of what’s possible with his incredible skill set.
“I think we saw it last year when Rick and Adam and Sergei came in here and how they were able to help Quinn take his game to the next level and I still think he has another way to get to, too,” Allvin said. “The preparation and his details have been really impressive and that’s paying off. I’ve been amazed with how he’s played up to this point, but I’m sure he can get to another level, too.”
Allvin knows his job is to make a good team even better. And to that end, he freed up significant cap space by off-loading what was left of Anthony Beauvillier’s $4.15M contract on Chicago. That gives the Canucks front office cap flexibility it has sought and talked about at length since taking the reins of the organisation nearly two years ago.
Allvin wouldn’t tip his hand on how – or when – he plans to use his new found cap space, but Allvin did admit to keeping in touch with Ethan Bear’s camp as the veteran blueliner works his way back into playing shape after off-season shoulder surgery.
“I’ve been in contact with Ethan’s agent since last year and we check in frequently,” he explained. “Ethan is a UFA and I’m sure he will reach out to us and to other teams when he’s getting closer to being ready.”
In the meantime, Allvin is exploring options to help his hockey club weather a rash of injuries to players like Carson Soucy and Pius Suter. The GM did not have updates on either player on Wednesday. Soucy is likely to be out until after Christmas while Suter’s timeline remains a mystery.
So the Canucks will likely try to get by with call-ups from the farm, but Allvin says he’s always on the lookout for ways to upgrade his roster.
“We owe it to the players here to put them in a position to succeed,” he said. “We’re looking at ways to see where can we strengthen the team.”
As much fun as the Canucks have been on the ice so far this season, it should be equally exciting to see what the general manager can do to give his troops a shot in the arm. And maybe, just maybe, a shot at a deep playoff run next spring.

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