Interesting notes from newly-extended Canucks GM Patrik Allvin’s Wednesday press conference
20 days ago
Earlier Wednesday morning, Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford announced that General Manager Patrik Allvin has signed a 3-year contract extension to remain with the Canucks.
“I’m very honoured and proud to be a part of the Vancouver Canucks,” Allvin said to assembled media this morning at Rogers Arena. “What Jim (Rutherford) has done for me here, giving me an opportunity to be a General Manager in the National Hockey League is nothing I take for granted; I know how hard it is. It’s a very competitive league, and I will continue to push forward… We haven’t established ourselves yet; we have a lot of work ahead of us to get to where we need to be, so nothing’s going to change.”
With the Canucks having such great success through the first half of the season, there is discussion in the community about whether or not Vancouver is ready to go all-in at the trade deadline. It’s certainly a difficult position to be in, as Allvin mentions; it’s the players on the team that got them to where they are, so taking anything away from that group to get better is by no means an easy decision.
“This is a conversation I have with my staff every day. With the coaches as well, how they played, and Toch has said it many times that he’s a ‘puzzle guy.’ I give the players a lot of credit for where we are right now; they put us in a position here to finish up the next 33 games. We all know it’s just going to get harder; every single game from now on is going to be tough. There are a lot of good teams in our division and conference. That’s what I like about the group we have; we have the ‘next day’ mentality; how do we get better, what can we learn. Part of that will dictate the outcome of the rest of the season. Do we go all in or not is something we always discuss because the short-term decisions are always going to impact the long-term planning; those are the things my staff are always taking into consideration.”
It’s certainly a difficult position to be in, as Allvin mentions; the players on the team got them to where they are, so breaking up that group is by no means an easy decision.
“You go back to where we started; Dakota Joshua was a healthy scratch, now you can argue that he’s probably our best role player because he worked on it. He listened to the coaching staff. Same thing for Nils Hoglander; he had a tough time early on staying in the lineup, but they trusted the coaches to help them get better. That shows the character of our group; the team is growing together. The big puzzle is to see where our needs are in terms of improving, and if it makes sense, then we definitely gotta look at it.”
Allvin has earned a reputation as one of the more aggressive GMs in the league during his short tenure with the Canucks, and he credits Rutherford for helping develop that mentality.
“I got an aggressive boss that is on me every day, and that’s what I like about Jim. He’s always ahead of things. Part of the parity of the league, we’ll see here coming out of Covid with the flat cap, is how hard it is to make deals. That’s where our focus was – to bring in quality coaching staff members that interact and teach our players to get back. We knew we had quality individuals, but we had to become a team in order to have success.”
Allvin made history in Vancouver 2 years ago when he became the first Swedish General Manager in the NHL. Although Allvin was confident, he wasn’t expecting his plan to turn this team around to kick in this quickly:
“I didn’t anticipate that. That’s credit more to Rick Tocchet and the coaching staff. What I did anticipate was that our younger and talented players would be able to take a big step forward with a structure in place that Rick Tocchet would provide. Am I surprised it went so quickly? Yeah, but I also think what Jim said when we had our opening day of training camp, that this team has the potential and quality to be a good team if everything goes right for us. I would give Rick Tocchet and his coaching staff a lot of credit, and the players for buying in.”
Allvin emphasized how aware this management group is of the difficulty looming, as the Canucks’ schedule not only gets much harder after the All-Star break, other teams are now looking ahead to their matchups against Vancouver as ‘prove-it’ games.
“It’s definitely going to get harder, and that’s the preparation the coaching staff is doing every day; they prepare the players for what’s going to come in the future,” he said. “We all know this league is tough, and the respect they’re starting to get – it’s great for the players who are starting to get respect from other teams, so they’re circling the games against Vancouver because they want to get tested against the best teams. We need to be prepared for that. Nothing’s going to change here; we’re still going to go by the day-by-day mentality; we know we have a lot of work, and as Tocchet mentioned, meeting pressure with pressure, that’s what’s going to happen the last 33 games and what we’re going to prepare ourselves for coming down the stretch.”
The newly-extended GM has his hands full when it comes to this offseason; stars and role-players alike will be needing new contracts, the prospect pipeline will need a close evaluation, and there are always free agents out there to consider.
“We’re creating this environment where players feel safe and that we’re going in the right direction,” he said. “In order to be good, you might have to sacrifice some of your own ego in order to have a good team around you. What I’ve seen from successful teams, that’s what their core players are doing. They don’t take the biggest piece of the pie; they understand there’s a puzzle, and I think we’re coming a long way in that regard. At the end of the day, there’s only so much money we can spend on each individual and not sacrifice the whole team.”
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