JPat: In the end, Canucks and Allvin just weren’t willing to go all in this season

Photo credit:© Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
1 month ago
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In the end, Patrik Allvin wasn’t prepared to go all in. Not this year, at least. 
And so the Vancouver Canucks will move forward with the same lineup they had on Thursday. It’s a lineup that, despite some warts and flaws, has amassed 89 points this season and one has the Canucks riding high atop both National Hockey League’s Pacific Division and Western Conference standings. And that is so far ahead of any conceivable expectations for this hockey club that Allvin decided Friday he wasn’t prepared to mortgage the club’s future to strengthen the line-up to bolster the hopes of a lengthy playoff run. The Canucks General Manager is prepared to take his chances with the group he has assembled with the hopes this line-up full of star power will surprise in the playoffs the way it has throughout the regular season. 
Amid an escalating arms race that developed around them, Allvin expressed disappointment that he wasn’t able to add some scoring depth. Yet at the same time, he recognized that young and cost-controlled players like Nils Höglander, Vasily Podkolzin, Jonathan Lekkerimäki and Tom Willander will be vital to the Canucks’ championship aspirations in the coming seasons. And to part with them now wasn’t the prudent play for the organization. The club’s inactivity ahead of Friday’s NHL trade deadline seemed like an admission from the top that the Canucks’ time to contend hasn’t fully arrived. Oh sure, they’ll hit the playoffs looking to make some noise. And given the success they’ve had to this point, coupled with the fact the club made sizable acquisitions in Nikita Zadorov in November and Elias Lindholm in January, there remains pressure to win at least a round considering they’ll be the higher seed with home ice advantage when the postseason begins. But a Stanley Cup this spring? That seems like a long shot considering the hockey club elected not to upgrade its top six, bottom six, or add to its defensive depth – all areas of need on a team with legitimate designs on mowing down postseason opponents.
Questions remain about where players like Ilya Mikheyev and Pius Suter are best slotted to help the hockey club. And if they remain in top six roles, will their lack of offence ultimately come back to haunt the Canucks in the playoffs? That is a distinct possibility. Yet, it’s one the Canucks seem prepared to live with.
It’s understandable that Friday’s lack of action will frustrate many in the fanbase. This team has produced so many wins on the ice this season, it seemed hard to believe that the deadline passed without one from the front office. Instead, not a single move was made to make a good club even better. 
But with Elias Pettersson signed and sealed for eight more years, it’s clear now that this organization has a competitive window that should extend for several seasons. Certainly the next couple of years with Quinn Hughes and Thatcher Demko on extremely team-friendly deals will provide opportunities for management to add to the core. And maybe one or two of the players they kicked tires on leading into the deadline can be added without acquisition cost in free agency this summer.
Those are discussions for a later day.
Right now, the Canucks need to focus on the many benefits a nine-game homestand will offer and use those to push toward locking down top spot in the division and top seed in the West. 
Management missed an opportunity on Friday to reward the current roster with reinforcements. That part was a shame. But the message remains clear that there is full belief in the group and the hope now has to be that the players believe in themselves. They’ve come a long way this season. And it won’t be long now before we see just how far this group of Vancouver Canucks – the same group they had yesterday – can go.

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