Patrik Allvin explains reasonings behind Canucks’ 2024 free agency class

Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Cole
12 days ago
The Vancouver Canucks General Manager, Patrik Allvin, was busy working the phones on the opening day of free agency. And while he may have been hitting the snooze button for the opening 30 minutes, the organization signed seven free agents by days end, including forwards Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen, Kiefer Sherwood, Nate Smith, defencemen Derek Forbort and Vincent Desharnais and goaltender Jiri Patera.
Shortly after, Allvin met the media to discuss his thoughts on the work the club did on July 1st.
Q: What do you like about DeBrusk? Where do you see his fit and is he a guy that can play with [Elias] Pettersson in the top six?
“We like his speed, his versatility; he can play both special teams and has experience playing in the playoffs. What I’ve seen over the years, Jake has consistently been able to elevate his game in the playoffs. He’s a responsible two-way guy, and I envision, unless [Rick] Tocc finds different line combinations, but I envision him starting with Petey.”
Q: A couple of the defencemen you signed, sort of bigger, physical kind of defencemen, was that a priority in terms of of what you wanted to identify for some depth adds on the blueline?
“Both yes and no. I think it was more of what was available and [at] what price. We felt we still needed to have guys capable of playing penalty minutes here, and Forbort was a key piece in Boston over the years. After talking to Desharnais this morning, we felt that there was even more upside. He hasn’t been in the league for a long time, and with the coaches that I have here in Adam Foote and Sergei Gonchar, I believe they can help him get to the next level.”
Q: Obviously you’ve lost a couple of good players as well in free agency in [Nikita] Zadorov and [Elias] Lindholm, how do you feel overall about what you’ve done today to replenish your team?
“I feel pretty good, and that’s part of the process with Rick Tocchet and his staff here. We felt we needed to be a little bit faster up front, adding those three players. I think I talked to Quinn [Hughes], and he was more excited about Sherwood than anyway; he said he pissed the whole team off in the playoffs. He was happy to get him here. He’s a guy who hasn’t played a lot in the National Hockey League, and our scouts have liked his ability to score goals as well, so I think he’s a guy who can move up and down in the lineup. He’s a guy who’s really good on the PK but also has that shot for potentially our secondary powerplay.”
Q: You started in the offseason with the idea of adding somebody maybe for your first line, or somebody with a higher offensive cieling. Did you come close to getting any of those guys?
“I think we came really close with Jake [Guetnzel]. But you never know until you get over the finish line. The priority as of this morning at nine o’clock was Jake DeBrusk, Heinen, Forbort and Sherwood. Those were our top priorities to get on the phone with right away and then it opened up late with Vincent from Edmonton.”
Q: What’s Thatcher Demko’s status after what he went through? Did he need any procedures?
“He’s going to be ready for camp. He’s doing his rehab. I met him quickly down in Vegas last week and he seems to be in a great mood and great spirit here. He has not needed it [any further procedure] up to this point.”
Q: Did any uncertainty on that [Demko’s health] inform your decision your decision to go get Jiri Patera and what do you like about that player?
“No, I think that was something that we were looking at leading up to today. Ian Clark had been identifying some of the goalies for need. We’re extremely excited to have [Arturs] Silovs, [Nikita] Tolipilo and Ty Young, but we always envisioned to have five NHL goalies under contract. Patera was a guy Clarky identified and felt that there was more upside there, and he got his taste at the National Hockey League level last year, so we’re excited to continue to work with him.”
Q: With your signing of Sherwood, and other players, do you see any time of affect on younger players trying to push to get into the organization. Maybe the spots aren’t necessarily there anymore since you added so many depth pieces?
“That’s something we talk about all the time. We’re extremely excited about our younger player who’re apart of Abbotsford and guys coming in here in terms of [Jonathan] Lekkerkimäki and [Elias] Pettersson. We want to have a competition here in training camp and I wouldn’t have this guy if some of the younger players had taken advantage of their opportunity. Nothing is set in stone.”
Q: With a guy like Danton Heinen, knowing that he’s a player who can play up the lineup, having guys that flexibility with guys like [Pius] Suter and Heinen, is that how you wanted to build out your club where you can have guys who can play in your bottom six and be a top six forward if need be?
“Yeah, that was something we talked about. I felt, especially in the playoffs, we probably didn’t have enough options for the coaches to move players around. In Danton’s case and Suter, both of them are very capable of players that you can move around in the lineup and play in different positions. Danton, being a Vancouver kid as well, he definitely took a bit less money to come home and play for the Canucks. He was super excited about it.”
Q: You talk about Kiefer Sherwood and Quinn’s reaction, how much does a playoff serious shape your opinion on a player and what do you recall about the things that he did in those six games against you guys?
“You want to see how players handle the pressure in key situations. I felt that in the playoffs he played extremely hard, gritty, tenacious. He was in on our forecheck and made every single player on our team uncomfortable. As we look, getting faster and harder to play against, that was something we wanted to accomplish while also being a good PK guy.”
Q: Do you think you need another depth defenceman?
“I think we have fairly good depth defencemen, but if something becomes available that makes sense, we’ll definitely take a look at it.”
Q: You were asked about Thatcher already, what about Brock [Boeser]? Obviously missed Game 7, has he been able to carry forward with his summer training as expected?
“Yeah, he’s doing well. He’s expected to fully recovered by training camp. When I talked to Forbort this morning, he was just getting out of his workout with Brock Boeser. They’re good friends.”
Q: Last season you guys experimented with a lot of different options in terms of that fourth forward on the powerplay, do you think DeBrusk can fit on that first unit and what type of role could you see him fitting as a left shot?
“Yeah, the powerplay is something we need to improve on. He definitely fits in. He played mostly netfront in Boston, so I think this gives the coaching staff more options. I also think the coaching staff are excited about Sherwood’s shot and being a potential second powerplay bumper position there.”
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Q: Over the course of last season, your team really took on this identity where, you had the speed on the wings and the size on the back end, it does feel like all of the moves fit that. Was it important to you to sort of double down on, or to continue to develop this method of winning games that your club was able to find last year?
“I think we’re comfortable with the system and structure we have. Now, the next faze is improve in the areas we need to improve on. Talking to Rick here over the summer, we felt those were the areas that we need to improve on. Where we felt we need to be a faster team in the transition game, and by adding Sherwood, Heinen and DeBrusk, they all can skate. Continue to be a strong defensive team which we were here this year. Forbort’s ability to kill penalties and the potential upside in Vincent Desharnais with a full year in the league. He believes that this was a situation where he could develop his game and take a step further. Absolutely, I’m very pleased with the identity of our team.”
Q: You don’t have a ton of sort of, mobile puck movers on the back end besides the guys on your top pair [Hughes and Filip Hronek], have you created an enviornment where they’re maybe able to play separately?
“That’s something we talked about too, where there might be an experiment of time where Adam [Foote] and [Sergei] Gonchar were moving guys around. Is this a time to see if Hronek and Quinn should be separate and carry their own D-pair? I think those are the questions for training camp and as we move forward here. Something we talked about here was, do we need more puck movers on our team? But I still feel that the additions here today are capable of playing simple and with the structure we have. We anticipate to play fast hockey and I think those guys are capable of delivering a first pass, fast.”

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