Notes from Jim Rutherford, Patrik Allvin, and Rick Tocchet’s season-opening Vancouver Canucks press conference

Photo credit:Vancouver Canucks
Noah Strang
9 months ago
On Wednesday morning, the Vancouver Canucks’ top brass were in attendance at the Parq Casino for their annual season-opening press conference ahead of training camp’s kick-off tomorrow. President Jim Rutherford, GM Patrik Allvin, and Rick Tocchet fielded questions from the media for over 30 minutes.
There were a ton of interesting topics discussed from the construction of the lines to the expectations for the roster this season. Here are some of the most important topics that the Canucks upper management touched on during this Wednesday late-morning press appearance.

On Training Camp

Allvin says as of now, there will be no players on a Pro Tryout Contract when training camp kicks off tomorrow. He added that the Canucks’ roster is full and that there will already be plenty of players battling for jobs at camp.
“We talked about a couple of names [for PTOs] but we also feel, as Jim said here, that a lot of young players deserve a chance,” Allvin said. “The way they performed in Abbotsford last year, last week in Penticton, we’re very excited about some of the young guys and we want to see them in a position to succeed here so we’ve got a full roster as of now.”
Systems, battle drills, on-ice work, and off-ice workouts. Those are the three things Rick Tocchet highlighted when asked what we should expect from the Canucks at training camp.
“I’d be dumb to run the guys through the ground in the first three days,” said Tocchet. “It’s more of an education. Is it going to be hard? Yeah, every camp is hard.”
Tocchet also said he expects to do special teams work by the third day of camp, which should give us a good idea of how the Canucks will roll out their PK units this season. Will Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes still be fixtures on the PK given the Canucks’ new additions? We’ll find out soon!
Finally, Tocchet talked about getting his lines for the season sorted during training cap.
“There’s some completion, so it [the line combinations] could be day-to-day,” Tocchet explained.  There’s nothing set in stone right now and that’s what training camp is for. You want to give everyone the opportunity but you also want your main guys ready too so you got to find that sweet spot.”

The Cap Situation and Casey DeSmith

Rutherford said the Canucks’ cap situation is “almost unravelled.” He suggests that the club is still a “contract or two” away from being where he wants the team to be.
Regarding a practice facility, Rutherford stated what we already knew — that land in Vancouver isn’t cheap and “certainly doesn’t come free.” As such, Rutherford said the Canucks will have to “get creative” in order to find a home for their facility, which they hope to at least have a plan for by next offseason. Earlier this month, we reported that the Canucks are in talks with Simon Fraser University to build a shared facility on the school’s Burnaby campus. You can read that story here.
When asked about the newly acquired Casey DeSmith’s assault arrest that got him removed from the NCAA, Rutherford had the following to say. It should be noted that Rutherford gave DeSmith his first NHL contract in Pittsburgh.
“It was an unfortunate incident and not something that anybody would feel good about, but yes I’m the one that gave him a chance in Pittsburgh…we asked a lot of questions, we went through it,” Rutherford explained. “There were charges laid and he pleaded to a certain charge, a lesser charge…despite the fact that it was not a good incident, we had a comfort level at that point in time that everybody involved was okay with the penalty at that point.”

On Season Expectations, EP40, and more

Jim Rutherford was brutally honest in his assessment of his team, hammering home the point that the work the Canucks have begun is far from over. When asked about how he felt he and the management team were doing in their process of turning the team around, he honestly admitted that there is still lots of work left to be done.
“I think we’re partway through it and there’s work to be done. I mean we haven’t even qualified for the playoffs yet,” Rutherford started. “The changes that we made, we have a playoff team if everything goes right. Your goalie has to be good. Your special teams have to be good. You can’t get into a lot of injuries.”
I’m sure that the quote above will be revisited many times if the Canucks have a rough start this season.
Don’t expect Elias Pettersson to have a new contract anytime soon, as Allvin reiterated that there’s “no rush” for the Canucks to sign their superstar centre to a new deal.
“First, he’s an RFA so we have another two years so that’s where there is no rush, versus if he was a UFA. Again, the relationship myself and Jim [Rutherford] have with his camp, we talk,” Allvin commented. “At this point, we feel like we’ll settle in here and Elias really wanted to emphasize and focus on having a good summer and he came in here 10 days ago and I believe that he’s in really good shape and excited about where we are,  the moves we made this summer, the direction the team and the organization is heading, and how we’re going to play.”
Despite that long answer, Allvin would not confirm that the two sides are having active discussions. When he was asked directly if that was the case, he had the following to say.
“We basically left it open,” Allvin said. “Give I talked with Pat [Pettersson’s agent] on our way back from Pentiction…and we will continue to talk.”
In some unfortunate news, Patrik Allvin reported that Tucker Poolman will not play this season.
‘Tucker is not going to play. We are supporting him and helping him in any way to get his life back and feel good about himself,” Allvin said when asked if the defenceman would be a part of the team’s plans.
That’s obviously sad news to hear about someone who is clearly struggling with injury issues that are having a significant impact on his everyday life. Hopefully, with the support of the organization he can get back to a point where he can live his life to the fullest.
Training camp starts tomorrow, and we’ll have plenty of coverage all camp long live from Victoria!

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