Patrik Allvin’s first Trade Deadline as Canucks general manager didn’t come with the fireworks that a lot of people expected. But it was still a very tidy weekend for him and his new management team.
Allvin traded two players before the March 21st cutoff, sending Tyler Motte to the New York Rangers for a 2023 fourth-round pick and Travis Hamonic to Ottawa for a 2022 third-rounder. Vancouver also flipped an additional 2022 third to Toronto to acquire defenceman Travis Dermott.
Leading up to the deadline, what the Canucks chose to do with Motte was a decision a lot of fans saw as a tempo setter for this management team’s tenure. During his post-deadline press conference on Monday, Allvin said that while the team made an effort to get a new contract done with Motte, eventually they had a decision to make on the pending UFA.
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“We felt we couldn’t come to an agreement there and wished him all the all the best. We were able to get some return there in the fourth round pick,” said Allvin. “I think for myself, talking to a lot of teams and kind of feeling out the whole process here of what other teams are thinking about our players, that’s where he ended up.”
While Allvin mentioned that the team had hoped suitors were willing to pay a higher price for Motte, it still matched the interest level for forwards. For comparison, the Oilers paid the same price to the Flyers to acquire centre Derick Brassard, who has one more point in 18 fewer games than Motte.
“Obviously I’m talking to my staff in different scenarios. When it was clear for us that we couldn’t re-sign him, we felt that we should try to maximize our return at that point,” Allvin said.
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As for settling on a 2023 pick for the return, Allvin said that call was made based on the expected deeper draft class compared to 2022’s, as well as with flexibility in mind.
“We felt that the draft in ’23 was a little bit better and hard to say about the value now. But it does give us a little bit more ammunition moving forward here,” Allvin said. “If we want to do something, it gives us time here to check this draft out — if we want to move up in the draft, or if there’s another player that comes available here now when we’ve created some cap space.”
Allvin was later asked about a non-deadline specific addition; Brad Richardson, who was claimed off waivers from Calgary yesterday. The 37-year-old centre previously played for the Canucks for two seasons from 2013 to 2015.
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“Brad has been here before, he’s a versatile player. I thought it would help us short term, he’s had the versatility [in Calgary] playing centre and wing and PK, so he’s excited to come here to Vancouver again.”
There’s also the matter of the deals that didn’t come to pass. While the Canucks GM didn’t get into many specifics regarding the likes of Brock Boeser, Conor Garland, and Jaroslav Halak, Allvin felt that they made the best decisions possible for what the team needs going forward.
“You want to make sure that you’re looking at the bigger picture; how you built the team and what you want to accomplish,” Allvin said. “We felt that we picked up a younger defenceman in Travis and obviously half of the salary from Hamonic there. You can do both things here, but I also think that we’re looking in every way to improve our hockey club.”
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With the deadline now passed, Allvin and the management team’s attention turns to the rest of the season and the summer. When asked about the chance of some younger players getting opportunities in the last 18 games of the season, Allvin mentioned Jack Rathbone and Will Lockwood as two players he expects to see in Vancouver before the season ends.
“I hope they’re going to be ready to fight for some games and get a chance to show us what they have,” Allvin said. “They’ve taken steps down in Abbotsford, and Abbotsford has been playing good hockey with them in leading roles there. So hopefully we get a chance to see them up here.”
While Vancouver’s playoff hopes are getting smaller and smaller, the postseason is practically a guarantee for the AHL Canucks. With that in mind, Vasily Podkolzin was papered down by the club yesterday so he could play in the Calder Cup Playoffs, and Allvin talked about how important that opportunity could be for the rookie.
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“I’m a big believer that young players got to go through playoffs at whatever level you’re playing. I think it’s important to be in that tougher environment and especially for Podkolzin being a first-year guy here,” Allvin said.
“I think it’s critical for him to be more of a leader. Play first power play, top minutes playing in the harder games here. I think that’s just part of the development path.”
Allvin also discussed the team’s hope for signing college prospect Aidan McDonough. A former seventh-round pick of the Canucks in 2019, McDonough has been a point per game player with Northeastern University, scoring 38 points in 37 games.
“He’s an intriguing player. So is the relationship our development staff has with Aiden and his process in Northeastern over the last couple of years here.” Allvin said.
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“At the end of the day, I think it’s important for every player to make a decision if they are ready or not. If he’s ready to come out, then I would be very excited to have him here in the organization and continue to work with him.”
As for the final few weeks of the Canucks’ season, all Allvin is hoping to see from his team is a strong, full game effort going forward.
“I think that’s a big thing here, that consistency of doing things the right way, every day. It’s not about going into streaks. I think all good teams have a consistency level; how you play night in and night out, what do you do every day in practice, how you prepare yourself, and bring in a pro with some young players that are going through the stage of establishing themselves as good players,” Allvin said.
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“I think it’s a great opportunity here for players to take on bigger roles and more minutes. We’ll see where that goes and hopefully get some of the injured guys back here.”