Actually, it doesn’t just go for the new guys, it goes for all of the personnel wearing Canucks sweaters, whether in Vancouver or Abbotsford: The most important thing for these players is the culture that is developed over the coming months for a team that has hardly anything tangible for which to play.
The AHLers can think playoffs, the NHLers are out of it. As Aatu Raty, likely playing with the previous, and Anthony Beauvillier, playing with the big boys, begin their tenures, developing a chemistry and an approach that’s conducive to winning down the road is the top priority, and there’s only so much of that, that each of them can control.
“I feel like I’m at my best when I play with instincts, someone who tries to work hard everyday, have a good work ethic, and I find I’m at my best when I move my feet and hound the puck,” Beauvillier said Tuesday.
That’s a good starting point and hopefully a good influence on others. In six full seasons in New York with the Islanders, Beauvillier had single season career highs of 21 goals in 2018 and 39 points in 2020. For most of that time he played under systems that were considered “defence first”. He’ll get a top-6 opportunity with the Vancouver Canucks to spread his wings a little bit.
“Just being positive and working hard every day is easy to do,” Beauvillier added. “If that helps the team, it’s good on me and good for the team as well.”
Barring further personnel changes coming out of the break, Beauvillier, oddly enough one of his nicknames is “Bo”, will likely line up on the wing next to J.T. Miller at centre and Conor Garland on the opposite side.
Raty will head to San Jose to play a couple of weekend games for the Abbotsford Canucks.
“I want to work on my all around game,” Raty said. “It’s good, but I definitely have to be better to be a winning player, but I think the biggest thing is my skating. I think it’s improved this year but I really want to get better I think, it’s such a fast league you’ve gotta be able to move your feet.”
The biggest key in the long run as individuals and as a club will be culture and chemistry, as in everyone pulling hard on the same rope. The formal leadership situation is in flux in Vancouver, having traded their captain, with most eyeballs on young stars Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes.
This club at this point has no reason to be in a big hurry to slap on a “C”, but we’ll see.
“We’ll sit down as a staff and talk about it here over the next couple days,” Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Tuesday.
It’s more about new Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet, with full buy-in from whatever that ‘leadership group’ looks like, establishing a culture and identity that eventually leads to proud, winning hockey.